Trail Report: Vepco Rd/240E Kritchie Mountain 3/13/2020

March 15, 2020

My tracker did not work properly back here and kept cutting off. There is no cell service here so I assume that is why. I tried to draw in a very rough yellow line adding where I rode to the trackers line.

Friday I was out of work in time to fit in a quick ride so I headed down Little Dry River Rd until it turned to gravel, then I made a left onto FR240 Vepco Rd. They have been cleaning up this road which was already in rather good condition. I took note that the FR branch on the left looked well cleared and I want to ride that next time. I don’t think it is terribly long so might be best for a day with limited time. Last time I rode it I believe it was so overgrown I turned around and drove to a different spot.

I drove up to the first right hand fire road, 240E Kitchie Mountain. This turn off has a loop but it’s always full of dumped trash and is awkward so I simply pull past the entrance and then back in and park on the side rather than pull in and use the loop. There’s plenty of room for this even with a larger rig.

I rode out past the closed fire gate and along the fire road. It did not appear to be recently used although it must have been, which I’ll discuss further into the ride.

Normally I bare left at the split. I did go straight several years ago, there was a tree down that was easy to navigate but the trail became over grown (these are old fire roads). Today I decided to check it out and found the downed tree moved and the path much improved. It did not appear to be cleared for vehicles but it appeared to be cleared for hiking. It would make a nice hiking trail. It’s not too steep at any point and the trees and such vary in type.

Do be aware that this area does have thorn trees. These are the ones that look like normal trees, so perhaps you reach out to push a branch and find yourself stabbed by large thorns.

The trail continues and I found a few downed trees that were no issue for on foot traffic. I dismounted at the second one and Simon sort of jumped it. A larger horse that is trail smart would probably be fine. But it was maxing out Simon’s height capability. The drop off to the side was pretty intense and the ground was soft and crumbly so a little sketchy. But I still felt comfortable progressing.

The trail wrapped around for a while and there was a few evident old turn offs that did not appear to be cleared. Eventually the trail just sort of disappeared so I turned around. I estimate it was a little over a mile in from the split and a mile back. It was also walking pace because of the narrowness of the trail. Watch your knees.

I returned to the split and took the normal left hand path (now to my right). This fire road is pretty open and clear and wraps down and around. Eventually I came to a cut in the ground. It appears the covert is being changed out. It was dug out and a piece of a new one is in there along with a piece of the old one. Just on the other side is a righthand turn up the mountain that I had once taken. I was hoping my tracker would show this meeting up with the branch I took earlier. But my tracker did not show anything.

I turned around and headed back letting Simon trot up the few miles of mountain and returned to the truck.

Trail Report: Massanutten Visitor Center – Wildflower Trail

March 6, 2020

Last Friday I managed to get out for a nice little ride through the woods.

I parked at the Massanutten Visitor Center and headed down the Wildflower trail to the closed picnic area, then followed Orange to Pink blaze and enjoyed a leisurely ride.

Last time I rode this way I had to turn back at some heavy downed trees completely blocking the way. That was probably a year ago and they were clear and there were no obstructions.

I got out to Turner Run in early February but did not record it here. It was a nice ride and I took the left hand old fire road back. It did require me to go off trail and slide down and climb up a rather steep bank to get around a down tree. Which I believe was there the last time I took this path. But was otherwise decent.

Trail Report: Edinburg Gap 12/22/19

December 25, 2019

Jenny and I met back up at Edinburg Gap. Our significant others brought their dirt bikes and took a tour of the area while we rode out.

We parked at the East if the two parking lots, this is the one with the big loop and the toilet. We decided to check out the chaotic looming area of mush mashed trails to the right on the map (all the 553 trails).

We had limited time for this ride because of a pending afternoon appointment so we could not run over. We also met up with the guys a little ways into the ride and spent a bit of time chatting, which killed some more of our time.

Like last time we rode out on 493 at the bottom of the parking lot, crossed the creek, and this time we made a left onto 494. This trail co ti yes to be pretty dang rocky and ride along the woods parallel to the road and meets up with the trails at the other parking area, the 553 trails.

Although it’s rocky getting over there, with lots of nice big icy puddles to navigate, once to the other side the trails are nice and smooth and pretty wide. Some areas were plenty wide for four wheelers to pass each other. We zipped around here for a bit, mostly checking the area out.

E headed back a tiny bit early, not wanting to risk being late. The trail 494 connecting the shirt part of 493 that connects the two parking areas took us about 15-20 minutes to navigate on the horses.

There were some bridges to cross. But no big climbs or big hills.

Another lovely ride.

Trail Report: Slate Lick, Fulks Run, 10/11/19

October 12, 2019

I have not managed to fit in a trail ride since June when I broke my finger. I got off early today so I shot off to the woods for some quality trail time with my main-man Simon and my dog-of-all-dogs, Daisy.

The weather was perfect and it was just a lovely ride around Slate Lick in Fulks Run. There were some campers out and I passed another group of riders on trail.

I noticed the road in has been patched up since the last time I was here, which might have been last fall. And the area had been recently mowed and cleaned up.

It’s bow season so Simon and I had on our high-viz. I couldn’t find Daisy’s though.

I saw sad to see a lot of very bright graffiti near the parking areas. So disrespectful.

Trail Report: New Market

June 26, 2019

Sunday was gorgeous and I decided sort of on a whim to run out and go on a quickish ride. I followed the highlighted trail in the image below.

This is a trail I have messed around on, checking out side trails before but never really took on the loop. I admit I did not think too much about it and just dove at the opportunity to check out some new trails. I did not realize the loop was 12 miles or how challenging it would be.

Parking: For this ride I parked at the paved lot on the side of rt211 on the east side of the mountain. After racking up I crossed over rt211, Simon in one hand and Daisy on a leash in the other. On the other side is a pass between two hills. There is a closed fire gate with a little wooden foot bridge over the gutter on the side of the gate. I let Daisy off her leash but kept her with me until after this point and then climbed on Simon.

This is trail 410 and this part of the trail is really nice. It’s wide and clear and a bit rolling. It’s a good area to move out.

On this ride there was a section that smelled strongly of skunk. And later Daisy pointed out a turtle.

Eventually the trail makes a left hand turn, following the white blaze. Shortly before the two mile mark the smooth trail of 410 turns into more of a mountain track. And shortly after that this trail comes to a three way junction and orange blaze of Massanutten trail 408.

I took the right hand track into Massanutten Trail 408 (note how unhelpful the trail signs vs the trail map are at matching up). It is a decent although challenging hiking trail. And I checked the map that it is a multi use trail and open to horses. It is. I consider this portion of the trail to be a much more advanced riding trail. Some portions were narrow with drop offs and with an abundance of knee knockers, often at the narrowest points. There were some big jump ups and some extended climbs to navigate. Simon’s a good little climber and he kept his footing nicely on the narrow sections.

There was one point during an uphill climb that the trail passed over some boulders. I dismounted and climbed over using my hands and feet and Simon climbed along behind me playing the part of a billy goat. I wish I could have gotten a photo or better yet, a video of him navigating this section but my hands were way too busy. I would not consider this portion of the trail equine friendly at all and I did not see anyway to work around it. The Boulder section was probably a good 60 feet long to navigate.

The trail climbed and eventually we came to a left hand turn in the trail and on and up we went. By this point I was debating turning around. This was turning into a longer ride than I was prepared for. But with all the uphill and challenging sections I decided going back would be even harder.

Onward! And finally the trail came to a four way intersection. I admit I sighed in relief. I spent a moment comparing my map to my GPS to the trail signs and decided I was where I thought I was and I needed to make a hard left onto 555 Scothorn Gap Trail. And that yep, this trail was longer than Simon, Daisy, or I should be taking on.

I also met some people out on a hike. We stopped and chatted and compared what to expect ahead. They were hoping to find an amazing view or something of note. I thought of them miles later when I came across some memorable views.

I headed on 555 which was generally down hill but not too steeply. It was a wider, simpler trail. There was older burn to the right as I went down which opened to some ok views. Eventually the trail ended at a creek and to a small parking area off Crisman.

I made a left and rode along Crisman for way too long. I got off and hiked for a bit. But the road just seemed to never end. Finally I came to 408 Massanutten Trail and bore left off of Crisman. The initial part of the trail through here is amazing. It’s somewhat narrow but surrounded on both sides by bushes and wild blueberries.

This loveliness ends abruptly in a steep down hill climb. I dismounted here, and wishing I had on my riding sneakers vs my smooth bottomed riding boots, I clambered down the mountain, using tree branches to help me down. Meanwhile Simon bill-goated along behind me, munching on leaves.

This downhill seemed to go on forever and took forever. When we finally made it down the mountain it rolled right out at the split closing the loop. Ah, just little over two miles to go and after a very brief climb it would be easy trail too. Again I sighed in relief.

I made a right onto 410 the Massanutten connector trail (note again no match up in names and numbers from trail map to trail sign) and hit the homeward stretch. Coming up from the split and just about creating the final small climb Simon smashed off trail and into the some briars. He loves to run through underbrush to scratch his belly and this often runs me into briars. Which it did, I yelled at him and yanked him back over to the trail. Unfortunately the rein wrapped around my ring finger on my left hand and I felt a snap.

Yep, I broke my finger.

Let me finish this report up by stating that I had about two miles left to go and luckily I had cell reception and my loving husband picked up when I called and rushed out to meet me at the trail head. I’ll detail the finger on my next post.

The ride was grueling and a real work out. I am glad I went the direction on the loop I did, and wouldn’t recommend the other direction. I wouldn’t have been comfortable on a different pony either. And it’s also not a trail I am excited to go try again. I would like to check out some of the ones down Crisman though.

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