Trail Report – Old Man Run 1117 – Exploration Day 1

April 6, 2015

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On Sunday I checked out a new (to me) trail head off Little Dry River Road in Folks Run area.  Driving a few miles back on Little Dry River Rd, there is an “Entering National Forest” sign on the right hand side, and a little ways past that is a road on the right, Tom’s Cabin (or Camp) Road, I think.  It is well marked as a trail head for 1117 Old Man Run, or on the Forest Service Map, Old Road Hollow.  Just to make things easy.

I pulled in, drove just a few dozen yards, and turned around by backing my trailer up the first side fire road on the right, and then parked on the nice wide side, designed for parking.  I spent about 3 1/2 hours exploring around 14 miles of forest.

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I initially started out by taking the fire road to the right, 1117B, the one I backed into to turn around, and rode up it to the top.  There was a fo-fire road gate, closed. Just a few yards beyond this closed gate the road slit to the right and left, and to the right is a house.  I did not venture off onto private property.

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I headed back down to my start, and decided to head up the main fire road, and through the open gate, which is just a few yards from the parking/turning around area.

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Heading up “Old Man Run” is quite lovely.  There is a creek initially on the left that tinkles along pleasantly.  Not too far along is an unmarked turn to the right.  On the FS map it is 1117D, although there is no marker in the forest.  It crosses down and over a creek and then up a small incline to a split.  To the left is just a camp circle, straight ahead I did take a short ways but it was rather leaf litter deep and a bit inhibitive with fallen branches.  nothing too out of control though.  There was a large boulder in the middle to block vehicles.  I only went a few hundred yards up before deciding to venture else where.

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Above is the road branching 1117D to the right.

???????????????????? The trail straight ahead.  SANYO DIGITAL CAMERASANYO DIGITAL CAMERA SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThe photo above shows the camp area to the left, the over grown trail straight ahead and you can just see the more dominant trail to the right.

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Going right is the main way, clearly used and very well maintained.  A closed fire road gate was just a bit forward from this point.  I headed up it a ways and eventually came to a low fo-fire gate.  I was a bit confused and rode just a bend beyond this gate and realized it was private property with a home off in the distance.  I quickly turned around and headed back to the main fire road.  Should not have been confused.  It was a low red gate.  Red = edge of National Forest.

???????????????????? ???????????????????? SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA Back to the main road, I continued up.  The road continued to climb for the entire ride.  A bit of a ways up the road split.  Going left (straight) would put me onto 1117A, although I choose to head right, staying on the main 1117.  I rode for a few miles, twisting up and eventually bumping out to the power line towers.  There was a trail that led out under them and there was a moment of vertigo looking down and away.

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In the above photo you can see the turn that I took the previous photo of the towers from.  If you look read close you can see the puddle that Daisy is standing in.  I turned around for that photo.

And in this photo below, you can see the second house in that clearing off in the distance at the end of 1117D.

I continued on and eventually came to a private gate to the right (a real gate, not a fire road bar).  Next to it was a large stone fire pit and a trail/ATV path directly to the left.  I realized I had lost my camera along the way and decided that it was time to call it.  So I turned around and headed down.  *I did find my camera intact just a little ways back.

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Of all the nice big deep puddles, I only found one that had eggs.  I presume frog eggs.

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And finally, just before reaching the trailer I noticed mushrooms growing on the top of the trail marker.

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There is still a lot to be explored back at this trail head.  I am looking forward to the next time I can get out!

Interaction with the Forest Service

After a few calls I managed to speak with someone at the local, North River Forest Service Disctrict office.  WOO!  I had a list of question, some of which I forgot in my excitement to speak to someone, but I got a couple answered. 

The two fire road turn offs, 536F & C at Bear Trap are most likely the two places I feel they are.  They were probably used for logging and that area has not been logged in 10 or 20 years so they were closed up so people couldn’t drive on them.  They are still available to be used but are not being maintained.  He also went on to tell me that on my horse I can ride any and everywhere I choose in the forest, I just can’t clear trails or bring my chainsaw, but to enjoy myself and explore where ever I want. 

Next I asked him about trail 439 that had the wooden signs taken down and now has the green tree tags.  He told me that the local bicycle club got permission to put up the green tags (they have SVBC Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Club on them! Duh Krista!) on trails they are working on and maintaining.  He said the FS is no longer putting up the wooden signs because of people vandalizing them and they are putting up metal signs that are made just like street signs, but they are still brown.  He said they get stolen or kicked down and thrown into the woods all the time.  He is going to pass on to the appropriate person that the signs are not up for that trail any longer too. 

I was so thrilled to talk to someone who was happy (or at least sounded like he was) to talk to me, and truly helpful!  He didn’t just answer my questions but elaborated and really tried to give me useful information.  He knew exactly what area, fire roads and trail I was talking about right away and he didn’t make me feel stupid or like a burden or anything.  It was fantastic.  His name was something like Christopher or something Chris sounding.  Or so that’s what I heard the receptionist call him. 

I had meant to ask about the gates being opened and what the schedule is for that, and what the criteria was for some gates to be open versus others.   And if I am ok to drive up in there in my truck or horse trailer (assuming there is turn around space for the trailer), if they check before locking the gates. 

Anyway, it was a really exciting and positive interaction, and since there have been strained relations with the local FS and the local riders/trail users lately, it made me feel even better about it. 

*To the best of my knowledge, the main issues with the local FS has been more in, what I think is the Lee District area, centered around Cub Run and Catherine’s Furnace. 

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