Trail Report:Turner Run/Gauley Ridge to Slate Lick and back 3/10/18

March 10, 2018

Today Carol Ann and I went for a ride. We did a lot of walking and talking and it was a dang good time.

we parked up at Turner Run and headed on past the closed gate, about three miles in and made a left onto the ride top trail. It’s the one that pops out at the parking space facing slightly back. It was amazingly clear after that crazy wind storm last week. I expected a lot more downed trees and was pleasantly surprised at the lack of destruction. The trail winds down and around for a good ways. There are some old red, blue and yellow marks painted on trees that are often hard to see. And sometimes a faded out marker tag. But in nearly all spots the trail can be seen pretty clearly.

There are two places there the trail makes a hard right turn. The first time the trail also continues ahead so it’s easy to miss. But the tree there is heavily marked with arrows and the trees to the right are also heavily marked. The second time the large tee on your left has two large arrows on it and the trees to the right are sparse and hard to find. From this point on the marks are a bit harder to find and some of the trail is a bit blown over but with a moment of looking you won’t get lost.

The trail eventually dumps out at Slate Lick. Carol Ann spotted a raccoon down by the creek at this point. Pretty neat. We let the ponies get a drink and then worked out way up to the lake where we saw some geese. We took a few snap shots then headed back up the fire break trail.

I was not good at taking photos on this ride. We were too busy chatting it up and having a good time to think of such things like documenting the ride. (But my gosh look how big Simons head is in that photo of him!)

Just as we got back to the parking area, Carol Ann’s mare smashed her knee on the fire gate. I think it’s going to be nice and purple by morning, it was a rough smashing. To be clear, the mare smashed Carol Ann’s knee, or her own pony knee. Naughty pony.

I hope Carol Ann still had a good time. And I hope she can walk tomorrow. It’s one of the best, although slowest rides I have been on in a while. And with competition season coming us, trail riding is going to become less frequent soon.

Trail Report: Cub Run – Runkles Gap, Early Morning Ride

Trail Report: August 26, 2012

Cub Run at Runkles Gap. 

I parked at the entrance by the National Forest sign on one of the pull overs. 

I was in a bit of a time pinch on Sunday but wanted to get in a ride so I decided tohit up this tried and true ride, nothing fancy, but pretty close to home and I knew what to expect.  I decided to keep it as simple as possible and I stuck to the fire road, heading straight up to the top and back. 

It was raining lightly when I headed out and we made good time with a forward pace all the way up, with the rain breaking about midway up. 

This is the part of the forest that burned in the spring (I have a blog about it) and it was cool to see the growth coming back. You could also smell ‘camp fire’ lightly when the rain cleared out.

At the end there is a trail known as Batman Trail, which heads up a pretty grueling climb and creates a nice loop back to the parking area.  If you look on googlemaps, there is even a marking called Batman Road in the general vicinity of this trail.  I am not sure of the correlation but I suspect there is one.  Apparently this trail was on old National Forest maps, but was removed at some point.  There are markers at the entrance in the form of metal FS signs banning motorized vehicles, and a berm to enforce this. 

Unfortunately about two years ago the Forest Service closed this trail by downing trees all along it, in a controversial move to prevent it from being used.  There was some heated interaction, some riders got lost in the woods trying to figure out what was going on with this heavily used trail, some finger pointing and accusations, a few meetings between locals and the FS, but in the end, the trail has gone mostly unused. 

This is the end of the fire road and the entrance to Batman Trail.

Sadly this was a heavily used trail, and a very popular riding location in general.  There are also a lot of equestrians who have property that joins the forest in the area as well.  I have seen riders, both local, and trailered in, since the trails closure, but not nearly the numbers it used to attract. 

A shoe with borium on it hanging in a tree towards the beginning of Batman Trail. Notice the color changing in the background. ahhhh, fall is coming.

This Sunday I did not see any riders, although I did see a lot of fresh horse tracks. 

The bottom gate on the fire road was open. About half way up there is a second gate, which was closed. The FR gets a little more rural after that, but is still in excellent condition.

I  wondered around at the top of the fire road and checked out the beginning of Batman, and then headed back down to the trailer, keeping up the same progressive pace. 

Headed back down the fire road, still pretty close to the top of it, and the rain had ended and the sun was out.

Simon seemed content with the face paced and invigorating ride and Daisy was ready to hop in the truck when we got back, and I felt a little tension in my muscles the next day.  It was a good ride. 

Some color coming in.

And there was a little color coming out in some of the trees.  Which makes me excited for fall.  Gosh I love fall.  It’s the best time to get out in the woods and enjoy the colors and the cooler temperatures.

 Some Googlemap Images

Skunk Bug Spray?

Simon’s head still smells lightly of skunk.  Apparently the smell of skunk is not a bug repelant. 

Peanut Butter Guest Book

On my April 1st ride, (which I blog about here, I  noticed a peanut butter jar hanging under the picnic table at the midway point. 

I hopped off Simon and went over to check it out.  I expected to find a geo cache but turns out it was a neat ‘guest book’ for people on the trail. 

Someone had placed it there at the very start of the year, with a few pencils and some paper stapled into a note book.  There were over a dozen entries already.  I read through all of them with Simon lipping at the paper and the picnic table.  It was really neat to read other peoples brief entries about their day on the trail. 

I added my own entry, with Simon trying to grab the pencil, and sealed it back up in the jar.  Simon tried to grab the jar while I dug around in the saddle bag and got ready to get on our way. (no worries, he did not damage it in anyway)

It is a pretty cool idea.  Maybe I’ll make an effort to put out a few jars at good rest points along other trails. 

Daisy is already cleaning out PB jars for the effort.

Trail Report: Pet Cemetery, Tower Loop. 4/1/12

I took Simon on a ride this weekend.  It was a perfect day for some mountain time.  It was sunny, and just the right temperature with the slightest breeze.  We started off pretty early and I had a hoodie on.  And we finished around lunch time and I was comfortably down to a tank top. 

Fire road that comes out of pet cemetery parking to the trail

Daisy, Simon and I did the Pet Cemetery – Tower Loop ride.  I posted about this loop back in December complete with map and details of turns so I won’t bother with that here.

For this loop I turn right at this sign and head to the tower.

The trail was still nice and clear, with lots of fresh green growth and pretty colors coming in.  The squirrels were out and so were some of the bugs.  The creeks were flowing and it really couldn’t have been a better ride. 

Mushroom covered tree

Since I used my new stirrups with the cage front and wore sneakers I got off and hiked some.  I figure this will work out my hiking muscles and my riding muscles.  It actually helped my ankle stretch out.  Which seems like a good thing. 

The short bit of fire road from the tower to pick the trail back up on the right.

Simon was a little annoying when I was on foot.  He stopped to paw the ground a few times like he was going to lay down for a nice roll.  He only did this on very narrow trails when were going down a pretty steep grade with a drop off to one side. He gently pushed me a few times and also tried to nip me in a back more than once.  I think he was trying to be annoying.

It might be hard to see, but those black dots are tadpoles.

We passed some bikers which Simon was very excited about and nickered to them until they were completely out of sight. We were also passed by a small truck on the road hack back to where we parked which he whinnied at until it drove over the horizon and I had to hold him back from racing full tilt after it.  He also chassed after Daisy along the twisty trails, nipping at her when she let us get close enough.  Needless to say he had plenty of spunk and we got in quite a bit of gallop and lots of trot.      

Simon, always being silly.

One really cool part of the trail was a peanut butter message jar at the picnic area where the fire road ends at the tower.  We added our note to the jar after reading the others.  Pretty cool idea.  I’ll dedicate a post to it later this week. 

This is the picnic table with the peanut butter jar tied under it. You can see it on the right hand side with its red lid.

It was a great morning ride and I am already looking forward to the next one.  There are a side trails off Tillman road and other fire road access points I want to check out.  I would like to try parking at a slightly different point and give some of these other trails a try soon. 

Looking at at the creek we crossed to get off the trail and back on Tillman Rd for a hack back to the parking area.


Looking back at the tower. The trail we came up to it on is just behind it to the right going into the woods.

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