Trail Report: 240E Kritchie Mountain with Poe 3/11/18

March 11, 2018

I took Mr Poe out Little Dry River Rd and up the Vepco fire road 240 today. We parked at the first side fire road on the right, 240e Kretchie/Kritchie Mountain (I see it spelled differently on signs and maps). Poe is currently barefoot and I know this short ride to be soft and not rocky for his sensitive naked feet.

I am sure a lot of you would consider Poe a decent little trail pony, and years ago I would have agreed with you. I used to consider all my ponies great for trails. But now that I have had the privilege of riding Simon now for years on trails I realize what crap all of my past ponies have been on trail. What I mean by this is I can jump on Simon and go spend the day all alone galavanting around in National Forest, where I am I very unlikely to see another person, out of cell range, climbing up and down mountains, navigating questionable footing, and feel reasonably safe. If Simon does spook, he generally slows down of stops, or tends to get a tense and alert. He is extremely cautious and has a high level of personal self preservation. There is always the chance of getting hurt but I feel like I am stacking the odds as much in my favor as I can when I take my bulldozer-pony-Simon out.

Poe is lovely in a group, and not so bad on his own. He is rather surefooted, and not spooky. But he is not Simon. He is also shorter on attention span, and even in a group, after about two hours he starts to jig instead of walk. And I do not consider jigging an acceptable trail riding gate.

So, that said, Poe is not a bad trail pony, he is just not my ideal trail ride. And as you read above, I tend to be a bit picky about what I ride when I go solo on a trail.

Lately I haven’t been trying to get Poe legged back up for the games season. I let him get more out of condition this past winter than in the past so it’s a bit more work than past years. He is pretty easy to leg up though. And he is also easy to keep in condition once there. So really not a hard task.

Poe and I both hate conditioning work. We have been hacking around the farm. Up and down the hill, around the field. Up and down the hill, around the field. Boring. We hate it. So we moved to the riding field and I set up a weird course of cones to signal gate changes and turns with a big tractor tire to walk through. Just something to help occupy our minds on days of decent footing. Ok so this is helping but it’s still boring. So when I rode this trail the other day on Simon and realized it was not rocky I decided to bring Poe out.

it’s a decent day. Sunny but chilly. We are expecting a possible snow storm tonight. But it’s been decent for about a month so it’s somewhat green too. We headed out. Poe was rather pleasant but a bit skeptical. He was tense, and did a funny move when he noticed a piece of bark directly under him. He leaped directly up like a cat, landing right back where he started with a snort like “well that was silly”. And went back to marching along like nothing happened. I laughed and was thankful it was up and not to the side. He also froze sharply into the ride, looking off into the woods intently and we watched a whole flock of turkeys. I tried to get a video but you couldn’t see them in it with the trees. It was pretty neat though.

(This is just a little video of us after we started the ride back)

he relaxed after the turkeys and enjoyed himself. It was a short ride, we did a lot of walking and some trotting. I mostly let him select his pace. It would have been nice to go a bit longer and farther if the trail had allowed but it did not. And Poe was quite content with what we did do. So we finished up and headed home.

He was quite pleased with himself and seemed to be rather happy to be the chosen pony of the day. I’ll have to come up with a couple more rides with footing appropriate for him. It’s a good mental work out and mental break for him. And sure beats ring work.

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: Bluehole Top Loop 

March 20, 2017

Today I went back to Bluehole (big surprise) and I found a second loop, and I love it.  It is such a nice ride.  I need to figure out a tiny part towards the end still but it’s an awesome loop. 

I started out on the main road in. I rode past the logging areas and made the first major left to follow Grove Hollow.  I stayed on this even though I was super tempted to check out some of the side trails until it came to the three way fork.  The left is for the shorter loop.   It is through logging areas and has amazing views.  To the right is a lesser pronounced trail, more of a 4wheeler path.  I have not gone this way yet.  

I went straight.  It wraps around and past some more logging, and eventually sort of loops around to the left into more of a field with an older looking 4wheeler type of trail through some fields.   This part is not marked on my gps tracker. 

It keeps going along the ridge, in and out of clearings, with a view of the road a ways off to the right.  It is a nice clear trail, hardly anything down, no branches in the way, pleasant and smooth.   I really enjoyed this stretch of the ride.  It eventually came to a private property sign, and I stopped.  

Looking at the my gps tracker I could see the shorter loop was running somewhat parallel to the left at this point and not too far away.  I opted to cut down through the woods, which were rather clean and easy to navigate and shortly I popped out on the lower loop trail.  I assume there is an actual connection that I missed or didn’t notice (since I wasn’t really looking for one.).  I am already super eager to go back and mess around with this part of the loop.  

I finished off with the big down hill that is a little hard to see.  I think I followed it better this time.  But I am also eager to go back and mess around with this section as well.  I am so tempted I might go back tomorrow.  

When I was driving into Bluehole a large flat bed passed me going out and when I got to the parking area it was clear that the dude spent some time turning that beast around.  While I was unloading Simon a white SUV pulled past.  I said hello and he told me they were done for the day, and were just dropping off equipment but we be back in there working soon.  So I suppose this will mean the roads are kept up.  

Again super excited to go back here.  This loop is just shy of 8 miles and there are a lot of areas to move out.  Actually almost the whole ride can be ridden with some speed.  All the way until the very end.   I saw some deer, and a small mouse like critter.  There are also quite a few ponds just off the trail.   And a nice little creek side ride at the end.  I also assume the bears are waking up.  I saw a lot of dog spots and freshly scratched up trees, and even some fresh bear poo.  This was mostly in the area where the fireroad sort of ended into a 4 wheeler trail near the first pond.  

I attempted to video a little of this ride, a clip in different parts so you can see the terrain.  Of course I did not think about this for the first two thirds of the ride, which is more prominent Fire roads.   

Trail Report: Blue Hole – 302a Disabled Hunting Branch 

February 21, 2017

Today I went to Blue Hole, turned around at the end where I normally park, and then drove back, over two cattle grates and just a bit past the 302a disabled hunting access branch (which is on the left as I drove) and parked on the left side of the road.  

I headed back down the road and started up 302a (now on my right), around the closed gate, and continued on. 

I stayed straight to the end of the fire road, close to 2 – 2.5 miles, where there is a brown wooden post to prevent 4 wheeled traffic, and on up the trail that continued.  Off to the left is a big field to explore at a later time.  

The trail ended or I could have just lost it. It was pretty clear right up to the end, and I did see old hoof prints.  I also saw some old blue blazes and some pink flags that looked pretty new.  It ended right around 3.2 total miles at this point.  I turned around and started back. Then I went up hill to the left following pink tags, up to the top of the hill, and onto an actual trail running along the top. 

On this map below – I entered the map from the top right corner, on the FR at that point, and I rode up, taking the top where the black line splits. This is where the FR ends.  I continued straight on the top line, and down the map and ending on the line on the right hand side of the map.  

I turned around and rode back to the branch off to the left.  This is the big hill that the pink flags go up.  The path at the top went in both directions but the short branch is where the trail fades out. The other direction kept going with nice views on both sides, well flagged in fresh long pink tape, and a worn path.  The leaf litter did get deep in places and made following the trail tough in a few points. But really, this trail has been groomed.  

Looking again at the zoom in of the map below, I suspect it meets up with the trail marked in the light red dashes just below the black line. 

When I lost the pink flagged trail I turned around and followed it back to the main trail and continued back towards the fire road.   There is one spot that there is quite a bit of downed trees on this trail.  A path has been cleared for all but one, that seems rather fresh.  Right around this are is an old FR or logging road going down to the right.  The entrance has a screen of trees over it but beyond it is perfectly clear, and a closed fire gate can be seen.  I went down this road.  Of course. 

It was cleared, and still nice and wide, although at one point the leaf litter was up to Simons chest.  He seemed to enjoy this.  I rode it down till it leveled out at a camp type circle and a pond.  The road goes off left and right and appears to continue straight as well.  I went very briefly left and right and then turned around and headed all the way back to the trailer. 

Duh I am super excited to explore more here.  There are close to a dozen fire roofs, old logging roads, and what appear to be trail heads along this ride from today that I did not check out.  You can look forward to some more exploring over here.  

Trail Report – Gauley Ridge/Turner Run, just a hack 

February 8, 2017

It’s been a while since I have posted a trail report.  I have been trail riding, just not posting.  But this evening I was looking back at a trail report and started to get excited about trails I had forgotten about.  Which inspired me to start recording them again. 

Yesterday the weather was amazing. Seriously it hit 70 freakin degrees. So what does an unemployed horse girl do on a week day in February with 70 degree weather. She hits the trails.  

It’s been a while since I hit up the Turner Run. The drive in was simple and easy, and I pulled into the parking area at the top of Gauley Run and found it trashed. A ripped up couch and – no joke here – Pieces of hog strewn about. Yep, hog parts. Who the flip does that? 3 giant hog heads laying out in the parking area? Not ok.  

So I parked, took a few pics with my phone for proof, and then hacked out.  

Simon and I were feeling chill so we took out time and did a little “refreshing” of the area. It’s been so long I needed to remember where I was.  

We went down the right hand, Daves Turnpike trail (closed gate in the back of camping area to the right side of the road). Nice views.  

We took the top road on the way back. It’s marked on the FS map, google maps, tracking apps, etc. this was surprisingly clear. There were a few ehh spots but not many and I was actually surprised.   

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