Trail Report: 1117 Old Man Run – Little Dry River Road – to the left.

May 11, 2015

**The power line black line I drew onto the map is not exact, and the trail crosses the line much more frequently than I make it appear. But it gives you an idea.

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Sundays are for the woods.

Yesterday I went back to Old Man Run 1117 off of Little Dry River Rd. Last time I went to this trail head I explored the right branch. This time I explored the left.

I parked near the main road, and headed up the road fire road. It’s a little shy of two miles to the split in the road, this includes passing two turns to the right. I think next time I venture into this area Ill drive up and park at this split so I can go a little farther out.I took the left split and checked out some debris on the side of the trail right at the turn.  It appears that someone either dumped some housing supplies or a little tiny shack collapsed. Next to the pile I found a dead bird. I did not touch it but snapped off this photo from Simon’s back. I think it might be a pheasant. But I really have no idea.

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I continued up the road, which was a rather well-manicured. At the top there was sort of a wide turn around area that has signs of recently being used for camping. There is a nice wide green turn off to the left, over a berm, which goes out to the power lines. Of course this is a spot for amazing views. I took a few minutes to enjoy looking around at the mountains and tree tops and then proceeded along a small unmarked trail straight ahead. I went a short ways and eventually turned back around. I saw a lot of beer signs including some scat and lots of clawed up trees. The trail was rather simple and nice but did not appear to be headed anywhere.

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Back on the fire road I continued along and shortly came to a closed gate. I can’t remember if it’s at the turn I drew it in on the map, or more likely on the turn before that one. The fire road was still pleasant after the gate, although it shortly came to a wide turn around area, again with camping evidence. Coming out of the back of the area, where the original fire road is still in place, although over grown, a nice trail was still usable. I continued along this portion, which crossed back and forth across the power lines several times. Each pass pausing to enjoy the amazing views.
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The trail was really nice. It was wide enough in most places for a quad, in some places the road was perfectly open, and in others it was more of a dirt bike/pony/person width. It was pleasantly green with blooms and flowers, it smelled fabulous, and there was a nice breeze whispering through. It was a bit more exposed to the sun than I expected, although not continuously, but maybe not the best option for the hottest brightest days of the summer. I came home a little pink. There were also a few spots with flowing springs or run offs along the edge of the trail. I would expect these to be dried up in the summer, but they were still running yesterday and the dogs enjoyed them.
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The road comes to an abrupt end under some power lines. It was a nice ending, with some views, although I felt like there should have been a trail or something continued at the end. But I saw a big ol black snake on the trail, just a few feet from the end and was more than happy to call it turnaround time. I am not a fan of snakes.

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On the ride back I checked out two yellow markers on some small pines growing up on the edge of the fire road, right at a turn. They were old, and worn, but marked a semi hidden trail head. I checked it out just a little and found it over grown with thorn trees. Not the pricker bushes or vines, but the trees with thorns all over them. Forget that.

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I also checked out a small branch off to the right, it was again a bit over grown, although still obvious, and very short. I did not see the trail head for the dotted line on the other end at all. Although I was not looking for it and noticed it on the tracker map when I got back.

A nice ride and a gorgeous day.

Trail Report – FS240 Vepco ~ Little Dry River

May 8, 2015

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I love – Short Work Thursdays.  If I plan my work week just right I can get home in time to spend a few hours riding in the woods.  I managed that yesterday and headed out to FS240, Vepco Road off of Little Dry River Rd.

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I forded the creek crossing (feeling a little wild – with trailer in tow) and drove up to the first right hand branch , 240E, which is where I parked, unloaded, and headed down.

After passing the closed FS gate, the path was peppered with spearmint plants adding to the blooming tree aroma.  I stayed straight where the trail split.  It narrowed down and soon the old fire road became chocked with small trees.  It was clear someone has kept up a foot path.  There were trees cut back and branches broken back and it was rather passable.  Although after a bit there were three downed trees across the path and I decided to turn around.

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When I got home I looked at the satellite image on my tracker and if I had just gone a little father it appears to have opened up to a clearing with trails off of it.  Nuts, I suppose Ill have to go back to this spot!IMG_5439

I went back to the split and headed down (left branch)

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There were a few creeks along the way and the terrain changed several times I stayed right when the trail split again, and continued to the end.  It broke down into an over grown trail, and I eventually turned around, just after this pile of rocks. 

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Heading back to the split, I made a right (which would have been a left on my descent), and checked out the two branches this lead to.

Nothing super spectacular, but I did see some pretty terrain, lots of growth, and some eggs in a slow moving creek.

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Returning to my start, I decided to adventure in another direction.

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Just a slight ride down the fire road brought me to another closed FS gate to the left, just before the power lines.  I crossed the power line path and took a trail through the woods for a while.  I saw a lot of bear poo and scratched up trees.  I turned around after a bit and explored the power line area for the views before calling it for the day.

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On the way out I stopped at the creek ford and washed some of the mud off the dogs.

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I did not make good time, or pound out a ton of miles, but I really enjoyed this ride.  Everything smelled amazing.  Everything was green and colorful.  The air was warm and it felt good to be in a tank top.  I also coated Simon, the dogs and myself in fly spray before we headed out.  Making this the first ride of the year that was permeated by the smells of fly spray and sweaty pony.

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!

Trail Report – Turner Run to Slate Lick Loop – March 2015

April 3, 2015

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*My tracker cut off and did not get my entire ride back in the below images. 

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Last Sunday I went back to Turner Run and checked out a trail I have been wanting to follow.  It appears to have been a fire break, with burned forest only to the right hand side of it, and is wide and clear and rather new.  It is rocky and goes steeply down for a while.  It eventually starts to level out and then comes to an extremely vertical down at a creek bed.  The down is only about (if memory serves me – curse my waiting nearly a week to write this) two pony lengths long and ends on a flat creek side.

 

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Once down the bank onto the creek side you have two options.

1. Cross the creek and follow the lovely trail to the right.  I did this first.

2. go left and cross the creek and then up the hill.  I did this a bit later and will add details later.

 

So going across the creek and heading left is a nice, well used trail.  It will split just a little ways up, and although going straight (a little to the left) is possible, this trail is older and mostly sucked with downed trees.  It was clearly more used angling to the right.  The trail crosses the creek a few times and eventually pulls up behind Slate Lick Lake.

There are a couple markers from out by the lake (in the open grass field that is to the left in the second and third photos below).

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I turned around and headed back to OPTION 2!  Along the way back you can see a trail rather clearly on the other side of the creek. And again, I did investigate and it sucked.  But have at it if you want, I certainly didn’t explore all of it.

So back to the creek bed where you were faced with two options, left and right.  Heading right is a bit more of a blind start to a trail, although there are some pink marking tape up, you go into the creek, walking just a bit up it and then cross the it and go up the hill.  There is another lovely trail, with pink tape markets along it that follows the creek.

Both trails had plenty of foot and hoof traffic evidence.

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I rode this for a while, going slightly up for the majority.  At a few points the trail was a bit hard to see when it crossed the creek but looking for a pink marker tape helped out.  Finally it did seem like it was petering out, and I was down in a deep creek ravine.  I think I must have missed the trail at that point, but I new we were super close to the fire road.  So I climbed Simon up a hill and we went a just a little farther up, and the fire road was just a head.  the final few lengths were extremely steep, and I would not attempt to ride down there, but it popped up onto the fire road.

At this point I remember from a previous ride seeing a pink flag tied to a fallen branch of the side of the road, but it didn’t appear to lead any where.  This is where it popped out.

I took the photo below while riding away.  If going up the fire road the flag is on the left right where the road bends.  If you look hard you can spot it in this photo.

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It was a pretty cool trail, both down and up and it being a loop to the lake and back is pretty neat too.  I think my choice for a future ride will be to take the first trail on the left, the one I rode on a week or two ago that starts out the back of a graveled pull off on the left of the fire road, and then coming back up either of the two trails I did on this ride.

This particular ride was about 11 miles, and I did do a bit of wondering and exploring on the bottom.  It would probably be more like a 9-10 mile loop without any detours.

 

Virginia Horse Festival 2015

April 2, 2015

Last weekend was the Virginia Horse Festival at the Meadow Event Park in Doswell, Virginia and MGAA had a demo slot!

We have been enjoying excellent spring weather, but this day was cold and extremely windy. Way colder than I, or anyone else probably expected. It was so blustery that we were not expecting spectators to turn out. But luckily we were wrong and after the first few races our bleachers started to fill in! Yea!

MGAA turned out mixed division teams. Each one having an array of Masters, Intermediate and Fossil riders taking part. It was really neat to ride with riders from different divisions. I think it would be fun to do this again. My team had my usual teammate Zoe, myself, intermediate Rider Steph and Masters riders Mackenzie and Jordan. We played about 15 races, taking turns sitting out. For my riding I was pretty pleased. I was certainly slower than I needed to be but I went mistake free. I was also reminded of how much I love Poe. He was awesome. And dang he enjoyed himself. I was pleased with both of our performances.

No points were kept, and everyone just ran the races having a great time. Stacey did an outstanding job as chief Ref, and everyone played well. Kathy and Dave did tag team commentating, explaining what we were doing in each race and talking about the different riders and ponies.  Speaking for everyone there, I think we all had fun.  After our demo there were a lot of questions and interest was shown and our riders stuck around to talk to anyone interested. I think we might have left an impression on a few. I even found some photos taken by spectators and put up on Instagram last night. That was cool.

Photos: Shelby A

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