We hadn't been to Hidden Falls since one of my very first trail rides on Major (pre-blog days)! They did a large expansion last year, which makes it a much better place for training (before there was only seven miles of trails in loops, a bit dull). Now there are lots of trails, lots of loops and everything incredibly well maintained. Compared to my usual rutted, eroded, fallen tree, duck for branches, rocky routes, this is Disneyland!
|Are you sure we have to leave my hay bag behind?|
Our first trails were in the damp shade, but the footing was perfect, and we both warmed up quickly. Major loves to explore (me too) and just set into a fabulous working trot, up and over and around the great terrain, winding through oaks and along the creek where I could hear the waterfalls but not see them. I'd ask him to slow, and he would, but he wanted to go that nice pace, so I let him, and it was great!
|cute little bridge|
|highly suspicious non-native rocks|
|I dare you to get lost here!|
At every intersection there is a sign, and at most there is a trail map too. The longest trail I did was about 2.5 miles, as they all interconnect and get a bit complicated, for a total of almost 14 miles. (For the detailed, the crazy list is: South Legacy Way to Pheasant Trail to Golden Eagle Loop to Black Rail Trail to Warbler to South Legacy Trail to Gold Finch Trail across Salmon Run Bridge to Grey Squirrel Trail to Deer Trail to River Otter Loop to North Legacy Way to Creekside Trail across Canyon View Bridge to North Legacy Way across Whiskey Diggins Bridge to Poppy Trail and back to the trailer.)
|huge 34 ton capable bridge, I think we can make it|
|a view from the creek|
|suspicious rock with plaque, open potty...too many things to look at!|
|suspicious logs, why are they lined up along the trail?|
There is a lovely creek to wade in, though at five miles in Major wasn't interested in drinking. We found one good hill climb on Deer Trail, shared trail with some nice bikers, had a kamikaze squirrel run in front of us and confronted the suspicious stacked rocks and logs. At 10 miles he drank a little and mostly splashed until I pulled him out of the water because I knew any instant he was going to lie down!
|good hill on Deer Trail|
|oaks leafing out and stunning blue skies|
|this grass over HERE is better...|
|pretending to drink, more fun to play|
|love this little tête-à-tête, quite the conversation spot|
Heading back we took the totally not scary (though signs would make you think otherwise) trail along the creek, and then walked the fire road to cool down. One last jaunt up Poppy Trail, where we encountered no fewer than eight groups of people coming down, and Major posed to have his sweaty picture taken by some Japanese tourists (I've had this happen twice before, I'm sure it is posted on some foreign visitor's Facebook page, so odd. But glad to be an ambassador of sorts!).
|one way travel probably a good idea, a bit narrow for horses and bikes|
|a view down to the creek|
|the other big bridge|
|Major was hot, though not too tired, it was over 70 degrees|
|shaded fire break is a good place to get off and hike|
|at the end of Poppy Trail|
Back at the trailer the staging area was now very full, packed with trailers and cars circling for spots, even the overflow lot was full. I counted 13 total trailers, too many cars and was glad everyone was out enjoying the day (but glad we were back and not sharing the trails with them). Major waited not so patiently for mash, ate some grass on the hillside, then we headed home.
|I can see my mash. It's right there. I need it. Now.|
|everyone else was out enjoying the day too|
|back home is best|