Tuesday, March 8, 2011

quick adventure

(I got back to the barn after my ride and the manager wondered if Major had been a jerk so I'd come back early? I explained where we'd gone, and that we were just fast today!)

I'm a little tired of the same trails, and the forest is still pretty muddy, so I split the difference! Starting in the forest was mostly walking, what isn't totally a puddle is really slick mud. It took almost a half hour to carefully walk about two miles. The rest of the ride was much faster! We took the lower lake trail, which is the nice sandy trail, and didn't encounter a single other rider. One hiker, some boats on the lake, where was everyone? It was about 60 degrees, blue skies, just lovely.

Major was listening nicely, we just motored along at his medium trot. GPS puts it about 10mph...nicer for me when it is a little slower, but it's a compromise at this point. He was a little looky and it took me some time to figure out why: the lake is different! Even though they hold and release water all winter, I think at this point it is filling faster than they release, so rocks that were completely exposed a couple weeks ago are now just tiny islands out in the water, and the lake is much closer in some places.

We got to the main staging area, where we often cut in. But we kept going and were able to follow the lake trail all the way to the next crossing: only one problem, I didn't see any trail back up! We were about 20 feet lower than the trail, and I was planning on backtracking a bit to find an easy access. Major thought that was a great idea, as that was the way home! But I saw a small trail leading up, and thought that must be it!

It was for about 10 feet: then I saw that I should have payed more attention: it was just a person trail, and the tree branches were encroaching and the "trail" was quite steep. It did look safe though, and it would have been harder to back out, so up we went. Major is such a good sport, and climbed up the slippery hill no problem (except for banging my knee on a tree, there was no room to move him over!) At the top we still had about 4 feet to go, but it leveled off and our main trail was blocked by dead, scratchy branches. I saw another route, pointed Major at it, and we climbed the bank, popping onto the main trail! What a surprise we would have been for someone on that trail (though I listened carefully, didn't want to scare anyone). I knew we were close to where I like to cut for home, and after walking about 50 feet I saw the real place we could have come up from the lower trail...I'll know for next time (sheepishly hanging head).

Coming home is a fun trail, it parallels the road up high, and is pretty smooth and even. Major loves this trail, and I let him do his big trot: it takes my breath away, 14-15 mph and so smooth. It is only about a half mile, but quick!

At home there is lots of delicious grass, and Major got a good snack before rolling in the arena to finish the adventure. Rain was coming again, but I am so glad to fit these rides in between storms. I think Major is too.

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