Ain't nuthin like ridin' a fine horse in a new country - Augustus McCrae – Lonesome Dove

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Who's Trails Are They Anyway?

Part of our ride today
 To say that this country is incredibly beautiful is such an understatement.  Denise was kind enough to invite me up to ride her conditioning trails outside Darrington.  I've loved the area since I got to know it a little better when our youngest daughter & her family were there.  My involvement with the Whitehorse Trail was only strengthened when I realized what an asset it would be to horsemen & other trail users alike.
Farah admires the river~
 We left from Denise's home & within a short distance were on the Whitehorse.  This trip has been weeks in the making - ever since the meetings about new bike only - trails on North Mountain, funded by DNR.  After meetings with local riders, I offered to ride & GPS the trails.
Start of the trail~
 This was a beautiful trail, through an area long ago logged.  The trees have reached a nice size & Denise remarked that soon, there would be wildflowers to enjoy.  It wasn't long at all before we were climbing!
Rock outcropping~
 The rock outcroppings were huge & beautiful.  Very soon though - I was distracted by the view off to our right!  Whitehorse looked so close & so stellar with it's fresh coating of snow that it literally took your breath away!
 This trail brought us up & over to the paved section of the logging road that goes up North Mountain.  The same road I rode on months ago & had my little set-to with the logging truck.  We went just a short way, crossed to the uphill side & here was the start of Denise's trail.  I call it her's because she uses it often to connect over to her conditioning trail, that goes up the south side of North Mountain.
 The first thing we saw, was the bright orange markers, freshly put in & every few feet.  It's a beautiful little trail, used by local riders as part of their poker ride route for many years.
Denise & Rocco lead the way~
I was thinking all day - of how enjoyable these trails were.  Horsemen to tend to enjoy the ride, where in my estimation anyway - mountain bikers use them...
We're stopped :-)
 I was actually surprised that we got as far as we did without trees down, but sadly - this one ruined our plan.  Denise got Roco under but the pommel of her saddle hit hard.  I knew there was no way Farah would make it.  Denise removed her saddle & got Rocco back under.  She had another plan, that would involve more riding out on the power line trail, but would give us the opportunity to find the upper end of the same trail.
More logging & more views!
 Let me tell you - this was a climb - we were up to 1,781 feet!  It's no wonder that this team was & is so well prepared for any Endurance ride!  It takes conditioning & they've written the book on these trails :-)
Tank traps & markers
 We climbed & climbed, coming to this corner - Denise took a second look, but it was not the top of the trail we were looking for so we continued on. 
 Certainly no reason Not to!  On a day like this - with views like these, it's a horseman's paradise.  As I told her - established trails here - would draw horsemen from all over the state!  Combine trails with a nice place to camp - & though our numbers can't match those of the bike lobbies, they could & would still make a nice impact on the local economy!  After all, those big tough trucks take a lot more fuel than the little suburban cars.
Denise finds the trail!
 We were so happy - the longer ride was so worth finding the upper end of the "connector" trail.  This trail is very important to horsemen - as it does connect SW side with the South in a very nice way.
On the trail~
 Here too, we found exactly what we thought we would, lots more markers...   In the public meetings hosted by DNR, we were told that the bike clubs would be building trails on the mountain.  That they would not interfere with the existing horse trails.  We do not know that these markers are for those proposed user specific trails - but Denise is making local inquiries.  Building a trail involves a lot of work - but taking over an existing one would be much easier? 
Another stunning peak view!
 We turned back before coming to the downed tree from this direction.  The trail was wet, the horses were more than willing - they knew we were going the right direction, but it was time to head back.
God's Country~
With this final view of the fresh white snow on a pristine peak, we walked to the bottom, returned to the power line trails & eventually connected up again with the Whitehorse just past the little power station.

Stellar day, Stellar ride, wonderful new friend!  Now, lots more research ahead & more trail riding for me - gee - doubt I'll mind that!  :-)


  1. Whitehorse. Wow. Just wow. And all the crazy miles you log definitely is great benefit for your endurance career! I wish I had more time to get out like you do.


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