Archives for June 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 – Runaround Day

Did some running around today, dropping off a printing job at a little print shop in Montour Falls (which is a very quaint little town with a waterfall at the end of Main Street!), and doing some shopping and getting gas. A pretty relaxing day otherwise, let the horses graze around the yard, a couple of day riders came in but we had the place to ourselves again by nightfall, just the way we like it!

Monday, June 18, 2012 – Travel Day to Six Nations, Watkins Glen, NY

Up with the alarm, though I was awake for quite some time before it went off, packed up and off the site by just after 8:00. Stopped in Bradford, PA (home of Zippo lighters!) for breakfast at a Perkins, stopped once more at an RV place because I thought I saw the name of the brand of RV we’re looking at to replace our current Marathon, but I was wrong. Took the opportunity to dump anyway while we were there. Arrived at the campground before 1:30, it took no time to set up, as we had spent over two weeks here last year, and knew the lay of the land. Only one trailer here, obviously a day rider, and they left later in the day. Never did get any rain, but it’s downright chilly here, a blustery wind and gray skies, temps in the low 60’s. Hard to believe they’re calling for 90 degrees tomorrow! Spent the rest of the day getting caught up on work, lots to do now that I have an internet connection and cell phone signal. Completed a lot of logistics for the upcoming month, most of the pieces coming together nicely, just one more piece of the puzzle acquire, a stable near Syracuse to board the horses and dogs for our 2 ½ weeks in VA at the end of July, and I’ll have almost all of the logistics completed through August. Watched a riotous movie called “Paul” before going to bed.

Sunday, June 17, 2012 – Some Rest, Some Chores

Slept kind of late again, but did manage to get up in time to say a brief goodbye to Christie and Janine as they headed out, apparently over to Cook Forest for some kind of week long trail ride, clinic and festival week. We lazed around awhile, then did some chores. Apollo had busted through the screen on the horse trailer, so I had to sew the ring back in so he’d keep his head in (he so loves to look out the window!). I oiled my boots, Hubby cleaned the horse boots, and we got everything put away that we could. They’re calling for rain tomorrow, so we made a special effort to cover and strap down the remaining hay so that we could travel with it and keep it dry. Ordinarily, we try to only drive in dry weather, but I’ve been without an internet connection for so long I can’t afford another day here, we have to travel, even if it rains. Hopefully we’ve done a good enough job not to damage the paint on my truck, which still looks almost as good as when we bought it in Phoenix almost two years ago. The rain came in during the evening, and is continuing sporadically even as I write. Time for bed!

Saturday, June 16, 2012 – Final Ride Day at Kelly Pines

    Slept later than expected, missed saying goodbye to Beth, who headed out earlier than we expected, though our other neighbors told us she wished us goodbye. A leisurely breakfast, then our other neighbor Christie let me download a map to “the Waterfall” from her GPS from a previous trip she had made there, because we wanted to go there, but it seems the trails here are rather hard to find. Thank goodness I got it, too, because we NEVER would have found the river crossings and trail intersections without it! Headed out about 12:30, and according to the map, it would be just over 11 miles. We packed up trail mix for us and oats for the horses, figuring to stop at the waterfall for lunch. We headed out on a loop counterclockwise, which meant we started by going across the road from the campground. The first part of the trail took us past some fantastic rock outcroppings, not quite as spectacular as the Garden of the Gods in Illinois, but certainly better than the backside of GOTG. That eventually led us to a river crossing that we initially missed, because we suddenly had a straightaway in front of us, and we got so excited at the prospect of a canter that I stopped looking at my GPS for a minute, and the result was missing a nearly invisible turnoff to the river crossing. Even then, I’m not sure we crossed at exactly the right spot, but we managed to make it across. It sure would be nice if someone had marked that trails here! They’re all here, they’re just not marked! (or on the map, for that matter.) That took us along a gravel road for a lot longer than we liked, and the horses were slowing down considerably, until finally we found the turnoff that would take us to the waterfall. On the way, we passed Christie and Janine and Ethan coming back from the waterfall, they were doing the same route we were, though in reverse. They reassured us we were on the right path, and we carried on. At one point I got down to cut a few branches from a tree that was blocking the route (something the forest service here seems uninclined to do), and finally, after the longest 7.25 miles I can ever remember, we arrived. It was a nice spot, with a fire ring and a beautiful cascade, and we settled into a nice lunch. The horses ate and napped, and we ate and took some pix and video. After about half an hour, we set off again, back down the linear path until we reached an intersection, again, a river crossing we never would have seen without the GPS map from Christie. That took us up to my favorite trail yet, paralleling the river for quite a while. Unfortunately, it was also one of the least maintained, which was really unfortunate because it is a lovely trail! I tried to move another tree blocking the road, but it took too long, and Apollo got antsy and headed off into the woods, but, of course, he didn’t go far because that would mean leaving Mama behind, and he wasn’t about to do that! Once we caught him, we continued on, until I started to recognize the trail that we had come down with Beth on Friday, one of the “new” trails, which I can’t understand why they’re bothering, because it intersected with an existing trail that came out onto the a main road about ¼ mile away. We took the old trail just to find out where it came out, and lo and behold, even though we had passed it twice before, it was so hidden by overgrowth we NEVER would have seen it! I swear, all this forest needs is a few days with a couple of burly guys, a chain saw, a GPS and a couple of cans of spray paint, and this place would be HEAVEN for a trail rider in a matter of a few days. Unfortunately, that’s not apparently in the cards, the bureaucracy is moving in another direction and taking two years to get there… C’est la vie! It turned out to be a very long ride time-wise, though in actual miles it was less than 12, but we made it back, finally, though it was well after 6:00. Got everybody fed and bedded down right away, then crashed for the evening, looking forward to a day off tomorrow.

Friday, June 15, 2012 – Second Ride Day at Kelly Pines

As planned, after breakfast we were saddled and ready just a tad late, by about 10:20, with GPS in hand. We quickly sorted out that Beth and Storm needed to go first, and she periodically waited for us. Actually, eventually Storm started slowing down almost to our pace, so it worked out well. Got off on the wrong foot, going off in reverse of what I had planned, but we kept going anyway, figuring backward is just as good. While the GPS was invaluable in keeping us on track to the existing trails, it couldn’t help when we reached trails that weren’t there at all, or at least not in any condition any of us was willing to risk. We did quite a bit of backtracking, and a couple of times (I discovered later) we were within a stone’s throw of a road when we turned back and took the long way around. Some parts of the trail were completely undeveloped, our only clue was ribbons hanging in trees going cross-country. We tried a few, but it got so bad we turned around. Eventually, we made the decision to go back along a road until we reach a dirt road that would backtrack us to the camp, and that’s what we did. It was almost 14 miles anyway, which is a pretty good ride for us, and we did get some trots and canters in, though for some reason Apollo was a little nuttier than usual, partly because he’s not used to other horses, and partly because the footing was so bad in a few places. He threw a few temper tantrums along the way, which just indicates to me how fit he is, that after that many miles of hard trail he still has the energy to pitch a fit! A good ride, though, Beth and I chatted a good part of the way, Hubby trailed along behind enjoying his (almost) solitude. Got back around 4:00, settled the horses in, had a chat with two women next door who had come in early this morning, discussing other horse camps around the area. They’re from south New Jersey, while Beth is from western Ohio, so we discussed many camps we all knew, though hadn’t necessarily been to. Very informative. We also had a discussion about horse boots, which were better than others, which was helpful because I need a new pair for Apollo (I’ve finally worn the toe out on one of my Easyboot Epics, after three years and heaven knows how many miles!) Beth had been looking at that as well, apparently she does all her own shoeing, and has been considering horse boots. It was great talking with the ladies, a nice change. We exchanged contact information before the day was done, then Hubby and I settled down to a movie and bed.

Thursday, June 14, 2012 – Runaround Day

Spent the day running around, had to go get the horse trailer tire replaced at the Goodyear dealer in Clarendon, also went to 5M feed for a bag of oats and some bedding for the stalls, dropped off taxes at the post office, parked in the Tops parking lot for a while getting caught up on emails and other internet chores, did a little grocery shopping before heading back to camp. Meanwhile, Hubby had done a bunch of chores, checked the brakes on the horse trailer and decided they didn’t need rebuilding, fixed the seals on the slide, as we had discovered a leak on one side (but only when we’re listing a certain way : -), and otherwise got things done in my absence (and vice versa). Spent a little time on Google Earth overlaying the trail map in an effort to create something we can follow tomorrow. We’d like to take the mid-size loop, supposedly about 16 miles, but we’ve heard parts of the trails are done and others not so much, so we don’t know what to expect. Managed to trace a path on Google Earth and download it onto my Garmin, so hopefully that will help (fingers crossed!) To bed early with the alarm set so that we get out by ten. Our neighbor Beth has asked to join us, and we’re happy to have her along, though I suspect she may get a little frustrated with us, as she has a frisky young walking horse, and we just have our old (okay, middle aged) plodding quarter horse and appaloosa. Looking forward to the exploration, as always!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 – First Ride at Kelly Pines

 Slept late, got a late start out, but our plan was to just do a short exploratory ride today. We plotted out the shortest possible loop, which was about 5.5 miles, and headed out, expecting sloppy trails after all the rain we had Monday and Tuesday. The beginning actually turned out to be quite nice, a fairly wide forest trail meant for snowmobilers, which climbed for awhile before we came to a fork in the road. Despite the forest folks saying none of the trails were marked (which I didn’t believe, at least for the old trails, those guys ALWAYS blazed it somehow), there were in fact orange trail markers nailed to the trees. I had to get down once and move a tree that had recently fallen across the trail (probably during all the wind and rain), until we came to a fork in the road. We misjudged where we were on the map (the fork wasn’t actually on the map, what else is new?), but we ended up in the right place despite ourselves. Carefully observing the GPS insured we didn’t get too far off course, but once the orange blazes ran out at the first gate (apparently it marked a snowmobile trail with limited access), there were no real clues as to what road or trail we were on. Finally came across a side road/trail that was on the map, but the marker was almost completely buried, Hubby never saw it, and I barely saw it even when I was looking for it. We turned onto what started out as a decent dirt road, but it quickly narrowed into a pretty boggy and stony trail with lots of obstacles. We made it through okay, it eventually became a utility easement following electrical poles, until we finally came out at the back side of the campground. Turned out to be closer to 6.5 miles, but it was still pretty nice most of the way, boggy in some places, but not as bad as it could have been after all the rain. Got the horses settled back in and relaxed the rest of the day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 – Rainy Day at Kelly Pines

Rain came in before we went to bed, and continued intermittently throughout the night, sometimes quite heavy, with a few bolts of lightning and rumbles of thunder. We were VERY happy the horses were under cover, and I’m sure they were too! Didn’t clear up until late in the day, and we needed the rest anyway, so it worked well all around. Spent the day getting caught up on my computer and my blog, seems like there’s never any end to stuff that needs doing, even when there’s no internet connection! Took a ride down to the Ranger station to find a signal and to get any maps they might have. A lot of very strange and conflicting information there. One young man indicated there were NO trail suitable for horses at Kelly Pines, that we’d have to ride cross country if we wanted to ride. Sorry, but THAT wasn’t going to happen! He also said that he couldn’t give me a trail map, he could only let me look at it (it was just a photocopy!) After pointing out to him that I had been speaking with the rec guy Joe, and that he said there were trails, the young man finally brought out a rec woman and we had a nice chat, though not as helpful as I would have liked. On the kiosk at the campground there is a map of trails, some of which had a notation NOT to ride. She explained that this was because they were disputing the work of some contractor they had who was supposed to be “reconstructing” the trails, and they weren’t happy with the work, so they didn’t want to trample on it. Then she said they had recently re-thought that strategy, and figured it would better demonstrate that the trails wouldn’t hold up if they actually let riders ride on them, so THEN they could argue the point that they wouldn’t hold up! So all trails were open, but the trail map was, theoretically, not accurate. Then I finally pulled it out of her that the trails had been there since the 50’s, so they were THERE, they just weren’t as safe as they wanted them to be… I’m beginning to hate a government that thinks it’s their responsibility to keep ME safe. I can take care of myself, thank you very much. Anyway, she DID give me a copy of the map, so at least I had a starting point. Between that and my GPS, at least I’m hoping we won’t be getting COMPLETELY lost this week! After spending some time in their parking lot, where I could get a good signal, I did a little internet work before heading back to the campground. Not sure how this will all play out, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough! Ride planned for tomorrow!

Monday, June 11, 2012 – Travel Day to Kelly Pines, Allegheny National Forest, PA

 Up with the alarm, was off the site by just after 8:00, off the dump by 8:30, grabbed some breakfast at a Burger King and gas for Hubby in the nearby town before heading out on the freeway. Had to negotiate some difficult roads in Pittsburgh, but managed to get out of the city unscathed. Next stop was Walmart and gas in Clarion, PA, before finally heading out to the campground. Road started out as tarmac, switched to gravel, and started getting narrower and narrower, hoping against hope we didn’t meet anyone coming in the other direction, which we fortunately we didn’t. Just as Hubby was started to get worried, we arrived at the campground, which, once we crossed over a small narrow bridge, opened up into a beautiful, tidy, wide open field with a big gravel loop around it. Surprisingly, there were covered stalls at every one of the 5 or 6 sites, which we certainly weren’t expecting. One central water spigot of untested water in the middle, well within reach of any of the sites (at least, when you have as much hose as we carry : -), and fire rings at every site as well. The grass had been mowed very recently, giving it a wonderful park-like feel. We were VERY surprised, we were expecting something extremely primitive, but this was a little gem of a place in the middle of the woods. Perfect! There were a couple of other non-horse camping sites next to the bridge, and we met a nice couple there, Bill and Rusty, who have been coming here for the last 42 years for the fishing and family fun (they had a couple grandkids with them.) Once we parked, we discovered on of the tires on the horse trailer was flat, an old tire that probably just couldn’t take the beating on the 4+ miles of gravel road we traversed. According to Rusty, however, if we come in from the north, the tarmac comes most of the way, so I’ll check that out tomorrow when I go out looking for a tire. Only trouble here is that I don’t have any kind of cell phone signal, so I’m going to have to go searching tomorrow. Got the horses settled in, and everything set up about an hour before it started raining, which we were expecting, and we were SO grateful for the covered stalls, so the horses would be out of the rain all night. Heading to be early, it’s been a long day!

Sunday, June 10, 2012 – Anniversary and Rest Day

Today we celebrated our 23rd Wedding Anniversary, so we slept late, enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, finished off the last of the laundry, and packed up everything we could in advance of our departure tomorrow. Had a nice steak for dinner for a change, the extent of our celebration, and had a quiet evening of TV watching and getting to bed fairly early, with the alarm set for an early wakeup call.