Saturday, December 24, 2011 – Short Ride with Billy

Had a better night sleep than I’ve had in a long time, but still tired deep down, hoping to make a dent in that soon. We decided to take a short ride today, but our little dog Billy slipped out the door and refused to come back in, so we decided to let him tag along (careful what you wish for Billy). We followed some unmarked trails that weren’t actually part of the forest, because we didn’t want to cross the rather busy road to get to the trailhead with Billy. We passed a gorgeous equestrian center and the backs of a few houses, but were in wooded areas most of the time. Didn’t take long for Billy to tire out, and once he did, we headed across the road to the trailhead just to see what the campground was like. The Black Prong Campground is the farthest north of the horse campgrounds in Goethe, and where we would have stayed if our friends hadn’t invited us to stay with them instead. Other than being right next to a busy road, it’s a rather nice little campground. Several small sites are there, plus a large clearing where a bigger rig could go. There are a couple of central water spigots, and very nice tiled bathrooms with running cold water, so it would have been a good place to stay. Picked up a map at the kiosk, then decided to take the short blue loop just to check out the trails. We had learned that the trails were not in perfect shape for two reasons. One, they’ve been having a terrible drought for months, so there’s no water on the trails and the sand had grown quite soft, and two, they had just had an endurance race through the forest with over 120 horses, and they had really chewed up the trail. The result was some areas of pretty deep sand on some long stretches of trail, some of which we encountered on the short blue loop. Nothing impassable, just slowed us down a bit. A nice area, though, and we’re looking forward to doing more exploring. One more thing we learned was that the trails are only marked going in one direction! You either have to follow the trail in the direction they want, or you have to constantly be turning your head around looking for markers, at least until you get to know the trails. We’ve only encountered this phenomenon once before, and it’s beyond understanding, but c’est la vie! We’ll just have to get to know the trails!

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