Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014 – Ride Day to Spring Creek Head

With beautiful weather abounding, we saddled up the horses after breakfast and headed out on the nearest forest road. We were completely unable to find trail maps, as the State Park didn't really have any trails, and bordered the National Forest, which didn't service the horse camp, and I didn't find a ranger station nearby to try to pick up a map of the trails. Of course, they had forest road maps you can buy, but you still have to find a ranger station to do that. In any event, I had traced a trail from Google Earth on the visible forest roads, downloaded it to my GPS and hoped for the best. Our destination was the head of Spring Creek, which, down by the logging museum was a wide and fast-running river, but apparently it's origin springs straight out of the ground a couple of miles up the road. We headed out, and unfortunately, the roads were as dusty as the trails we left at the last campground, so we had to wear our bandanas pretty much the whole way. The road went right where I had anticipated, then I thought I saw a shortcut, so we took that, but it led us astray after a while, so we retraced our steps back to the road until we came to a day use area along a sort of small lake, where apparently the creek came out of the spring. It was crowded, not surprisingly, I guess, since it was a beautiful Saturday, and we asked a few people if the trail along the creek went back down to Collier Park, and each one we asked said either they thought so, or definitely yes, so we started south along the creek. That didn't last long, because the trail most definitely did NOT go anywhere, and after stumbling over one too many downed logs, we turned around and went back. We round another shortcut that put us back on another road that followed a utility line, which we figured would lead us back to the park, but after quite a ways, it dead ended at private property. We cut across some more property, which turned out to be private as well, but couldn't get back to the forest road because the terrain was just too tough, so we ended up retracing our steps again, until I finally found a way back to the main road and heading back to camp. We had only a couple of chances to canter, and unfortunately Hubby's cinch got loose a bit, not enough to take a fall, thank goodness, but we had to stop and re-cinch Clio's saddle. She got a lot of dust in her face today, because of the condition of the mostly sandy roads, and we were all glad to get back to camp, our short planned 6 mile ride turning into an 11 mile adventure. Fortunately, Hubby took it all in stride, and though he was tired (as was I), he didn't hurt too much, except for his foot a bit. We put the horses away and relaxed the rest of the day.

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