Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Map in my Head

Red ponies along
Ride two on my new home trails was just as fantastic as the first.  I briefly contemplated a nap this afternoon, but the sun was shining and I just couldn't pass that up.  Fifty minutes from the time I left my house, I was in the saddle (pretty good considering it's a 27 mile trip to the farm.) 

I love that I have options about which route to take coming and going from the property - I don't like the horses to get too attached to "the way home" - I have enough trouble with overly exuberant ponies when homeward bound already!  We headed out down the driveway, which meant passing between the pasture with 5 full grown Angus steers, and the pen with the 4 Angus calves.  As far as Rhio is concerned, you can never be too careful when it comes to cows!  Red lived with cows (Angus, even) across the fence for 9 years and couldn't care less about them. 
The view
Once safely past the scary cows, we cut up one of the farm trails and paused for a view back across the pastures and toward the house.  This is such a lovely piece of property - I am truly fortunate to have access to riding here.  The trail winds generally north and east, up and down a few hills, and with broad spans of now-nude maples, big oaks with their chestnut-colored leaves still clinging, and a few bright yellow aspens  hanging on to their color. 
Farm trails
Meeting up with the trails I rode on Sunday, the horses knew exactly where they were and off we went.  At the very first intersection, though, I turned us right instead of left.  This took us directly out to a gravel/dirt road, which is a loop and doesn't go anywhere - it is merely hunter and logging access to the county land.  Red did not care for walking on the rocks, and so we fairly slowly progressed around the loop.  I was searching for a snowmobile trail that continued north, and which I've been told goes for "miles" without anything I can't cross.  I am anxious to test this theory, as sometimes a trail rider's definition of "miles" is slightly different than an endurance rider's (no offense meant).  We found the snowmobile trail, and explored up a ways, until it crossed the next county highway.  Although the path continued directly across the asphalt, and it was oh-so-tempting, I had to leave that exploration for another day (and more daylight). 
Road loop
Retracing our steps, we completed the road loop (about 2.5 miles total on the road) and headed back home along our now-familiar trails.  I have now ridden out here three times (once, the first, trail riding with M.) and have studied the basic map a bit.  All the entry points to the trails have metal map-signs with a "you are here" indicator, which is very helpful.  I also use my RunKeeper app on my phone while I ride, which not only acts as a GPS to give me time and distance, it also makes a little map for me of my route.  Now, I have a map in my head, and besides figuring out a few of the inner cut-offs within the loops, I think I have it pretty well down.  The horses certainly do!  I have always been a person that needs to look at a map of a place, and then can visualize the map in my head.  With just a little experience, now I can create routes to achieve whatever riding or conditioning goal(s) I may have for a particular day.  These trails are now familiar territory and my next explore will definitely be continuing up the snowmobile trail into new places! 

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