Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Spruce Knob Ride

I've really been making the most of autumn this year. To kick off October, I joined a local friend heading out for an overnight horse camping trip to Spruce Knob. He's got a new horse and wanted to get a bit of camping in before heading to Fort Valley later in the month. 

We ended up only riding one day because Ivan was a little sore the morning after (due to a bite on his loin from a herdmate prior to the trip). Even with one day of riding, it was still a great trip. I was pleased to learn that Grif has matured to the point where he doesn't insist on screaming incessantly throughout the entire night! The only time he was really vocal was when Ivan would be out of eye sight (getting tacked up) and when trailers of cattle passed by camp (Grif, they're cows, not your friends). 

From camp, we had to trek down the road 1-2 miles to get to trail heads that I preferred. There was a closer one, but that trail is in such a sorry state that I did not want the horses on it. 
It was a nice way to warmup, though slightly frustrating with the amount of traffic due to the foliage. 
This is where we wanted to cross originally, but the boys were not having it. So we went upstream another mile to begin our ride and crossed here at the end of the day. 
Taiga was the happiest little adventure husky on this day and was SO GOOD. I'm so proud of this little dog for being as awesome as she is in the backcountry.
20201002 Autumn_488
A section of the Allegheny Trail. It didn't used to be as wet as it is now. Chris and I spent a fair bit of our time on this trail postulating as to why it has changed so much. The best hypothesis we could agree on is that the invasion of Microstegium (Japanese stiltgrass) along the trail (old road in this section) has affected the way the sheet flow water is absorbed. Microstegium roots aren't nearly as deep as native vegetation so water pools more.
A dirty Griffleby after slipping unceremoniously sideways into a muddy section of creek where the footing was tricky. He was so hyper focused on his front feet that he forgot his hinds. It didn't hurt him and didn't hurt me, but was a great learning moment for Grif about how to navigate tricky footing! Also, I moved my sheepskin accoutrements from my Abetta to the Ultralight. Super cushy!
Somewhere along Big Run trail, I believe.
The colors were pretty, but not quite peaking yet.
Would have been nice to catch the goldenrod in bloom...
20201002 Autumn_489
The start of our descent was a bit tricky and quite steep. As Ivan is only 6, Chris opted to lead him down the majority of it to help him out. 
20201002 Autumn_490
Grif was pretty content to follow.
20201002 Autumn_493
Once the terrain evened out, Chris found a log to remount and we continued onward.
20201002 Autumn_496
The foliage above us was poppin'!
20201002 Autumn_498
We went downhill for a solid mile or more.
Skeptical ears as we paused to wait for Chris and Ivan.
And back on the road to camp! We ended up tackling 14.25 miles over 5 hours climbing ~7500 feet.
My tent and camp the next morning. The boys were hi-tied to the left of this image. And yeah, that's frost on the vegetation. My tent was absolutely shellacked in ice. 
20201002 Autumn_500
I loved the orange foliage that lit up behind these conifers.

No comments:

Post a Comment