On the way to Hartley Meadows…
Gloria on Smokey and me on my Gum Drop, Lyra headed out on a trail ride from about a mile or so north of Bear Basin, with our destination to be Hartley Meadows. There was heavy logging where we parked the trailer we had to wind in and out of heavy down trees to meet the first part of the trail- downhill with soft footing for a few hundred yards to meet the trail that crosses Wagon Bay creek.
Once on the Wagon Bay creek trail- I think this is the trail Yahoo Corrals uses we headed north. This is an excellent one track trail with good footing. You wind through interesting rock outcroppings big and small, going uphill and down. The trail parallels Warren Wagon road way down below and there are spectacular views of the north part of Payette lake.
My little Haflinger is a great trail horse who goes barefoot. She has good agility through the boulders cropping up on the trail. She is not speedy however and we do short spurts of trotting to keep up with our big buddy, Smokey. There was a little open area with some flats rocks so we stopped there for some training. Lyra easily stepped up onto a flat boulder with all four feet on it and dropped down off of it. Smokey was a little more skeptical about this, didn’t see a reason to step on a flat boulder so Gloria spent a little time persuading him to do it- a little success was made for him.
We stay on this trail for a couple of miles then tip up to the west to connect with a dirt road. We follow this road going north for at least a mile. There are some pretty rocky stretches, but it is a very well-worn route.
Next is a single track that heads a bit west, good footing until you get to another dirt road. This old road is clear of brush or trees on the surface, but seems seldom used. It parallels to a certain extent the back side of Brundage road that starts at Bear Basin and ends near the north end of Brundage reservoir. This road has some very good footing, but also some very rocky stretches. There are two stream crossings- the streams are small, but they have short steep banks down into them. One has many flat boulders in the stream so having a horse that will step on rocks is a plus. I led my little Gum Drop down and over the rocks- she followed me with no problem.
To the point of our little ride- Hartley meadows. We knew we had to tip up to the west, but also knew the last leg of the journey to end at Hartley meadows was vague with no clear trail. We followed the road past an intersection with a road that went east- we keep going north and ended up at a sweet green meadow that angled to the west and north. We could tell the sheep flocks that graze in the Payette forest had been through there. As we headed out of the meadow we decided we had gone far enough and maybe should stop and have a break and something to eat. We discussed things and decided the completion to Hartley meadows would be for another day.
On reflection I realized I had a couple of times of wondering that we weren’t quite on the right track. As we rode the road I spied a large, steep outcropping of granite off to the west. This gave me cause to think seeing this didn’t fit into what I had remembered when I scouted Hartley meadows last year on foot and drove my van on the back side Brundage road. When we reached the meadow where we stopped for a break neither Gloria or I wanted to continue. I think we both had a feeling we had too long to go to make it to the meadow we were seeking.
We were right! When I got home and checked out the scene on a map from Google earth I saw that we had gone too far north. At the intersection of the road a ways before our break meadow we should have looked for a trail to the west that would have led us to an easy uphill into Hartley meadows. This will be our plan for next time. There is no clear trail off the road, but I think we will scout to find the best route off the road and then the path will be clear to reach our desired destination.
The horses and ourselves got a good rest and relaxation before mounting up to turn back. My little Gum Drop was a bit tired to start, as was I, but we got second winds and had a fun time on the trail home. Gloria on Smokey did fine. They have been out trail riding a lot this summer and are both pretty fit. I dismounted a couple of times and led Lyra over the rockiest part of the road.
An interesting diversion was when we were on the second road toward home. We saw a man with two pack goats! He was a very friendly bow hunter looking for elk. We dismounted because we didn’t know how our horses would do seeing these strange little creatures. Lyra was great. Although a bit tense she stopped and looked one goat right in the eye. The goat stared back with big goat eyes, probably wondering what we were doing with these horses. Lyra walked away from the man with his goats in good form. Smokey spooked after passing them. I guess he thought they were going to get him from behind. We led a ways further, found our single track trail then remounted. I wished I’d gotten a photo of this gentleman and his pack goats- something you don’t see every day out on the trail.
The rest of the ride was smooth sailing on this soft winding trail. I let Lyra do her trotting to catch up on a loose rein. She knew to only trot where the footing was soft and she carefully followed Smokey down the short steep rock strewn parts of the trail.
After crossing Wagon Bay creek that has only a little water this time of year we hit the last leg of our journey. This is the short stint uphill to get to our trailer. Both Gloria and I had a blast with spirited trotting up this soft dusty trail. It was so much fun!
We arrived at the trailer near 4 in the afternoon. We had ridden 11 and a half miles all together. Gloria had her GPS with her and will send me the final mapping from it via email. We had a really good ride with two great horses, Smokey who has been many miles on forest trails and my little Haflinger, Lyra who has the agility of her breed and is so much fun to ride. They were both very well behaved for the most part. We loaded up and headed home. I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening regaining the energy spent on the trip. I took a long nap after unloading the photos and videos into my computer and sending some to Gloria and posting some on Facebook. See ya down the trail… we will complete this ride all the way to Hartley meadows in September now that we know better the trail livraison viagra rapide.