Memorial Day (observed) it was! I was thinking of maybe hitting up new trails at Elba, since I still haven't ridden there, but the drive there would leave me less time to ride if I had a time limit to get back. The closest place had limited trail miles and the other close spot would be an out and back on the Polly Ann. So I decided on Addison Oaks. I knew I had a ton of variety, I could explore a new section of trail, and there was some decent miles to be traveled, some in woods, some on field edges. Decided!
I packed up Gwyn after getting Hazel to sleep and we took off. Loading Gwyn was 'fun' as we had taken the divider out so the trailer could be used to move furniture for my mother in law. We hadn't put it back in but I figured it wouldn't really matter. Well... it was new. And Gwyn was in a sassy mood, so Eric had to help me. And like usual, once on the trailer she was fine.
So that's something to work on.
Addison Oaks was a quick 20 min trip south on our street and then a right. It's got camping if you like that, a small lake for swimming, disc golf, mountain bike trails, a paved path around the lake and a playground. It's a great little park and it also has horse trails that crisscross the mountain bike path.
The last time I rode here was on a weekday morning while Kaylee was in a summer day camp, 2 years previous (so no Hazel). Now I was riding on a holiday weekend. A popular camping holiday weekend. And the day when everyone goes home.
I parked in trailer parking and soon learned that we would be dealing with RVs and motor homes driving past us the WHOLE TIME I was tacking up. Gwyn was NOT a fan. I ended up switching which side of the trailer I tacked her up on because she was quickly losing brain cells. Then another trailer pulled in and she forgot that she was okay being by herself and screamed her head off. The other two horses ignored her and prompty chilled by their trailer.
She looks fine here. It's a trick.
"Gonna push that fly mask off the trailer, HAHA, now you have to pick it up. Serves you right for growling at me, mom"
At that point I was dreading getting on because the very nice, new in the past two years mounting block was on the dreaded RV side of my trailer. So around we went, and in gaps in camper departure traffic, I proceeded to yell at her to stand. We were a spectacle. But I did get on.
And away we went.
And proceeded to have issues with white paint on asphalt. For whatever reason, the path goes across a utility access road to the banquet facility at this park. It has the white lines painted on it to indicate pedestrian crossings. Gwyn thinks it will eat her, EVERY TIME (4 times so far, even returning)
But once you're past that it's a slight grade uphill to the trails.
I did the red loop first, which is mainly forest and swamp and immediately regretted not having bug spray for Gwyn or myself. I had a fly mask for her that she promptly shook off her head, so I just removed it completely as it was obviously a safety risk. I'll have to sell this one, it's too big for her noggin.
Lots of water. It had stormed the couple days previous so it wasn't unexpected.
The PERFECT jump. Not too big, set up like an oxer, on the uphill. I could have gone around... HAHAHAAH Like I'd go around and not over that. Gwyn didn't even hesitate.
You can tell Gwyn is happy. She loves this. She was a bit on edge the whole time and it didn't help that we nearly COLLIDED with a mountain biker.
Did I mention the horse trails and the mountain bike trails criss cross? You can see it in my map screen shots. The dotted line that google shows is the mountain bike loop. It does not have the horse loop.
There was quite a bit of downed trees, I was surprised.
Not jumpable. We did go around this one.
Gwyn was trying to drink out of the puddles.
We were both hot! It was sunny while we were out, which was ironic as the weather had initially called for thunderstorms.
Gwyn does not like the taste of puddle water.
I tried to get the mountain biker whizzing through. We had already crossed the intersection, which were ALL marked, don't get me wrong. I just don't think the bikers were actually SLOWING down for the trail crossing.
The part where we nearly collided is where the horses and bikes share a trail VERY briefly. If you ride the red loop counter clockwise, you share the trail head-on to the bikes (who have a unidirectional trail). I saw the overlap coming. We paused before stepping onto the trail, I didn't see or hear anything. Then we proceeded and ZOOM. A guy came around the bend and was apparently ready to just zip on by us.
I started shouting, "Hello?! HELLO! HEY!" Gwyn tucked her tail under and I felt her begin to spin, dude on the bike finally figured out that hey, maybe I should slow down (no FUCKING shit, asshole) and she 180'd back the other way. I sat deeply and grabbed mane. I turned her back and asked her to walk toward the bike. Her whole body was tense. The guy apologized and he went on his way, saying there was one more behind him. The one more came not long after and I kicked Gwyn into a trot to get the fuck away from the merged section before we died.
Every other bike encounter was less dramatic, but Gwyn was more charged up about it. Bikes were obviously out to get her.
So I think that's poor trail planning. *grumble*
Make faces time!
We tried another trail. Nope. Totally unpassable
We are right by that yellow E. Actually, now that I look at the map, the field loop we did was still part of red. It hadn't switched to yellow yet. Black trails are connecter trails. Gray was mountain biking.
So back out we went. And then I forgot that I promised Eric that I would only be gone 3 hrs max and decided to try some trails we hadn't done yet. It required significant boardwalk riding but I figured Gwyn could do it. And when I saw the minimal mileage it would add, I figured we could do the connected trails pretty quickly in a ground eating trot. Thank you endurance for making a mile or two seem like no big :D
Part of the lake looking toward the banquet facilities
Those herons were obviously out to get us. Gwyn was Totally Not Sure about them. But there were BABIES!
We took the new to us trail to the board walk. It's basically a really long bridge, it is part of the horse trails and the railings are nice and high so I felt pretty secure riding it. I didn't take pictures while on it, but I did take video!
She was very brave. On our way back we even trotted on it! She was much more confident the second time.
The trails out here are spectacular. I think this part of the park is a bit more natural grassland/prairie. And it had some natural fire control in the past that I could see. 10/10 would ride it again while not under a time crunch of a husband going "Oh hey, we're going to my moms for dinner, when were you planning on being back again?"
Making faces but looking sporty while you do it. She was sweaty while we were riding but was dry except for some spots under the saddle by the time I untacked. The temperature was perfect!
And then having a good roll afterward.
Enlarge to see the detail. This is a rough estimate of the total mileage because my phone STOPPED ENDOMONDO right before I hit that glorious field and the lovely cantering. I only realized it after I got off the boardwalk in the other part of the park. So I went through and did a rough estimate with the distance measurer. So that was about 6.5 miles total!
The first part
the second part.
I did figure out how to merge workouts in endomondo but it's missing a mile and a quarter because it doesn't know how i got from the last point to the first point of the second track. Eh. At least it's one entry now.