10.28.2014

kickapoo adventure, take two

Tick tock, tick tock...trail closing dates are rapidly approaching. We had high hopes of getting back out on the trail at least one more time this year. There is so much peacefulness to be felt in the woods, it's were everything feels right. The perfect mix of appreciation, contentment, and unknown challenges mesh together to make a person feel alive, fulfilled, and very thankful to be living in the moment. 

Warmer then usual Fall weekend weather gave us first a day to work on nagging chores, then a day to set undone ones aside and enjoy life to it's fullest. We headed out for another Kickapoo Adventure, take two. 

There are so many options to explore with 8, 569 acres, you just have to choose somewhere to begin familiarizing yourself with what the area offers. We welcomed the sight of a couple other horse trailers parked along a wide grassy strip on Cut-off Road. It was close to the trails we planned on riding, providing easy on/off. We decided it would be a great place to start!

We crossed the gravel road, and headed up a grassy hill to begin our ride on the Cut-off Trail...






...weaving up and around....







...you'll notice Fall colors have muted. The leaves have dried and turned into rusty hues. At this time of year most tree's are bare, except for the evergreens. We head into the start of the pines...







 ...with in a short time we were overlooking the reserve, with a spectacular view...






We rounded the corner and found ourselves riding high along an open hillside where we came across our first challenge, or better said our first challenge came across us. A large buck had crossed the road down below, and was bounding up the path towards us, the one we were on...there wasn't much we could do perched on a hillside, but stand still until the buck saw us. So pretty to watch, and thankful the majestic buck eventually chose a path less traveled.

There are many wonderful peaks and valleys, along with sections that have scrappy trees growing in mass. Rock outcroppings treasures are tucked away, similar to what you see on the left of the photo below...





...in certain areas they appear with more frequency. We love rock outcroppings! They get bigger, and smaller, and sometimes you ride right next to them...





...these cute little guys were tucked inside one of the rock crevices. They welcomed us along the trail. I swear I heard them say, howdy! While I prefer mother nature do the decorating, it was funny. They were tactfully placed, and only a few inches high...





...we rode across a boardwalk that helps riders stay out of swampy ground. Shortly after maneuvering a small muddy water crossing, we entered a magical section of larger pines...sigh. I got lost in the moment, it was sooo gorgeous and surreal...light was filtered between the majestic trees and onto the soft amber pine needle carpet. You just can't capture it, so instead you soak it in. We began to head out and onto other terrain...






...at least four times throughout our ride, we crossed small water creeks. The boys were hesitant, and my hubby found it a bit frustrating. We've done a fair amount of water crossing with them, they should be used to it by now. Our horses are thinkers, and each water crossing presents unique footing. Most of them have muddy approaches. Some horses just plod right through water and mud, and some don't. It doesn't bother me, as long they eventually cross the water. For whatever reason, Nemo always seems to be asked to test the water first. Of course that makes it easier for us to cross, once Koda can see that Nemo didn't get swallowed...




...earlier in the ride we had turned off the Cut-off Trail, and onto Hoot Owl Trail. Both were so pretty and diverse trails, with hardly any rocky ground. To make a loop you do have to cross or ride a short time along the ditch of a couple roads. But it wasn't for long, and the roads were not busy. 

We maneuvered over and under many things, including a dead raccoon that was laying across the path nestled in the leaves. Before I saw it the boys walked right over it, or on it, not sure. No photos of that not so lovely sight. I made sure to walk around it on the way back, that was disgusting. Instead I focused on the trees...







...eventually we headed back down to the trailer...





...where Nemo uncharacteristically took issue with one of the trailers parked in front of ours. There was an odd sound coming from across the valley, and a hiker, but still we had walked past the same trailer on the way out. It was an unexpected challenge for Brad, that Nemo eventually got over. 

The sky had turned cloudy, and when we started untacked it began to sprinkle. We made the drive back to the barn, and eventually towards home. My new app came in handy, and clocked our trail ride around 3.5 hours and close to 10 miles...




...I reeeally loved these new trails we rode!! They had the right mix of everything, without being so risky. This might be our last trail ride of the year, most trails close November 15. If weather and schedules allow, we will go exploring again. It makes my heart sing.

5 comments:

Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like a wonderful ride. Such beautiful scenery to pass through. Hope you get one more in before the 15th.

Shirley said...

Really nice place to ride! I love your description in the first paragraph:
"The perfect mix of appreciation, contentment, and unknown challenges mesh together to make a person feel alive, fulfilled, and very thankful to be living in the moment."
Exactly how I feel when I am lucky enough to hit the trails.

C-ingspots said...

Oh Aurora, I'm so jealous I'm positively green!!! Your trails look so welcoming...and dry. Ours are already super muddy, wet and slick because our terrain is steep. And in the middle part of the state, because of out of state management, they close the campgrounds in September; which is just ridiculous! To us, it seems like everything comes to a screeching halt when kids return to school! Burns me up because not everyone's lives revolve around the school schedule. Grrrr!!! Major pet peeve for me. Sorry to vent. Told you I was jealous. :) But, I am super happy for you!!

fernvalley01 said...

well that just tears it , I am coming to hang out with you for a while ! Lovely area! Would love to ride there

aurora said...

Thanks Grey Horse! I'll be sure to share if we do manage to take in another ride.

It's nice to have others who can relate to the feeling that trail riding offers. Many just don't get it, unless you've been there and are open to it. Shirley, I truly hope you get that special feeling again soon.

Closing all campgrounds in September does seem absurd Lorie! I feel your pain. I can understand that usage would decrease, but at least some should stay open longer. In WI, Fall is the prime season to enjoy anything outdoors. Heat, humidity, bugs etc are less or none existent, and snow hasn't arrived. In part, our closing dates are based on deer gun season. Hunting is allowed at most of the places. Followed by inclement wet snowy weather. Many trails are steep, they wouldn't be safe and get ruined.

Sherry, I would love to share trail rides with you - that would be so fun!!