Today seemed like a good day to start exploring, so I saddled up Fiddle and headed down the road to look for trail access points.
Hana promised to wait patiently.
Hana has finally accepted that, sometimes, Fiddle and I leave. So far we've always come back to her, and in the meantime, she has her goat-ish entourage. She really does enjoy their company.
About a mile from the house is access to overhead powerlines. There's a gate across the road, but some freethinker had cut a little path next to the gate. Wide enough for a horse? Yes, just barely.
Then, up the powerline road!
The powerline road runs about 1,000 yards above the regular road, and from the higher vantage point I can see the hills on the other side of our valley.
Hmmm, looks like they've done some logging over there. The little "divot" in the hill at the center of the photo shows where a bunch of trees aren't.
I don't particularly like the practice of clearcut logging, but there's no denying that where there are logging trucks, there are ROADS, and where there are logging roads, I can ride. I will definitely explore that area at a later date.
The utility company has done a lot of work here recently.
Several of the poles are new, and there were tracks from numerous heavy trucks and bulldozers on the road. They'd gravelled over a swampy bit, and sprayed the side of the road with some kind of defoliant...
We made steady, happy progress eastward on the powerline road until we came to an Obstacle.
Not only is the gate locked, but also, the pasture contains some Unfriendly Types.
Well, if you can't go through it, and you can't go over it, and you can't go under it, there's always the option to go around it. So that's what we did.
Ummm, a little of that chemical defoliant would have been handy. Instead, I cut down blackberry vines with my trusty clippers, and stomped them down with my feet. Fiddle is very good about waiting patiently for me to create a trail. She contributes to the effort by eating everything she can reach from where she was "tied".
There isn't a tree handy to where I wanted to park her, so I looped the line over a particularly sturdy blackberry branch and told her stand and wait, which she did. Gooooooooood girl!
My bypass trail had clearly been used by people in the past. I found lots of beer cans under all those blackberry branches--paper trash might blow into the woods, but beer cans tend to stay where people throw them. I've often thought that we should use them for trail markers, since even the elk won't eat them.
Tacky to look at, true, but plentiful and indestructible.
I bushwacked a goodly stretch of a bypass trail before I decided to give up for the day.
Note to self: next time, wear jeans...and maybe cast-iron gloves....
I'll be back, though. I want to see those trails!
When I got home, I gave Fiddle a bath. She was thrilled.
Okay, not really. I wish I'd gotten a photo of her dustbath, it was quite spectacular. Hana was just glad to have her friend back in the pasture again.
The goats were glad to see ME...and did I happen to bring them any apples? Why yes, I did bring apples. Hana and Fiddle eat apples in a bite or two, but the goats turn them into applesauce with their delicate nibbles. Someday their heads will be bigger, so they can take bigger bites. I'm pretty sure they're looking forward to that.