In which Fiddle and I go around obstacles and head for the Hill

Blue sky! In February! I'm not scheduled to work until 4pm, there's plenty of time to ride before I have to leave!

I saddled (and booted) up Fiddle and off we went. We have done part of this route before, but got stuck when we hit a Wall O' Brambles. There's a limit to the amount of bushwacking you can do when the blackberry vines are up to your shoulders.

But, with winter still in full force around us (except for the sky! which is blue! in February!) there's a chance that the Bramble Forest has died back a bit. So, off we went, down the road.

Not far from us, somebody has built a McMansion. The thing is gigantic--4 car garage attached to the house, plus a three-bay outbuilding. I am so glad I'm not paying the heating bills on this sucker.

And (this always cracks me up) they paid gazillions of dollars to build the house, but left the barn in the front yard falling down. Maybe once you get inside the house it's so pretty that you never look out the window? Doesn't make sense to me.

About a quarter-mile past the McMansion, one of the neighbors is raising Highland Cattle. The fence between these cows and the road is two strands of hotwire, so yeah: I expect to see them wandering down our street someday. With all that shaggy fur, two strands of hotwire isn't even as irritating as a yellowjacket sting, and they'll walk right through it if they decide the food on the far side looks interesting! Ah, well. That is (hopefully) an adventure for another day.

Up the powerline road we went, until we got to the First Obstacle:
Not only is the gate locked, but also, one of the bovine occupants of this little pasture is not a cow. He is something else...something much larger. Something adverse to sharing his lovely lady cows with me and my mare.
Fiddle and I followed our new path waaaaaaaay around Mr Bull's Land of Love, waded through the Bramble Forest (which was knee-deep--prickly but not impassable anymore!) and emerged back on the Powerline Road (which is a two-track path of mud, by which the power company accesses the big overhead towers)!
We trotted happily for a quarter-mile, until we came to a new obstacle:
You probably can't see unless you enlarge the photo, but the chain-link is missing from most of the end panels on each side. Also, it's just propped on two posts--no hinge, no latch.
I dragged it out of the way. It took both hands to drag this floppy thing, so Fiddle took a snack break.

Notice that she isn't tied to anything except the food. Also, the leadline is under her feet. I don't worry about her stepping on the line and fruckin' out, because she's hobbled-trained and we have practiced this maneuver frequently. It's not a good idea to do this on the trail unless you know that a.) your horse won't flip out if she stands on her lead, or b.) you know that your horse is such a greedy piglet that nothing shy of an elephant stampede will convince her to leave a bunch of green grass.
Ebey Mountain Road has recently been graded. Hmmmm. That's interesting. Who would grade a non-county gravel road in the winter? Most road work is done in the spring or fall, when the roadbed isn't soggy.
Ahhhhhhh. If I don't miss my guess, this landscape was designed either by a herd of rampaging beavers or by a lumber company. And since the road was recently graded, somebody was probably expecting trucks. And since beavers aren't eligible for a commercial driving license in the Swamplands...
...I guess the beavers are off the hook, huh?

As an environtmental Lorax-wonk, I deplore the practice of clear-cut logging. It degrades habitat, destroys wildlife, and causes gigantic amounts of erosion.

As a trail rider, I know that a lot of the pathways I ride are/were logging roads. No logging = no logging roads. Sigh.

I figure this sign must be a joke:
No Trespassing: no hunting or fishing access from here. Prohibited by law!

Yeah, whatever. I was passed on the road by two rigs full of hunters. Also, this is a state road--not subject to "no trespassing" notices. Somebody figured they'd keep the traffic down by posting the sign, apparently. Everybody ignores it. I ignored it. Fiddle looked at it, then she remembered that she can't read, so she ignored it after that.

Further up the road:
This is such a pretty little farmstead. Very sweet and tidy.

On the opposite side of the road:
Geez, guys, why not spray-paint a sign reading:
"Brother Bubba's Old Fashioned Meth Lab and Pot Plantation
Pitbull pups for sale or trade"
Cuz I'm tellin' ya: the tarps tacked to the trees aren't foolin' anybody.
We were running out of time for our little jaunt, so this was the turn-around spot:
a junction! I will return soon to take the road less travelled.

I did take my GPS with me on the journey, but I think I erased the track before I could report on what we did. Jim is pretty sure he can retrieve the data...but I don't know. When I goof up a gadget, I usually do a thorough job of it.

Stay tuned.


  1. It's so GREEN! And there's huge enormous trees everywhere! (Well, everywhere that didn't get clearcut.) Beautiful ride - thank you for sharing it.

    wv- khable: a table for a Mongolian warlord. Or maybe a morality story for a Mongolian warlord?

  2. FUNDER: It's pretty isn't it? This isn't actually our greenest season--that would be Spring. Just wait: much more greenness on the way!

    Here's the stats from today's ride:
    Trip odometer: 6.73 miles
    Moving Time: 1hour, 34 mins
    Stopped Time: 29.13 mins that's when I was tangling with brambles and gates and stuff

    Max Speed: 14.8mph uh...that was a medium trot up a gradual incline. eeek.

    Moving average: 4.3mph
    Overall average: 3.3mph

    Tomorrow I hope to go riding at the Tree Farm where we can do a little speed work without worrying about neighbor dogs and logging trucks. Knock wood. Let's see if I can work the GPS two days in a row....!

  3. Well?? Did you get a ride in today????!

    Is that max speed for real, or was the GPS confused? Sometimes mine thinks I'm going much faster uphill - I think it gets confused when there's elevation changes.

  4. Hey Funder: I just uploaded waypoints from the wrist-top GPS from today's ride, and it's convinced that I rode my horse from home to a small island off the coast of Ghana and back again.

    Don't you love technology?

  5. I bet you did it at a very impressive rate of speed!

    My iPhone has been kind of confused ever since I dropped it in the barn driveway overnight. If I turn on the GPS, it keeps bouncing around ~near~ where I am, plus or minus 50 miles. I am being very careful with the Garmin!


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