Monday, August 12, 2013

Harley puts on a brave face

We had gorgeous weather this weekend with low humidity, cool breezes and a temperature in the low 80's. Who could ask for anything better in August, especially after Friday's deluge. Saturday morning saw me up and at the barn by 8:00 planning my ride. I so enjoyed our "new trail" down in the Orris Falls Preserve that I decided to go ride it again, but in reverse.

Saturday also featured an MS "Ride for the Cure" bicycle ride. The cyclists had to ride up Thurrell Rd. and then enjoyed a downhill coast the other way. Of course this meant the road was full of cyclists going past the barn.  I thought this might be a nice challenge for Harley--turkeys, lots of bicycles, and a solo ride!

This trail has such marvelous footing and I love they way it winds through the trees, past stone walls, and even an ancient cemetery. I think it may be part of the original settlement when the Littlefields farmed this area. When riding through copses early or late in the day, I'm always on the watch for deer that may be hiding among the trees. I think Harley expects it too, judging by the alert ears!

This is the old cemetery with a few old broken stones tipping to the side. a couple of stakes and pole branches demarcate the edges to keep people (and horses) from treading through the site. There's a sign placed down by the brook that shows the layout of the Littlefield settlement. One of these days, when I can get Harley close enough to the sign, I may get a chance to read it! Or I may just have to get off and sidle up closer acting as the buffer between Harley and the scary sign!
I planned to ride home the trail through the Savage's property, but discovered another "new trail" worth exploring. How is it we've missed these? In the winter, we tried riding down one, but it seemed to peter out. Maybe we didn't realize we had wandered off the trail and thought it was just some dead end old logging cut?

At any rate, it proved to be an interesting little jaunt that takes one right down beside the beaver pond--so close you can hear the water rushing over the dam after our big storm on Friday. Harley was doing fine until he came to a quaggy spot with a channel of running water. He thought it was a bog and backed up refusing to go forward. Remember, we have had our moments in the mud! I had to finally dismount and lead him over the muck. But like the good boy he is, he stood still while I clambered back on from a rather slippery stump!

On Sunday, I took John on the same route so he could see the "2nd New Trail" we found. Harley was happy for a jaunt with his Rolex Girl leading the way. But I made him go out front a few times, especially when we had to cross the quaggy spot. He slogged through like a good boy, with little to no hesitation this time.  But when we reached the pond above the falls, John suggested I ride out there for a photo shoot--uh, uh. He was having no part of that when Rolex was on the other side, off in the woods!  He can be a dithering wreck if asked to part ways with his trail pal. And although we work on this, he can be quite the stubborn guy!

Once Rolex joined us at the water, he obligingly waded in and stopped for a big drink. As long as Rolex waited, he would be a good trail horse and slurp up some water. John was able to snap off some shots of a now relaxed Harley quenching his thirst.

John continued carrying the camera and got a quick shot of Rolex on the trail bordering the falls. She and Harley both look askance at the chasm when they pass here. John was trying to do a little trail maintenance with his loppers on this ride, cutting away overhead branches that continually smack us in the face. Rolex is pretty good about standing still, but I think the biting bugs were making both of them a little crazy when asked to "whoa". I think the bugs are always the worst in the deep hemlocks, especially near the water.

Rolex leading the way by Orris Falls chasm

It was another lovely cool evening once the sun went down. Everyone was happy to be outside after sunset, even the little grey tree frogs who seem to enjoy life at the barn. I keep seeing this guy (of one of many) sitting along the fence with his or her little bum tucked into the fence post hole. I love the way they tuck their front legs in too. I think the camera flash blinded this little guy for a moment.  And what did I find in Harley's outdoor feed bucket this morning? Yup, a little grey tree frog!

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