What a great day for a ride! The weather was not too cold or too hot. When I pulled into the trailhead with Quia, there were four horse trailers already there. Wow, I thought, we’re going to have a good ride today! Alas, they were not going on the STA ride. I then wondered if this was going to be my second “ride of one”. But…I was not disappointed because Maria M. came in with Trovi so it made my first “ride of two” official STA event!
Ron T., my husband, Frank, and I had spent 3.5 hours on October 12 doing much needed maintenance on the Orange Trail to remove downed trees and trimming the sides of the trail to remove brush. We decided to take it because it would be clear. The woods were pretty quiet as we rode along but we chatted a lot and I gave Maria some history on how the trail came to be and some of the interesting things we learned while establishing it. After we had ridden for quite a while, we came upon a hunter who popped out on the road in front of us. We had an opportunity to talk with him briefly and expressed that we hoped we had not ruined his hunt. He said “no” that he was leaving but his truck was parked in the road a ways down and he hoped we wouldn’t have any problem getting around it. We said it wouldn’t be a problem and asked his name. We then explained to Ryan that we have marked trails in the area and if he is interested in knowing where they are, we have trail maps at the Rivers Road Trailhead. He was unsure where that was as he entered the forest off of Spring Hill Road, so we explained how to get to Rivers Road and find the trailhead. We then went on our way and maneuvered around his truck to continue our ride. I showed Maria where we had put in a by-pass trail years ago because a hurricane came through and blew over a LOT of sand pines on our trail making it impossible to traverse the area. We continued on the trail and when we reached the point where the bypass would bring you back to the trail, I pointed that out to Maria, and we discussed how the Spring Hill blue trail out of FR 362 has a long and short route. We decided to bring this up at the next board meeting to see if it would be feasible to restore the bypass route so that riders who may have a problem or want a shorter ride could get back to the trailhead faster. The rest of the ride was quiet, and we chatted more about our own histories with horses and our lives. When we arrived back at the trailhead, three of the other riders were just coming back so we talked with them for a few minutes. All in all, it was a really good 2.5-hour ride!