National Forest lands on the USA are an incredible treasure to be enjoyed by all. Finding flat, dry open areas to park the van for a few days is not always an easy task but we located this beautiful area at a trailhead. The area is commonly used for horseback riding but we wanted to take the bikes out and see what fun we could get into. The region is ripe with trails and backroads that zigzag around. I put together an 8 mile route from the van. It should take us a couple of hours max, or so I thought.
There are no maps at the entrance and other than the GPS maps we had created on Ride with GPS, we really had no idea as to what to expect.
Starting out from the van we headed directly into the forest on the well used horse trail. It was pretty rough with a lot of rocks and roots. Sunlight filtered through the dense trees dotting the ground with spots of light.
We opted to move over to a double track old roadbed that was smoother and clear of the big rocks and muddy areas. This was much more fun and I would have to say I prefer the double track over the single.
We were not the only creatures out on the trails today. Snakes and turtles were sunning themselves, warming up in the sunshine.
The trail took us to a creek bottom. We had suspected there would be flowing water or at least we had hoped there would be. It was pretty warm now and the ride down took us a lot longer than expected. So far the trail was pretty easy to navigate. We had to venture off the double track since it forked; one fork dead ending and the other leading to very strongly marked Private Property. We were now back on the single track trail.
Living out of the van we have to adapt and learn new ways of doing things. The journey through the Americas on the bikes prepped us for many of these things so washing our hair and rinsing off in the stream was not all that unusual for us.
The route that I had mapped degraded and we found ourselves on some overgrown areas with thick grasses.
We had to bushwack our way through some of the area. The butterflies were happy with the flowers growing among the grasses.
Well, the one downfall of the tall grasses was what seemed to be a tick infestation. This was horrible and by the time we made our way back to the double track, adding about 2 miles to our route since the one I had mapped was totally impassable and we had to improvise, we were literally covered in ticks. Yes, ticks…AUGH! I hate ticks, tasty little blood sucking creatures. There are critters that I really have to remember to ask the Good Lord, “Why?” and ticks are one of them. It’s not like they are a food source for anything. They are vile, nasty little pesks.
It took us hours, yes hours to traverse the 10-1/2 miles through a portion of the trails. We made our way back to the roadbed where we stopped to brush off literally hundreds of ticks from our clothing. We spent at least 15 minutes doing so. When we got back to the van we had to use some Dawn dish detergent and cotton balls to remove a few that had already imbedded. The bigger ones were easier to feel as the latched on, we could also feel them crawling easier. It was the little ones, the seed ticks that were the hard ones to find. We ended up removing a dozen or so that found there way to us un-noticed.
Blood sucking nasties, the tick unfestation of this region was horrible but the trails are ones that we would like to return to and explore further.
By the time we got back to the van it was after 3PM, the 10 miles had taken us well past lunch time and when we got back we were both starving. We have learned that scrambled eggs with black beans makes a very fast and hearty meal. Add in a number of tortillas and voile we fill our bellies.
Life is good, even when the bugs are bad.