What trails remain are often very crowded on any given weekend. That makes sense, doesn't? More people who are desperate to ride, hike or bike along trails are forced to comingle on a shrinking selection of maintained pathways. At least there's a movement afoot (ahoof?) to make people more aware of the importance of maintaining our trails... and establishing new ones when possible. National Trails Day is this weekend, and it celebrates all that's good about keeping our connection to the outdoors. If you belong to a riding club or trails association, you might already have planned an activity for this weekend. If not, how about next year? You can read about National Trails Day on Horse Channel by clicking this link:
Know Your Trails... Before They're Gone
Granted, my love of trail riding doesn't go to the extreme of horse camping. When Marriott offers overnight stabling for my horse, then we can talk. Nor do I relish the thought of doing something really rugged, like scaling the Grand Tetons on horseback. But I am quite fond of recreational riding. I always have been, even when I was competing on the show circuit. In fact, I can think back to when we first moved to this area in 1980. My mother, sister and I could saddle up our horses, ride out the front gate and be lost in the hills-- sometimes literally-- for hours. Then slowly things changed. A hamlet of houses on a knoll behind our family's place was torn down and replaced by a major thoroughfare. Dynamite blasting signaled the development of the hillsides; country estate ranch homes were built. A golf course plopped itself down in the middle of a meadow where a seasonal stream once ran. The final blow came when a massive interstate freeway was carved through the center of town. The days of riding to the little vegetable stand that sold homegrown strawberries and corn on the cob were unceremoniously over.
I'm almost apologetic about admitting that we've adjusted to riding on manicured trails that wind through the neighborhoods. And I've accepted that if I want to ride along trails that are unencumbered by street signs and cement curbs I have to hitch up my trailer and haul Wally out of town. I guess that's the result of "progress."
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