Sunday, September 6, 2009

More trail exploration

Scouting out the trails with the dogs

Yesterday Michael and I took the dogs and scouted out the trails near the barn some more, starting with where we'd left off last time. And this time I remembered to take pictures!

Last time we had turned around near a park, so we just parked out car in the park's parking lot and walked up to the trail from there. Here we are facing as of yet unexplored territory:

Exploring a horseback riding trail with the dogs

And looking behind us:

Exploring Denver horse trails with the dogs

As you can see, the trail here is very wide with lots of vegetation and partial shade. It's a lovely stretch of trail and I think Panama and I will enjoy riding it very much.

About half a mile from the park where we started, the main trail curves to the left, while another trail branches off to the right and crosses under a fairly main road. The trail to the left has a minor water crossing for the horses, with a bridge for cyclists and joggers:

Denver's High Line Canal trail

But this time I was more interested in checking out the right fork, to see how scary the tunnel was. First, though, there was a long, narrow concrete bridge to cross the canal:

The Big Dry Creek trail where it branches off of the High Line Canal trail

I'd definitely be dismounting and leading Panama across that the first few times. There's a decent drop on either side of the bridge to the canal bed (no water in it right now).

On the other side of the bridge is a steep wooden bank down to the path, which is concrete — another reason to lead Panama the first few times. If he trots down the wooden part, which is he likely to do, he'll slip when he gets to the concrete.

Here is the wooden part as seen from the bottom, going back across the bridge on our way back:

Bridge on a horse trail in Denver

Anyway, after the bridge is the Dreaded Under Street Crossing I've heard so much about from my friends who live in the area:

Big Dry Creek trail under-street crossing

It's also narrow and long, and it does have those anti-pigeon nesting boxes on the wall above your head that make some soft, but strange, sounds. The roof isn't very high, either, so on the whole I'll bet it will feel pretty claustrophobic to a horse.

After you emerge from the tunnel, the trail is pretty, albeit a bit narrower...

Big Dry Creek trail

...but it's not very far to the next tunnel.

Big Dry Creek trail under-street crossing

We turned around at that point and headed back to the car. Next time I want to take the left fork and explore the main trail a bit. I'll definitely be taking Panama that way first — the bridge and the tunnel aren't impassable, but I want him to have a little more experience on the trail before we attempt those obstacles.

High Line Canal trail at Big Dry Creek



At September 6, 2009 at 3:49 PM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Looks like a great place to train for trails. Once Panama gets past all of that, he should be a pretty steady trail horse. It looks like he'll have to get used to joggers approaching quickly from ahead and behind too.

At September 9, 2009 at 11:33 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

NM, we've already dealt a little with joggers on the trail. He isn't alarmed by them, but he does want to pick up a trot, too, when they pass us. ;o)

There's a nice uneventful stretch of trail before we get to any of this, though -- it should provide plenty of time to get him over joggers, dogs, and cyclists before we have to deal with the big scary stuff such as tunnels and bridges. (He's done both before, by the way, but it's been more than a year and we were always with at least one other horse and rider then.)


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