Endurance develops strength of character in us~ Romans 5:4 NLT

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Wabash Trace - Mineola to Council Bluffs~

It's another sunshine day!  In the 70's - in February!  I'd had a plan in my mind for a while now...  I wanted to ride the Wabash Trace Nature Trail!  I made calls, looked at the published map & could not find where horses could enter the trail - besides the top/north end at Council Bluffs. 
Bike Parking at Mineola~
We knew there was a large parking area at Mineola - it's close to where Farah is stabled.  Butch agreed to drop us off there - then head up to the trail-head at Council Bluffs to pick us up!  Both Farah & I love point-to-point rides & it had been a very long time!
Picnic area too!
Since we hadn't pre-ridden the trail with our bikes, I had no idea what we'd encounter on our ride.  (Later Butch told me he'd had to back up the drive to get the truck & trailer out.)
The signage made it more than obvious that horses were not welcome here.  We both wondered why this is?  I hope to find out.  Regardless, Farah & I have ridden the length of the Centennial Trail - through towns where horses were not allowed - yet made friends along the way & did no damage.  As the Chairman of the Centennial Trail Coalition, I worked to keep Equestrians Right-To-Ride in the public eye.  I knew horses were allowed on the section near Council Bluffs, so hoped to find the parking area that made that possible.
On our way!
It was a exciting challenge for the two of us!  Farah moved right into a trot & her speed just kept going up!  :-)  It has been since our last ride in WA that she's been able to move out!  I know that she knew right away that this would be a one-way ride :-)
The first bridge~
When I saw this from a distance - my first thought was that it had steel grating...  That would not have been fun - but Farah wasn't shod - so that would have helped the steel on steel that we'd experienced one day near Arlington, WA!  We were in luck!  It was gray wood decking!
Water flowing below - I think Keg Creek~
 The trail was making a big bend to the north.  Soon, there were trees on both sides - it was just beautiful & reminded me very much of a section of the Whitehorse Trail that we used to ride often.
These views, this time of year, are all shades of gold & browns.  Not the lush greens that we'd already be seeing where we're from!  As we rode along, I wondered when the first flush of green starts appearing here.
Cowboy Pass?
We came to the above pass!  A Cowboy Pass where no horses are allowed?
At just under 2-miles - Our first of six road crossings - Applewood Ave.~
Here I was really hoping to see some sign of another trail-head, but there was none.  We were also looking for anything that looked like a horse trail!
Resting spot~
There were several benches placed along the trail, some in perfect spots to sit & enjoy the day.
Flag flying!
Farther up & we could see the American Flag flying from quite a distance off!
Bike nirvana!
Wow!  What would horsemen do to have a nice place like this along the trail!  Ton's of parking for bikes, covered picnic area & trash container that was overflowing.  Just across the way was a private residence & a historical marker.  A town that lived off the commerce of the rail line.
Dumfries - April 26, 1895 - October 7, 1931
From here we continued on - still searching for the illusive horse trail!
On we go~
It was So quiet out - no roads, no traffic noise, just the sound of the breeze in the trees & the birds chirping.  We were both having a wonderful time!
Just about 4-mules - Dumfries Underpass~
I didn't see any traffic on the road above.  Farah marched in & we were through & moving forward.
Mileage Markers~
Plentiful mileage markers - almost every quarter mile.  It was just shortly after this that we found the horse trail off to one side!
On the horse trail!
Farah recognizes a real trail when she see's one & she saw it almost before I did!  It was oh so nice to be on one!
The next bridge!
The trail would weave from one side of the main line to the other.  We usually knew when we were  coming to a bridge, as the trail would go up, or down - to it.
Out in nowhere~
 This was the most remote section of the trail & it was stunning.  You almost felt like you were out in a wilderness area.
Main Trail below~
We loved the hills!  Farah - the hill machine - hasn't had any opportunity to put her skill to use.  Here she bounded up - but I'd have to ask her to slow as we approached the top - not knowing what would be on the far side of the crest.
Needs work~
This section was a bit tricky, the ground was wet & slippery, the downhill side was steeper than it looks here & at the bottom was a grizzly wire fence that had been knocked over.   On long stretches of the trail there would be barbed wire along side.
Pretty all the way~
It was such an amazing day - we hadn't seen a soul the entire way.  One spook over a black squirrel - but otherwise we were both enjoying ourselves a lot!
This windmill was on the far side of the fence from the trail, but it was spinning rapidly in the breeze.  That wasn't a problem, but I think Mark should incorporate one of these in his Trail Course!
The shadow~
It was the shadow!  I tried to get a video - but I was too busy :-)  The shadow of the blades whipping around right on the trail was something neither of us had ever seen & Farah really thought that it might get her!  :-)
At your own risk~
There were a couple times when I really hoped that the bridges were strong enough to support the weight of a horse!  This sign did nothing to improve my confidence. :-)
The longest bridge~
The decking here was almost new & in great shape!  The last of the seven bridges we crossed.  I never dreamed there would be so many.
The final underpass~
Butch had called to see how we were doing & warned me about this tunnel.  It was low!  So low that another inch & the top of my helmet would have been hitting the top!  I should have gotten off - but didn't.  We cruised right through.
Late afternoon~
It was getting later in the afternoon & we both knew from the noise of the traffic on the road - that we were getting close.  There were two large trees blow over across the trail, but we made it around.  This would be a good place to do some trail clearing & cleanup too.
We find Butch & Nika!
These two had walked several miles of the trail - but agreed to come out again to meet us!  Nika was pretty surprised, but Farah had things figured out!  We put the hitching post at the Tastee Treat to good use & sat up at the picnic table to enjoy two absolutely yummy shakes!
End of the Trail~
Finally, we walked the final few yards to the end - or beginning of the trail - depending on which way you're heading!  At just ten-miles - it was a really great ride!   Farah was not surprised to see her trailer waiting.  We took her back to her stable, I spent an hour grooming her - she's finally losing a few hairs from her winter coat.  Then - on to the car wash - to clean the truck & trailer.  This is an event almost every time we take them out.  Lots of road grime from going on the gravel roads!

Now, I have a new focus - trying to find a way that Equestrians can share this trail.  Many horsemen have mentioned that it's scary when the bikes are out in numbers.  On this ride, the two we saw near town didn't make a sound as they flew by.  The signage says that the bikes are to yield to everyone - but does that ever happen? 

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