Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Hike for the Dogs

My husband and I took the dogs for a hike at the trails I discovered while out geocaching.  I wanted to scope out the amount of activity there is on the weekends before bringing the horses there for a ride, figuring the weekend would be the worst case scenario.  Of course, I can ride on the weekdays, but no one is home to call if I have a problem and need help.  Sometimes a horse refuses to get in the trailer and I need a second person to assist who knows what they are doing.  I can always call 911 or a vet in an emergency, but I'm talking about needing family members available to help with the smaller problems.

As I showed in a previous post, the parking lot was filled with motorcyclists and ATVs.  There were tire tracks on every path.  It wasn't looking good for the horses, nor the dogs.  A shooting range was in the area and all the popping and banging from automatic rifles and guns was making Midge a nervous wreck.

Some motorcyclists in the parking lot saw our dogs and started cracking jokes about running over dogs intentionally... and they wonder why they have such a bad reputation around here.  These are most likely the same people who have been fighting the public on the newspaper website to get more land for their sport, because apparently the hundreds of acres they already haunt is not enough.  When the motor enthusiasts took over this one area where there was some open land, almost every ranch in that neighborhood went up for sale.  I think that's a pretty strong sign that this sport is an annoyance.

They built a motorcross track right next to the animal shelter, and some animal shelter volunteers opposed it, because the noise of the engines was scaring the dogs and cats.  Some motocross fanatic wrote a comment that the animals don't matter, and they'll just have to learn to live with it.  Say what?  I have no respect for the people who run my county, because they continually favor the noise makers over those who love nature, animals, peace and quiet.  Horses are being squeezed out and riding is more dangerous than ever.

I noticed that there were several horse ranches bordering this recreation area, but there wasn't a single horseback rider out using the trails.

I thought it was a shame that such a beautiful area had to be ruined with the sounds of engines and weapons, but I understand that it's better to have noisy activities out in the middle of undeveloped land rather than in towns and suburbs.

Could you imagine riding a horse up this hill and having a bunch of motorcycles come flying over the top from the opposite direction?  I was listening for motors around every bend, but a couple of drivers took me by surprise and I had to jump out of the way while reeling Scrappy in on his leash.

I saw a TV show called "When Vacations Attack" that night, and they showed a piece on a place in Southern California where there are sand dunes, and the ambulances come and go just about every half hour hauling off all the injured bodies from ATV, motorcycle and dune buggy accidents.  Groups that go out together are supposed to assign one person to be a spotter who stands on top of the sand dune and lets the riders know when it is clear.  Otherwise someone will come flying over the top of a sand dune and crash into someone else.

Isn't this picture of my husband and Midge cute?  They are both lifting up their right feet at the same time.

It was supposed to be sunny and warm this weekend, but some storm clouds started moving in, and it got really cold in the last leg of the hike back to the truck.

When we returned to the parking lot, a bunch of motorcyclists and ATV riders were blocking my truck. 

What was really weird was that all these hikers, joggers, bicyclists, and whatnot all arrived to the parking lot at the exact same time as us, so I had a lot of difficulty backing out.  They were loading up their vehicles on each side of me and wouldn't get out of my way even though I was obviously trying to back out of my parking space.  I felt like I was in our supermarket parking lot, only this was worse. 

This one jogger's dog was running around my truck off leash.  When she finally showed up to retrieve her dog, she jogged right up to the back of my truck while I was backing up.  She appeared out of nowhere and scared the bejeebies out of me.  I was diligently looking in every mirror and over my shoulder repeatedly, backing as slowly as possible while keeping an eye on her dog.

Then this ATV rider walked right into the side of my truck as I was attempting to drive off.  He didn't stop walking, so I gunned it to get out of his way.  He seemed really angry and I didn't want him to kick my truck or something.  He was cussing.  I think his ATV broke down and he was headed back to his truck to get some tools, and I was in his way.  I think I'll pass on riding the horses at this place.  There wasn't room for a horse trailer, there was too much noise, and there was way too much testosterone.


Fantastyk Voyager said...

Yeah, it sounds like the people around there are a little crazy. Definitely not horse friendly. It sure is beautiful though.

Mikey said...

Gah, people are SO RUDE. I can't believe they'd discuss running over a dog on purpose. I definitely wouldn't take a horse there!
What a difference it is, here and there. Every once in a while I ride an area that has good hills for motocross. The riders I've run into shut it down IMMEDIATELY, earning them a hearty thank you from us, even though the horses we were riding weren't spooked by such things. Courtesy goes a long ways. You just don't see enough of it these days. I wish you'd just move down here :)

Carol said...

What a stunningly beautiful area. Too bad about the rude people. I can't believe they'd make jokes about running over dogs :( Kind of sucks the joy out of the place.

Rising Rainbow said...

Some people can be so rude! That just sucks!

Laura said...

Wow - what a total disappointment that a beautiful place like that is essentially ruined by machines and rude people. Yuck. Definitely a no-go for horses. What a shame...

Dreaming said...

I will spare you the rant this time, since I spewed forth on the first post where you shared the pictures of the mechanized beasts.
We have a few folks in our neighborhood who bought ATV's, even though their are strict rules against them. For a few weeks one neighbor's kids would go around and around and around their house and barn. The sound was annoying, even though the parents wouldn't let them go fast. Someone must have said something (or gee, maybe it's because it is too dang cold) but we haven't heard them for a long time. The rule isn't just about the noise and or safety, it's about our fragile prairie land. It's tough to be a plant out here and months after a vehicle as driven on the land you can still see the tracks. Compaction of the soil from traffic, vehicular or foot, is one of the reasons why so many plants don't do well.

Judi said...

It sure is beautiful there. It is too bad it isn't suitable for riding. I can't believe that people can be so rude. It can really ruin a person's day.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

I guess I am very fortunate to live in an area that caters to everyone. There are several motorcross areas around us and as we have dirt bikes, we really enjoy going. Well, I should say, My Honey and the kiddo enjoy going. I haven't been on a dirtbike in years and am not particularly interested anymore. I'll stick to my 4-wheelers Thanks.

However, I do have access to thousands of acres that is strictly NON-motorized. Some areas have a lot of foot-traffic and/or bicyclists, but a lot do not.

Some of the areas I ride in do have shooting 'ranges' on them and I am very cautious about which direction I ride if I hear someone shooting. But the horses don't seem to mind if I keep my distance.

It's really sad that you seem to be surrounded by so many rude people. We don't have much of that around here (not that I've run into anyway). Most everyone seems intent on enjoying their own space/recreation, letting others enjoy theirs and are quite friendly when meeting up.

Hahahaha-I don't have much problem being even more rude than someone else though...I would have laid on my horn until those jerks behind me moved...and then just smiled and waved as I drove off.

achieve1dream said...

What awful people! And apparently the people who run your county are a bunch of loons! What the heck??

I have to agree with you about riding there. Probably not a good idea at all! I hope you can find someplace nice and quiet to trail ride in the summer.

Ms Martyr said...

I wonder if the influx of newcomers doesn't add to the rudeness problem. People don't seem to care about property they don't have a history with. So many seem to have a sense of entitlement and feel that they're showing weakness if courtesy is extended.
I've seen asshats intentionally run over goslings as they're following their mother across a road.

Maery Rose said...

Their behavior is mystifying. I'm not crazy about the whiny bikes and 4 wheelers but I've never run into anyone that is purposely rude or threatening. Even in shared usage parks, the trails are still divided between walking, horseback riding, and bike riding. They may be right next to each other but there's no chance of running into each other unless someone uses the wrong trail. And motorized vehicles are on very separate trails, not only to protect horseback riders but hikers too. Someone needs to get some common sense and make sure everyone can get out and enjoy themselves without getting killed. And maybe some classes in manners would be appropriate and some patrols to enforce.

achieve1dream said...

Thanks for voting for Jackal!!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I would pass, too. I wouldn't hike in that area either. Sounds way too noisy and all the nature and wildlife has probably run off into the hills and mountains to escape the chaos.

The photos of Scrappy, Midge and your hubby sure are cute, though.