Now, hiking on trails that are for horses and hikers is problematic. Horses do a tremendous lot of damage to trails. You would have to hike such trails to know what I'm talking about. They are huge, heavy creatures who walk on their toenails, so they really dig into the earth and break it up, causing trails to become mudpits and creating truly nasty erosion.
And it's not the horses that bother me. I like horses. Amazing critters. And it's not horse poop that gets on my nerves. Hell...it's barely digested grass and plant matter. It doesn't bother me.
What does bother me is the combination of the trail damage...and the assholes who ride the horses. Most of the people who get outdoors by way of horses are, by and large, jerks. They are loud, obnoxious, rude, often bellicose, and just pretty much a lot of self-centered assholes. As I discovered when I did this hike in the Mount Rogers Recreation Area so that I could bag three summits that had been on my list for years.
That day I encountered a LOT of groups of horseback riders. In fact, I didn't see any other hikers or backpackers, but scores of horseback riders, all moving along in various parties. They were all...except for one group right at the end of my hike...a pile of total freaking assholes. A lot of them were carrying firearms. A couple of them went out of their way to let me know it. I hope never to bump into these kinds of scumbags on the trails again.
|One trail was so damaged that the Forest Service had to put up this warming sign.|
|I couldn't hike through this shit. I tried and sank in almost to my knees. Once I got out I found the only way to proceed was to bushwhack through the forest. I spent about a mile each way doing this.|
I bag the peaks.