Hike Distance: 8.2 miles Yearly Hike Distance: 1819.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 684 feet Yearly Elevation Gain: 234789 feet
So this started out as one of our typical forest road hikes and then turned into an interesting set of circumstances. Let me start by saying that it was a fairly nice day, if not a bit cool, but at least no rain in the forecast. This was also one of our typical areas to hike, with the opportunity to go down a new road that we haven’t explored before.
Getting back to the interesting parts of the hike. We were walking along the road and saw a white horse in the distance. It just stood there and watched us. When we looked off to the side there were two more brown horses also watching us. At first they started to approach but then stopped and watched. Where did these horses come from and why are they here? We obviously never found out but suspected they “escaped” from some private residence/farm?
They got out of the way as we approached and we continued on our way. As we walked along we were weary as to whether we were on private land, but didn’t know it. So, we turned around and headed back the way we came. On the way back the horses were still browsing but this time fled from us. Interesting that they ran as we did nothing to scare or provoke them?
Heading back toward the main road we took a turn onto a new road. A fence on one side of the road had a sign indicating private property, but the road skirted past it. We continued on and reached a newly graveled road that went through a beautifully treed area. We kept walking and soon came to some logging equipment and started wondering if we were again on private land. We always respect private land but nothing here was signed or indicated private property. Well, going just a bit further we saw a trailer and decided to turn around.
We completed our hike but I was curious to see if we had unknowingly trespassed. I have just purchased a one year subscription to an android app called “onX Hunt” as it provides extremely detailed boundaries for all private and public lands. I’m not a hunter but this app can be very useful when roaming public lands and being able to identify private lands.
I hadn’t yet started using it in offline mode as of this hike, and I lacked and service to download the boundaries, and I did try during the hike. It turns out that the horses must have roamed off their property and ended up here! The owner(s) of these horses might be a bit worried about them but we have no way of knowing where they came from. 😦
Concerning the other road we walked down, we had clearly gone through private land, and I feel bad about it. (We actually were on two different properties and didn’t know it!) For one, I don’t want to be shot while trespassing. Secondly, I respect private owners and only bring the topic up on my blog so that people are aware of this possibility! I will now be downloading offline maps for my onX Hunt app before each forest road walk!
Now for my soap box. haha This private road was like any other road we’ve walked upon! It would have been nice for the owners to put signage up but I’m not sure it’s their responsibility. I suspect that legally we’re responsible for making sure we don’t go on private property, but don’t know the legal ramifications, and don’t want to have to find out? In fairness to the private land owners, the properties were huge, in the 40 acre range, and would be difficult to mark unless a huge fence were placed around the property.
The lesson learned is that I/we need to be prepared prior to our hikes! The obvious observation is that it’s sometimes difficult to know if you’re on public or private lands without doing some research. I’m trying out the onX Hunt app for this next year, to see if it meets my needs. It’s a bit more expensive than I wanted to pay, and it’s a yearly subscription plan, but it’s worth the money if I avoid being shot and/or prosecuted!
A nice hike just the same, and I learned a lesson and am passing it on to others so they can learn!