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Camp Livingston Ride

It is 6:30 A. M. and we are loading up and heading out in order to have enough time to check out new trails at Camp Livingston, Louisiana.  The weather forecasters predict a 40% chance of showers but the skies are clear.  It is only a forty-five minute drive there so we will have a full day if we need it.  We know from talking to a forest ranger that one trail is twenty miles long and the other is twelve miles long but we do not know how difficult they might be.  

We park in a new parking area with new restroom facilities.  It is new and neat but not much thought had been given to parking.  The parking is helter-skelter.  There are only a few places to park out of the way.  There is a sign on the restroom doors warning about vandalism and bullet holes all around the signs.  Since the parking is hidden from the road I was concerned about vandalism.  We are the only ones there as we park, unload, and head out. 

I sprained my thumb the evening before in a high-speed spill so we take it easy for a while.  It is clear and cool but warming up fast.  The trails are in great shape but extremely crooked.  There is no standing on the bikes at all.  This is a great place for a beginner to learn riding skills.  These are four wheeler trails but they are not rutted and it is easy to jump from one side to the other to set up for the curves, and there are plenty of them.  A drunk must have laid out these trails.  

A few miles down the trail there is a nice bridge crossing a wide creek that has a trickle of water flowing down it.  This would make a pretty picture.  It looks as if a heavy rain would flood this creek.  Right now there are four wheeler tracks running up and down the creek bottom.  That bridge must have cost $500.00 to build.  From what we have heard the money could have come from people being ticketed for riding on the roads.  You have been warned.  

The trail remains extremely crooked all the way but in good shape.  We see a box turtle crossing the trail and I wish I had an indelible marker to put the date on its shell.  About seven miles down the trail we see the turtle again and I wonder how it got ahead of us seeing how slow they travel. We see that turtle about ten times before the riding is finished.  That thing really gets around.  Glenn tells me it is mating season for box turtles.  I guess that explains why it was traveling so fast.   They must really have trouble finding each other in all those woods.  

A few miles down the trail we come up on another bridge crossing a creek.  The creeks would not be difficult to cross without a bridge but I guess the forest service does not want the banks rutted and eroding.  It is funny how they complain about damage done by riders on dirt bikes and four wheelers, have you ever seen what loggers do to the woods with skidders?  These woods have been logged for over a hundred years and do not seem to be damaged to me.  I bet fifty years from now you will not know we road down any of those trails in.  

After following yellow reflective diamonds, which mark Little Creek Trail, we come to a sign in the woods letting us know there is a junction ahead.  At the junction we see one yellow marker on a tree informing us which direction Little Creek Trail runs and an orange marker informing us that Hickman Trail has joined Little Creek to run together for about a mile or so.  Another sign behind us informs us the trail is one-way which is good.  With all those curves it would be a catastrophe to meet someone coming the other direction if you were really flying.  There are other warning signs in the woods letting you know when you are about to cross a forest road.  They are small stop signs warning you a few feet before you reach a road.  We stay on Little Creek Trail in order to get a full track of it on my GPS.  We will run Hickman later today.  

We make the twenty-mile loop that is called Little Creek Trail and return to the truck to find several trucks and trailers have arrived since we left.  They strap ice chests on, pile two and three people on some of the four wheelers and head out.  That guy with three on his four-wheeler is going to be tired when he returns.  

It is 11:00 so we eat lunch and rest a few minutes.  All those curves were tiring but the seat time was the worst.  Dirt bikes are not made to be sat on for the entire ride.  There were only a few places where we could stand and then only for a little while.  As we stir around Glenn sees a dark cloud forming a thunderhead and says it will probably rain today since it has become as hot as it is as quick as it did.  

Now we head out to do Hickman trail and record it on the GPS.  Hickman trail is not much different than Little Creek, just more of the same; curves and more curves.  

It begins to sprinkle so we stop on the third bridge of the day to wait it out.  I mention to Glenn that I am getting a little dehydrated and need a hydration system to ride in hot weather.  That is when the bottom falls out of the thunderhead.  Glenn says that next time I tell him I am dehydrating he is going to run for cover.  He says he hopes the shower has taken care of my problem.  We run at periscope depth from here on out.  

For the rest of the trip it rains cats and dogs, or maybe it was box turtles because we see plenty of them.  The turtles were miles apart. We could have helped them out and given them rides to each other.  Maybe next time we can load them all up and put them together.  That should make them all happy and save them a lot of steps and frustration looking for a mate.  Just a thought.  

The trail turns to a narrow river where we sometimes run upstream and sometimes down.  Sometimes it looks like a long skinny lake.  Riding in the rain is a lot like having a heart attack but enjoying it.  All the ruts and roots are hidden by water so you never know what to expect when you plunge into it.  The best way across some of it is to pick the front wheel up and hope the back wheel follows like it usually does.  

Cold and tired we pull up to the truck and see three boys leaving on a four-wheeler.  It could be they were just pulling out after unloading but they seem to leave in a hurry.  I thought about chasing them just to see what they looked like just incase something was amiss.  I decide not to and press the kill button.  At the same time I notice window glass on the ground beside the truck.  I look up to see the driversí side glass has been broken.  I kick the bike to life and give pursuit but they are nowhere to be seen so I pull off the road into the woods to wait for the sound of a four-wheeler heading out.  A little while later Glenn comes down the road in his truck and I tell him they got away but they left their dog behind.  The dog is going home and went into the woods to the left side of the road near a blacktop.  

Glenn goes to the first house on that side of the blacktop and asks the man who answered the door if he knew who owned a big cur dog.  It turned out to be his dog and his son involved in the vandalism.  In all six trucks were vandalized.  

One of the ladies there wondered where the forest service personnel were now.  They seem to always be around when someone rides on the road so they can right tickets.  The sheriff department comes out and makes reports for all the vehicles involved.  I guess "all's well that ends well", except for the three boys who had to spend two nights in jail waiting for an arraignment on Monday.  "If you're gonna be dumb you gotta be tough." 

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