"The Old Cowboy" Tells The Tales Of Making Missouri Trails
by Aubrey Christie, The Old Cowboy
Where the flat lands and hill country comes together, is a good place for trails. And around the Poplar Bluff, Missouri area, we have some of the finest trails in the world.
Trails always start in the hearts and minds of people. There has to be a love of the outdoors and the land before anyone would need a trail. In days-gone- by, trails were the roads to get people home. Now-a-days they are used for pleasure.
Some folks like walking or biking. Others like horseback riding and others like to ride trail bicycles. The trails are made for those purposes and pleasures.
Making trails is very simple. All you have to do is make a way for people to walk or ride a horse through.
You need to mark the trails so folks will know they are not lost. All of our trails have MUCH TLC (tender, loving care) put into them by a large group of people.
When I was a young person, the pioneer age was coming to an end. The woods, creeks, river banks and ditch banks were a network of paths, trails and old roadways. The railroads were also used for walking. Most people did not ride their horses down railroads.
In our country there are many horse trails. The one closest to me is Victory Horse Trail. The Victory Horse trail has four trail-heads. The 1 st trail-head is South Victory. The 2nd one is Wranglers' Camp. The 3rd one is Brush Arbor. The 4th and last one is Brushy Creek.
The South Victory horse-trail is one of the most used in this area of the country. It is close-by and handy for the folks around here to use. And it has been for many years. There is a network of old roads and other trails around South Victory.
The location of South Victory Trail-head is on Butler County Road # 410. Butler County Road # 410 begins at Highway 60W. about 2 1/2 miles west of the Highway 67 N. and Highway 60 W. junction. This is about 5 miles northwest of Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Butler County Road 410 starts between Goose Creek and Cane Creek. It is a right turn onto Butler County Road 410 . The trail is just over one mile from Highway 60.
There you will find a large, roomy trail-head, where the old Victory School house used to sit. There is space for a lot of trucks and horse-trailers to park. And there are a lot of good camping sites in that area of the country.
There was a bad storm that went through a part of this trail, last April 24,2002. Much of the downed timber has been logged off. The National Forest Service people have done a fine job getting the country opened up. When riding on South victory, it would be good, to take a local rider along with you through the storm damaged area. You can call me at  785-2631, and if I can't go, I can call a fellow rider for you.
Making the south loops, you will probably go by Wranglers' Camp. We rode South Victory on Tuesday, 1-28-2003. We had nine riders. I wanted to look over the area where the storm had gone through, and see if the riders could ride through, and we could. We rode the southwest part of the trail until we came to F. S. Rd. 3119. Then we rode F. S. Rd. 3119 until we reached the point where the trails turned back to Wranglers' Camp. Some of our riders rode the logged-out way, where the trail goes up to Wranglers' Camp. They returned back to F. S. Rd. 3119 and checked it out to B.C. Rd. #408. And they rode around to where there is an old road that ran into the new loop trail that goes to Upalika Pond. I could hear them going, so I rode along the edges of the storm damaged timber until I came to an old log road that came out close to where they were.
After we all got on the new trail, we rode until we came to a good eating place. A large tree was down across the trail. After eating lunch, we checked the saddles and put the forked- end down and headed out again.
We rode to where the South Ozark Trail should hook up with Victory Horse Trail. There, we got on another loop trail that Walter Wyman and I had flagged and marked. We came out to the Pine Cone Road and crossed it. We were heading due east for a good ways. Then we started back due south, where we got to a place that would take us to the north part of the loop trail. Several riders wanted to go back another way. Many of the old - timers had rode all over this country, but we were in a large area of storm damage w where the timber was logged out, and roads were going in every direction. Our trail leader said to me," I don't believe the fellows know where we are." After watching some of the riders wander around, I told Glen Tompkins we needed to head to the tucks and trailers. It had turned cloudy. We went over by the cable that closed the road to the open woods. We went around the cable and headed due east. We soon came to the F. S. R. # 3117 that goes to South Victory trail Head.
We had a great ride and covered a lot of country. And we got to see how we needed to go to get around the storm damage on both ends of the big loop ride.
After we talk to the District Forest Service Ranger, our groups will be marking and flagging the trails. The Forest Service has a diamond shaped marker and aluminum nails to use. When we put out the word that we need to mark and trim the trails, we will have plenty of help. I do know four riders, who have horses that are good to ride when we are marking, flagging and trimming trails. Some of the others may put on a little show and we will just watch it.
The Lord sure has been good to us . We have beautiful country all around us. Today, snow has the country covered. Shortly the ground out here in the hills will be covered with little purple flowers. Then the wild flowers will start blooming. The trees and bushes will be in bloom.. As the seasons come and go there is always a display of beauty. And I sure enjoy riding my horse along the trail and seeing everything I can see.
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