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County’s popular trail winds through hills of Settlement Canyon

21 Nov

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A carsonite stake marks the Left-Hand Fork Trail, a popular trail for horseback riding and mountain biking in Settlement Canyon (photo by Clint Thomsen)

The forest floor was covered in wet leaves. Scattered rocks and sticks wore a thin coat of fresh white frost. The creek’s faint trickle and the bare branches of scrub oak that choked the shadowy canyon evoked a dreary, almost haunting feeling as I pedaled up the draw. The scene was unsettling in a not-quite-winter-yet sort of way, but beautiful nonetheless.

It reminded me of somber scenes in old western movies, where the lonely cowboy searches his soul after losing his family and property at the hand of an evil cattle baron. I imagined myself as that cowboy, but quickly grew jealous of him — he was probably on a horse and might have had better trail directions than I did. But then I remembered that I had Gore-Tex and Gatorade, and a car waiting for me at the bottom of the canyon.

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