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Great State: Trailblazers

KAW LAKE, OKLAHOMA — Prairie skies and lake views.

When Rick Boyd and his wife Lori Young built a house overlooking Kaw Lake eight years ago their Rock-A-Bye Ranch became their dream home.

“We have a big variety of landscape,” says Rick.”

Their acreage became a place where they could spread out and ride horses right out the back door. “You betcha,” he echoes.

There was a small problem though.

The old horse trails that ran through the woods at Kaw Lake weren’t really trails any more at all.

Rick explains, “We had a couple of years of high water out here. They basically just abandoned the trails.”

Rick’s old friend Grant Hodges blazed a nice little trail system at Kaw Lake in the late 1970’s.

When he moved away the trails grew over. When the Boyds moved in they brought their chainsaws and bushwhacking skills with them.

Lori recalls, “It was like an Easter Egg hunt, literally, to find even a quarter mile of old trail.”

It took years of weekend trailblazing but the Five Fingers Equestrian Trail opened again.

Rick and Lori didn’t stop there either. They kept adding trails and marking them with names attached to true stores of their many rides.

Lori rode past one loop marker that reads Copperhead Trail. “My husband was hiking through this area,” she says. “And he stepped on a Copperhead.”

At last count there were more than 40 miles of trails between the Burbank Landing and Sarge Creek Cove.

It’s the only place in the state that offers eagle watching on horseback.

Rick and Lori say all their hard work is paying off for everyone.

“If you like trees you’ve got them,” says Rick. “If you like country you’ve got it. We’ve just got a little bit of everything.”

In 2012 Rick built steel post stables for several campsites at Sarge Creek.

A growing number of visitors can count on one hand the number of top riding trails in Oklahoma.

Five Fingers is now back on the list.

For more information on the Five Fingers Equestrian Trail system contact the Kaw Lake Association at http://www.kawlake.com or the Oklahoma Equestrian Trail Association at http://www.oetra.com