Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.

Ashley Smith

Friday, September 30, 2011

The "Bob" Part 2

Water crossing/Drink break- the horses and mule are pretty good at crossing water.  Although Sapphire (the black and white paint in the lead) is kind of a stream hog when he is thirsty!
Lest you think we spent our whole trip lounging around camp, here are some highlights of the actually riding.

This is a pretty typical view for me on a pack trip.  I bring up the rear, give updates on the state of Mule's packs, and generally lolly gag around.  Brian, on the other hand, is in charge of navigation, addressing potential disasters on the trail (think back packers, bicyclists, moths, other things that might potentially eat a horse- never mind bears) and handling the mule.  It can get a little dusty in the back, but I am not one to complain!

The long and dusty trail.
Pretty sure this is Big Prairie... especially because of, well, the big prairie.
Lots of water crossings.

Of course there are times when I can trot up next to Brian:

And times when I can't (or won't!):

This is probably one of our least favorite trail features. Sheer cliff on the left, steep face on the right and footing that is, shall we say, less than perfect...
This was also very steep, but with good footing.  See how it was a little windy up here?
And this is a pretty typical view from the front:

Ears and trail...

A little bit different water crossing.

Pack Bridge at Big Prairie

 My husband jokingly asked me if I would like to lead Mule across this bridge.  Last year on our Bob trip, I wanted to lead Mule.  We did great until we stopped at the foot of a similar bridge to read a sign.  When it was time to go again, I did not pay attention to where the lead rope went.  Well, it went right up the back of my horse's legs and under his tail.  Suffice it to say,  my horse was not at all happy about that.  Some bucking and tearing around ensued, I ended up on the ground and my horse's hoof (complete with metal shoe) connected with my skull.  Minor concussion aside, it was still an awesome trip.  But, I did decline to lead Mule this time...

So, this bridge might not look all that impressive, after all it is no Golden Gate.  But, bear in mind that no motorized vehicles are allowed in the wilderness.  Every stick of wood, bolt, cable, everything... was brought in by pack animals. It's starting to look a little more impressive, isn't it?

The quick summary of camps:

Thursday: Trailhead (we covered this in The "Bob" Part 1)

Friday: What we have named "Ice Box Camp", near the top of Hahn Pass- it was mighty cold that night:

Frozen water bucket

But, lots of grass!
Saturday: Big Prairie.  As ridiculous as it seems, and quite accidentally, we camped in the exact same spot that we camped in 2 or 3 years ago when we rode through here!

Yeah... that's me, being campy.
And even though, we were miles from any road, there is this:

and this.  People get to live here during the summer!! Doesn't that sound awesome?

And this.  although we did not see the draft horses that would pull it...
 Sunday: Danaher Meadows.  We intentionally camped in the same spot this year as we have in the past, because, although there is a lotta, lotta grass here, water is a little harder to find.  Unless you want to camp in the swamp, which was not on our agenda...

Our view from our campsite.
 This is where we heard the wolves howling. and where the big herd of mules appeared outside our tent in the middle of the night. Coincidence?  I don't think so.  The mules actually disturbed me more than the wolves- my horse LOVES mules.  He has jumped out of the electric corral to meet up with them before, so taking no chances, we got up early to saddle up and ride!

Lunch break.  We only tie to trees for short periods, when we are right there to watch everyone.

This was (another) Big, Long day.  I think we did 26 miles this day, part of it over an enormous pass!
The Hoadley/Stadler pass went on forever...
Top of the pass.

Then, going down the other side!

 At the bottom, we stopped at this forest service cabin for a break.

Glad to have a break.

This is another typical scene: my horse stands patiently, while I root around in every pocket, every bag to find something I most likely left at the trailer...
Monday: Back at the trailhead.  So happy to be back at the trailer (no tent to set up), with a wooden corral (no electric corral to set up) and a truck to take us to dinner (no sausage, cheese and crackers for dinner!). As you can imagine, we slept well that night!!

Well that's about it. Already have our trip planned for 2012!  and hopefully another trip to Wyoming (think Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid...)

I hope you enjoyed this trip summary.  I have another tale to tell, but it is from home base (and involves some pretty happy sheep!!)

Happy Indian Summer.

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