Tuesday, July 30: When we were getting things ready that morning, it started raining. Counting the two days it took us to drive to Mt. Ashland Road where we started our trip, we had 31 days of continuous good weather. This was our first rain. We had been lucky. It was a light mist at first. We talked it over and decided to go down and have breakfast at the cafe in another building because she was feeding her horses. Roy and I ordered hash browns, sausage and eggs. That had to be the worst breakfast I had ever eaten. I took about three or four bites and left the rest of it. I just could not hack eating it. I knew if I did, it would make me sick. Roy was about finished eating when Pat came in. Roy had coffee with Pat so I went down to the gift shop to talk with Carol. She had helped so much in lining up the place for us to put our grain.
Carol was standing outside her place of business when I got there. She had been on vacation so she had no key to open the place up, until the woman who had been running the shop came. I told Carol about the trip so far.
When I went back to Roy and Pat, they were still drinking coffee. I left to call Virgil at Stevenson to let him know we would be riding in, in about four days. His wife answered and asked if I would call back in about ten minutes. When I called back in ten minutes, she said she didn't "think too good" when she first gets up in the morning and that is why she asked me to call back. She said they would unlock the gate so we could get in. We headed on back up to camp and got everything loaded up. It was still sprinkling a little bit.
About an hour down the trail, Fizz stepped on a branch and the other end came up and caught her in the belly. She went sideways to get away from the stick, then Gracie pulled back. Unfortunately, Roy had tied Gracie to his saddle horn to give his hand a rest, so he was knocked out of the saddle by the lead rope. Then Gracie pulled Fizz sideways over the top of Roy. I don't know how Fizz missed stepping on Roy, but she did. He didn't tie Gracie to the saddle horn anymore after that.
CROSSING CREEK PASSED
The map I had showed marks for hazardous crossings on most of the rivers in this area. On most of them you have to go down a steep slope to the river and then up a steep slope on the other side. I think it was about the third crossing where we were going up the other side when Pat said there was a hole in the trail. The next thing I knew I was off over the side. The trail had given way under Scooter, the filly I was riding. I went down fifteen or more before I stopped myself by grabbing a maple vine. All I could see was Scooter's head as she continued to fall. When I got back to the trail I ran back down to the river crossing. I was afraid that when Scooter got to the bottom, if she was okay, she would head
As I was coming up the trail, Pat was coming down hollering for me to see if I was okay. I told her we were shaken but okay. We exchanged our different stories of what had happened. Roy said he was going up the trail and happened to glance back but his mental picture was not right. So he looked back again. Realizing that I was missing, he asked Pat where I was. Pat said I was behind her, but Roy said I wasn't, that my three packhorses were behind her, but I wasn't. Agreeing that I was missing, they looked for a place to tie up the horses, but there wasn't and nearby. They had to ride up the trail a little further before they found a place.
Pat came down the trail looking for me while Roy stayed with the stock. My horses were very upset, looking for Scooter. I got everything fixed on my saddle while we told our different versions of this adventure.
In all of my years of riding in the mountains, this was the first time I had ever gone over the side of a trail. I have put many miles on many horses and survived lots of tight situations. In training several young trail horses during the years, I noticed their tendency to tip their heads to look up and down the side of a hill when they are brand new to the trail experience. Scooter was the first youngster to look over the side of the drop off along the trail. This inclination pulls her body out of line from the trail, and before you know it, she is stepping off the side of the trail. After this fall I started riding her with a tight inside rein to keep her head going straight down the trail. This experience made me much more cautious, especially on green horses in the mountains.
We headed on down the trail and crossed a few more of these rivers, except they weren't as bad. When we got to Ramona Falls, we talked with a fellow camped there. This hiker told us we wouldn't make it down the Crest Trail. He said it was washed out, and it was all he could do to get through it on foot. He told us of another trail we could take that was okay.
The rain was really coming down hard. Sarid, at the head of my pack string, got away from me and wasn't going to let me catch him. I finally had to get off Scooter after chasing him around a few trees. I finally caught him, got my string lined up and went over to take a picture of the falls. Roy wanted a picture taken of him and his mules by the falls, too. Where he wanted me to take the picture, I couldn't get the falls in, but I snapped a few shots, anyway.
We got ready to head out, but Pat wasn't with us. We could see her up on the hillside. I don't know what she was doing. We stood around there and waited for her to join us for about ten minutes. I think both of us were getting a little perturbed as it was poring down rain, and we wanted to get going so we could find a place to camp.
We headed down the other trail, the one the hiker had indicated, and it took us a couple of miles out of our way. Then we rode a steep couple of miles back up to the Crest. It was better to ride extra miles than have a repeat of that morning's experience. Better to be safe than sorry, as the saying goes. We didn't need anyone over the side, especially after I had gone over. Once was enough for me. I didn't care to go again.
We thought we might try camping at Lolo Pass because the rest of the area was steep hills. We were hoping there would be some grass, water and a flat area to camp. Coming down into Lolo Pass I saw two deer lying alongside of the trail. In the Pass it was flat and open but the wind was blowing like mad. There was no grass for the animals or dry wood to start a fire. We crossed over a dirt road and rode up under some power lines looking for a flat place. There was a little spur rode that was flat. We thought about camping there. I got off, thinking we were and hobbled my horses. I thought I would get my horses out of the way because there was very little room to work in, then help Roy and Pat unpack.
However, there were a lot of Rhododendrons around, so Pat and Roy decided they were going to ride in another direction to find a different place to camp. So they took off while I was trying to bridle my saddle horse and before I could get the hobbles off the packhorses.
So my pack string took off down the road before I could get a hold of them. It was a good thing that Pat and Roy finally stopped at the other road that we had crossed earlier. Although my horses had gone only a fourth of a mile, and they would have tired sooner or later traveling with hobbles on, I was glad to have to chase them any further. I caught them and took the hobbles off, then I hooked them back up in line.
We went back down to the open flat at Lolo Pass and Pat suggested we camp there.
"We would be right out in the open," I said. "We already looked at this spot and decided no to do it." We headed on up the trail a little further to see what we could find on the other side of the power lines.
The further we went, the steeper the hillside became, and it was getting close to evening. We were wondering if we were ever going to find a place to camp. Finally, we found one area off to the left that was a little flat. We headed over to it because it was getting near six p.m., which is late because it takes a while to set up camp.
I whipped out my camp stove when I got my horses unpacked. I put on some water to make some soup. Not having eaten all day, plus being wet and the cold, we needed something hot to warm us. Roy was working trying to get a fire built. We left the saddle on the horses to keep their backs warm because it was so cold out. They had no feed to eat to generate heat. We got the fire going after working on it a long time.
The rain jacket and pants I bought for the trip worked out real well. I had more freedom to move while I worked around camp. The poncho I use when riding is hard to walk in or work in. I felt the pants and jacket was an asset.
Later, I dug out one of my blue tarps and started stringing a line between trees to put the trap over. I couldn't get either Roy or Pat to help me. They though I was crazy. Roy said it wouldn't work. After I got the tarp up by the fire, I stood under it, keeping dry as I held out my poncho and coat turning different sides to the fire drying them. Then my companions didn't think I was so crazy. Before long most of my clothes were dry.
Roy and I stayed in my tent that night, but we didn't have any blankets to sleep on. We had been using the horses saddle pad underneath us for insulation, but since we left the saddles on the horses that night, we didn't have anything for a cushion. I used a little therm-a-rest pad that I had with me. I hadn't used it before because of all the pack pads. At least I had something under me, but Roy had nothing. His air mattress had gotten a hole in it at the beginning of the trip.
About 2 A.M., Roy woke me up and said that he was getting wet. The tarp underneath the tent was sticking to far out so the rain was coming in underneath us. Roy, with nothing underneath him but his sleeping bag, was all wet. The rain was coming through the roof as well. Even our gear was wet. The fire was out. All Roy could do was wait for morning.
I did have tarps for all of my horses to help keep them dry. Roy had put one tarp over his saddle horse, Fizz, but his two mules didn't have anything over them. Pat had put tarps over her horses, also. Generally it had been a miserable wet 20 miles we covered that day.
Wednesday, July 31: It had rained all night, and it was raining that day when I got up about 5 A.M.. I let Roy sleep in while I got the fire going. After I fed my horses, I started drying out the foot of my sleeping bag, plus some of my clothes. I had been up about a one half hour when Roy got up.
Pat got up and hour later. I think Pat had fared okay since she didn't mention any trouble with getting wet in her tent. The rain quit for a little while that morning so we got most of our things dried out. We got all packed up and headed on up the trail.
We came upon the Forest Service clearing the trail. It was a little frightening getting by them with their equipment lying in the trail because it was a very steep drop off on the downhill side. They tried to move some of their gear, but there just wasn't a place to put it. Horses can spook very easily at unknown objects when they are in a strange place. We made it okay. I asked one of the rangers if they had seen any motorbikes because we had heard some pass our camp as we were drying our gear. At the time we had recalled that it was posted "no motorized vehicles on the trail." They used them to bring in equipment for clearing the trail. They assured us the bikes were off the trail so we could get by safely. The Forest Service can break the rules by bringing in bikes, then why don't they allow chain saws to be brought in to clear the trail.
Further up the trail we came across hikers with a bunch of dogs. They said they used them for rescue work and were taking them out to keep them in condition so they would be ready for a rescue mission. The dogs weren't very big, and looked like small Huskies. All had packs on. Pat had a little trouble trying to convince a lady to move off the trail a little so she could get her horses by. Where she was, Pat had to go between her and some dogs on the other side of the trail. Pat's horse, Mireeyah, did not like dogs. I kept telling Pat to put Mireeyah right up behind Red, and she probably wouldn't have as much trouble getting her horse to go, but she wouldn't do it. She would pull up, giving her horse more time to get scared of things. As I was on a green horse behind her, It made me a little nervous because I didn't know what her horses would do. Mireeyah had whirled back at the sight of another dog.
The drop off was might steep. I was wishing that I was following Roy's little Red mule instead of Pat's unpredictable horse. Roy had gone through with no trouble. Pat's mare played it straight so we got through all right, but I was very nervous. We continued on up the trail and came out on this rocky hillside, while it was thundering and lightning. I said I would rather be in some trees about now instead of out in the open in these rocks. We had crossed a dirt road before we hit this rocky hillside. Shortly afterwards, we found that the road was running parallel with us all the way. We could have been on that road instead of in those rocks that was hard on the horses. In one place a big boulder rolled down and hit Red in the leg. He didn't get hurt, but the rock could have broken his leg very easily.
We came up on a small tree down on the trail. It was easier for me to get my axe since I carry it on my saddle horse then for Roy to get his off his pack mule. I struggled in the mud to get by all of the horses since I was still at the end of the line. Of course, the sky opened up and poured down rain while I chopped the tree out of the way. I had been dry up until then. Now I was soaking wet.
We finally got to Union Springs where we were able to water the horses. Roy and Pat's horses didn't have any water all day. I had checked out a spring earlier, but it was so muddy we decided we did not dare take all of the horses down there. My horses did get a little drink at that time. It wasn't much, but they did get some. We were looking for a place to camp around there, but it was out in the open, and there was no wood for a fire. We continued on up the trail a ways and found a nice spot in the trees with all kinds of wood.
We got the horses unpacked, and I put hobbles on mine and staked out Sarid so they could eat some huckleberry brush. At least it gave them something to do. Again, we didn't we didn't take the saddles off that night because it was so cold. This made two nights of wearing their saddles to keep warm.
Roy and I got the fire going. This time I had help putting up the tarp. The first time we put it up a little too far away from the fire so we couldn't stand by the fire and dry our clothes. We took it down and move the rope over on another tree, which put it closer to the fire. This time it was okay so we were able to dry our clothes. In our second day of rain we had ridden about 12 miles.
Roy and I stayed in my tent again that night. Only this time we put the big plastic tarp of Roy's underneath part way. Then taken one of his heavier tarps, and put it on one end of the plastic. We were able to bring the other end of the plastic up over the top of the tent. This made it like an extra fly over the top. I put a tarp down inside to keep Roy up off the tent floor. We stayed dry that night I put tarps on the horses that night too. They hadn't had anything to eat for a couple of days except for grain we were carrying with us.
Thursday, August 1: It was still raining when I got up that morning. Again, it was around 5 A.M. when I started the fire so Roy could sleep in a little longer. It was a little hard getting the fire started in the rain, but I finally got it to catch hold. I followed the same routine as the day before. I fed my horses their grain. Then I started drying out the condensation on my sleeping bag along with the other gear. Roy got up around 6 A.M., and we called Pat around 6:30 A.M..
I started packing my things because I wanted to hit the trail so the horses could generate some heat for themselves. We saw some logging truck's going in and out on the road down below where we were camped. We thought we might be able to follow this road instead of the trail. Like I said, we found out the day before coming in that road paralleled the trail, and we could have avoided all of those rocks.
"How do you keep going, Sandy? What vitamins are you taking?" Pat kept asking.
"Pat, it's not the vitamins I'm taking. It is just that my horses have been standing there all night long with nothing to eat, and the only way I'm going to get them warmed up is to get them on the trail. Sitting around here won't do it. I'm going to get moving down the trail so they can get so they can warm up," I said.
Roy and I got our animals packed, of course she didn't even have her horses saddled yet. She finally saddled them, and we helped her pack her horse. Roy went over to scout a way down to the road. I hooked all of my horses together and joined him down on the road. We were sitting there waiting for Pat. We could hear her up above us.
"Where did you guys go?" Pat called.
"Where do you think?" Roy called back. "We're down here on the road."
"Where was the road?" Pat called, dumbfounded.
"My, gosh Pat," I said. "We were just talking about the logging trucks going past us on the road."
Well, Roy was really getting teed off with her that day. He finally went back up the road and hollered at her to ride down the trail, then cut down to him on the road. It was easier up the road a little further to come off the side of the bank. Then she didn't even know which way to go on the trail. It had been pretty steep in the place Roy and I had come down. He finally talked her down to the road.
Pat started complaining that she was not going to follow my horses, instead she wanted to follow Roy's little Red mule.
"Pat, you won't even keep up when you're following him," I said. All you do is lag back. With my green horses I like keeping them up by Roy.
Well, she complained that she didn't following my horses because they didn't keep an even gait, and the one on the end likes to kick if she gets too close.
"You always stay back so far," I said, "what difference does it make if you stay off of her. A green horse is not going to keep an even gait."
Well, she kept on harping on it and harping so I let her go by me while we rode on down the road. We rode down the road until we came to the trail that went to Wahtum Lake. We went down to give the horses some water. I had decided after riding the last couple of miles that I was going to start out behind Roy this time, but Pat insisted she was not going to follow my horses. It didn't matter that Roy and I couldn't talk about the directions and compare notes with our maps. She didn't care to carry a map and discuss this with the one leading that day.
"Well, go out in front and ride then, Pat," I said. She wouldn't do that either. She said she didn't trust her horse out in front.
"You won't get out there," I said, "but you expect me to go out front with my green horses. That's different."
So I started out on the trail, but Pat told me I was going the wrong way. That was the last straw. I have had it with her by that time so I told her she could take any trail she wanted, but I was going this way. I headed on out up the trail. Pat and Roy didn't come. They started going south on the Crest. I stopped and hollered for Roy to come on. I couldn't believe Roy wasn't coming. When we had looked at the maps the night before, it showed the trail going around the south end and up the east side of the lake and heading north. Then Roy started up the trail that we had just come down to get to the lake. There was a hiker camped by the lake. He probably thought we were crazy. Then I heard Pat ask him which was north on the Crest. He told her the way I was going. She came on up behind me and then Roy finally started coming up the trail, too. As we headed on up the trail, I had to laugh to myself under my breath that she was not going to follow my horses, but guess where she was, right behind them. It took her about a mile and a half before she could find a place to pull off the trail to let Roy go by. Roy didn't seem to have any trouble following my horses. Roy's mare Fizz would stay just a certain distance behind them. She kept that distance even with the "uneven" gait of my green filly. In contrast Pat would lag back, sightseeing. She wouldn't pay attention as she was going down the trail so if we stopped for something, she'd run into the back of our horses.
That morning I packed my camera in my pack boxes so it wouldn't get wet. I should have kept it on my saddle because in the afternoon it started clearing up. I didn't get any pictures coming down into the Columbia River area. It was rally pretty up there looking down on the Columbia River. Pat took some pictures of us out on the ridge since her camera was where she could get it.
Suddenly, Red laid down in the trail and started rolling, packs and all. He didn't seem to mind the packs. The sand looked good to him, after having a wet saddle on it for three days.
We continued on down almost to the Bridge of the Gods when we came to this road. I went straight on across to the trail on the other side. It had a different name on the trail so I wondered about it, but I didn't see anything that said where to go to get to the Bridge of the Gods. We were about half of a mile down the trail when I looked back and saw the Bridge of the Gods. Then I know we were on the wrong trail. When I was there in April, I saw the trail came out near the bridge. We held a conference and then decided to turn back. After we had back to the road, we saw a sign pointing to the bridge. It's really neat when they put signs the opposite way you're going. I mean, it doesn't do a person much good when he's heading south to tell them which way to the bridge, when he's already across it. For the north- bound people there is no marker.
I was following Roy when we started across the bridge, Roy's horse, Fizz, hesitated a little bit. A gust of wind came up and blew Roy's hat off. The hat landed right on the rail of the bridge, just balancing by the brim. Whatever kept it there, I don't know. Both Roy and I jumped off our horses and ran over to get his hat. I thought it was going to end up in the Columbia River.
I told Roy I though we'd have better luck if we led the horses across the bridge. He started across leading his string. They went right on until it was Red's turn to step on the bridge. He hesitated, but I hauled off and smacked him across the rear. He jumped onto the bridge and kept going. I didn't look at my horses. I just started walking and they followed. Pat horses would not step up on the bridge while she was riding. I wasn't stopping out on that slick metal bridge with all kinds of traffic. Roy and I continued on across to the other side. I tied my horses up and then flagged down some people in a car to give me a ride back over to help Pat.
Pat talked to some people about getting a trailer to haul her horses over the bridge.
"Let's try them first," I said. "If we can't get them across, we'll get a trailer." I took her packhorse, Georgie, and started leading her across. I told Pat to keep Mireeyah right up behind Georgie. Georgie went right on the bridge but Mireeyah still hesitated. She side stepped around and ended up on the bridge sideways. I told Pat to keep her moving. We got them across okay and nobody got hurt.
The lady at the toll station was going to charge us for each animal plus us. I told her that when I came down earlier to check things out, they told me we only had to pay for people. She charged us fifty cents per person.
When we got over to the other side, there were two patrol officers of the Indian Tribal Police talking to Roy. They were going to Stevenson so I asked if they could give me a ride to town so I could get some grain and hay for the horses. They gave me a lift to the feed store and I thanked them.
I Talked to Bryan at the feed store in Stevenson and told him what we needed in the way of hay and grain. I asked him if he could haul the supplies to the ranch for us. He couldn't because all he had was a Volkswagen. He said, the man, who owns the store above him may let us use his pickup. The man said we could use the pickup, but first we had to unload the chairs that were in it. Bryan and I unloaded the chairs and loaded the grain and the hay and took it to the ranch. We originally were going to camp in the first field we came to. We drove on up to the house to see if we could stay in their barn since the weather didn't look very good. It had started clouding up again. Virgil and his wife weren't home, but their son said he thought it would be okay. We put the hay and grain in the barn. If it did start to rain again, it would be dry. We met Virgil and his wife on our way out. They said it saw okay to stay in barn. Bryan drove me back to the Bridge of the Gods where my horses were. We thanked him and told him we'd come in the next day to pay for the feed. We rode the horses to the ranch by going two miles on a side road that kept us out of the main traffic to Stevenson.
Roy and I started unpacking. Pat just sat on her horse chatting with some girls. She never offered to help unpack any of the horses. When Roy and I got all done unpacking, she led hers over to be unpacked. I hate to say it, but I walked off. Poor Roy again he got stuck with helping her. Virgil helped, too. Roy was more than a little mad. It does get a little maddening after a whole month of this.
Virgil and his family, were real nice. Karen, Virgil's wife, offered to wash our clothes for us. Roy said no thanks. He had decided to go on home because his mule Gracie ended up with a real sore back from having the saddle with wet blankets on her for three days. Roy called Bill Bingle, a friend of his, to bring his trailer down to pick him up. Roy told his animals if they got him to Stevenson, he would give them a ride home. Roy volunteered to take Wayward home for me because she was limping real badly.
I took a shower while the clothes were in the washer. I called my mother to let her know we had made it safely that far. We had arrived at Stevenson a day earlier than planned. We must have gone 19 miles that day.
We turned all the horses and mules loose in the field around the house. Virgil closed the gate so they couldn't go out with the cows. We had carried out one of the bales of hay and fed all of the animals in the field. Then Pat had to have a corral for her horses. She would not leave them out in the field with Roy's and mine. So Virgil had to move some of the cows he had in the corral so Pat could put her horses in it.
Friday, August 2: Virgil let us lay over there another day so we could get things organized. Since Wayward was going back home, I had to repack for two packhorses instead of the three. Then Pat decided she was going home, too. That meant I had to go though all of my packs again and re-do them to get it down to one packhorse. This was because I would have no one to help me lift the packs on and off. I'd only have two horses to work with.
The two horses I was going on with I put shoes on. I had extra shoes with me. I put new shoes on Sarid's back feet and reset his front shoes, then I put new shoes on Val's front and reset her back shoes. That took care of all the shoes I had with me.
Why don't you leave Sandy's horse here and haul my two? When Roy told me what she said, I thought boy, this was something. On the way down to start the trip she would not have her horses hauled in a trailer with other horses. She would do it on the way back, just to get out of there. I thought what kind of a person is she when she would leave a horse with a bad leg to walk one hundred and thirty miles in Washington so she could have her horses hauled. Roy told her no, that he had told me he would haul Wayward home with his animals. Pat called her daughter to come down the next day to get her.
Roy said he would haul Scooter home for me, too. Bill Bingle arrived about 4:30 P.M., that day with Roy's Truck and trailer. Then we all went down to Stevenson that evening for dinner. We had gone down earlier in the day to pay Bryan for the hay and grain. Roy decided to spend the night there and leave the next morning. Roy said the next morning that he would haul Val and Sarid over to the Bridge of the Gods. So I would not have to ride a couple of miles back on the road to the Crest Trail.
Saturday, August 3: Roy, Bill and I got my horses and pack boxes loaded in his truck and started out for the trail. On the way we decided to go down to Stevenson and have breakfast. Roy bought my breakfast for me, which was very nicer of him. They hauled me over to the trail and helped me pack up Sarid,
I started on the trail about 8:10 A.M.. It was a pretty nice day. The trail started out gradually. Then it started getting steeper and steeper. It was a pretty good climb almost all day long. There wasn't any fed for horses because it was all timber again. I was hoping that Washington I would get out of the timber. We kept going. I think it was about 4:30 P.M., when I quit that day. The horses were just getting totally exhausted.
I camped on a flat spot on a creek bed. It was the only place I could that was flat, everywhere else was just straight up and straight down. The creek didn't have much water in it, just a pool on one side, and then it went underground a little bit before coming out in a waterfall down over the side. There were two trees there so I tried the horses to them and laid out my bedroll in the creek bed, hoping there would be no flash flood that night.
The horses were still sweaty from the steep climb when I stopped to make camp. They started shivering because it was cold down in the trees where no sun could get through. I put blankets on them, but Val was still shivering. I put tarps on them to see if that would get them warm. With that, Val finally quit shivering. This was my first night out by myself.
I did not know how far I had come that day because the trail was not on the map I had. I asked Roy if he would tell Hollis Day that I would try to meet him at Potato Hill in three or four days. Hollis told my mother that he was going to try to meet me there or at another place.
First camp in Washington
I did not put up my tent because there was not enough room. I put the blue plastic tarp down under pack boxes and I then brought the other end over the top of the boxes and me. I got so hot in the sleeping bag during the night that I got up to put on my jeans and ended up sleeping under the bag. It was one very sleepless night. It was so hot in the sleeping bag, and worried about the horses. If they got loose, I was in big trouble.
Sunday, August 4: The Morning was very foggy. I could not see too far, but by the afternoon the fog did leave. The sun came out and it was pretty nice the rest of the day. I was on the trail by 7:30 A.M.. I had weighed my pack boxes the night before so everything was ready to go. I did not stop to fix breakfast. I just ate the protein bars I had made for the trip. It was a good thing I had stopped where I did the night before because it was still straight up for almost half a day.
Finally, the trail dropped down into Wind River. It was around noon when I got there. I continued on the trail until it came out by Panther Creek. There was a couple, there that I visited with for a while. When I told them where I headed, the man said he thought I was going in the wrong direction if I was going to Canada.
"I sure hope not," I said, "because I just came from this other way, which is from the south." I continued on up the hill climbing out of Panther Creek. When I got to the top of the ridge, there was a road with a little bit of grass alongside. I stopped and let the horses eat a little bit since all they had was grain to eat. With only one packhorse I had to cut back on the grain I was carrying. While the horse ate, I had lunch. We rode in trees all day.
On trail to Mt. Adams
Up by Big Huckleberry Mt. I ran into Gail Bluendell from Bellingham, Washington. She was going down the north side of the mountain to find a spring to get some water and camp for the night. The book she had indicated that the spring ran all year long. I had the same book but I had sent it back with Roy to eliminate some of the weight. The map I had showed the Crest Trail from Wind River on north. I was going by that map for water. I went on past her and whenever I would find grass along the way, I would stop and let the horses eat. I finally decided to just
I found a place down by the lava beds that was fairly level. It was nice to have somebody to talk to after spending the night before by myself. I shared part of my dinner with her. The one pound can ham was more than I could eat anyway. I had part of it the night before and still had more than I could eat that night. She enjoyed having the ham and gravy since I had warmed the ham up in the gravy. Then I made some pudding for dessert and shared that too. I covered about 22 miles that day.
Picture by Gail
Monday, August 5:The weather was good that day, but it was windy. From what the map showed, there were a lot of lakes in the area where I would be riding that day. I got up at 5 A.M., and fed the horses their grain and started brushing them down. I started packing my things while Gail was fixing her breakfast. I didn't eat breakfast again that day. I got the horses saddled with the packs on Sarid, and then I took a picture of Gail with her backpack on alongside of Sarid. Gail took pictures of me on Val leading Sarid with his packs. We parted there with me heading on down the trail. I wished her good luck on the rest of her journey.
After riding for a few miles, I came to a horse camp area. Just after that I met a Forest Service person. He told me there were a few trees down on the trail, other than that the trail was fairly good. While I was filling my canteen and the horses were getting a drink at Junction Lake, a couple rode up. I talked with them for a few minutes, and then we both continued on our separate ways. They were in the mountains for a couple of days of riding.
I was headed for Steamboat Lakes that day, but I did not make it to the lakes. I came to a place with lots of grass and a nice creek. I had come around 26 miles. I decided that was far enough. It was a couple of more miles to the lakes, but without knowing if there was feed there, I decided to stop at the little meadow. My biggest problem at camp was keeping the horses out of camp. They were in grass up to their knees, but they would keep coming back to camp trying to get into the pack boxes for their grain. Every time I turned around they were there trying it again. I had Sarid staked out and Val hobbled. It was Val who would keep coming back to camp.
Camp 3/4 miles
North of road N819
The trees I tied them to that night weren't too good. There were some vine-maples to hook the rope to on one side on the other side, a big fir tree. I put a bell on Val and figured if I head the bell in the night, I would know she was out there. Hollis had said something about meeting me at a spur road going into the Mt. Adams Wilderness. I thought I might make it to the spur that day, but it was just too many miles for the horses to go. I would have had to go seven more miles. I wasn't about to push them that far. I also tried to get my sleeping bag dry. I laid it out on the grass so the sun could shine of it, but it still did not dry out.
I got up a couple of times during the night to check on the horses. One time Val had the Picket line between her front legs. Those nylon ropes do stretch. I had the rope tied up higher then their backs, but it was down to their knees.
Tuesday, August 6: The weather was good that day. I was still riding in trees most of the time. Once in a while I would come out in a clearing or a little meadow where I would stop and let the horses graze for a while. I finally got to the Mt. Adams Wilderness area. It was a good thing I didn't try to go to Steamboat Lakes that night since I never did find them. Another reason that it was a good thing that I camped where I did was that there was a lot of climbing that day. It seemed we went uphill most of the time. We went up one side and down the other and then back up again. Mainly most of it was climbing. About three-fourths of the way through that day I got to where I could see Mt. Adams. I camped about one fourth of
a mile north of the Adams Creek. Most of the water up there was running milky colored. I finally found one creek that was clear with a little grass nearby. That's where I camped for the night.
I met Ron and Karen Sampson that night. They were camped on the hill above my camp. They invited me to come up and watch the sunset with them and take some pictures.
There was a very beautiful sunset that night. I got some shots toward Mt. St. Helens and then some of Mt. Adams.
I traveled about 19 miles that day. For extra safety, I put the bell on Val again that night.
Wednesday, August 7: I woke up to rain that morning. I staked the horses out to eat a little bit and then broke camp. We were on the trail by 6:30 A.M.. I usually packed my lunch and weight all my boxes the night before so all I had to do was just break down my tent and put everything away. I did not eat breakfast in the morning. I was able to get an even earlier start.
I was using one of Roy's pack boxes when I left Stevenson. They were so wide I could put two five-gallon cans in each side. They weighted about 72 pounds each. With five-gallon cans, I could put the boxes on the horse first, and then put the cans in one at a time. This was the only way I could manage alone since I could not left the boxes by myself. The cans were full of the grain for the horses. I would put my food and my cooking utensils on top of the can. In evening I would take the top things off first and then the cans. After I weighted the boxes, I would put my packsaddle on one box and my riding saddle on the other and a tarp over the whole thing. I had two duffel bags. I put my sleeping bag in one along with the Therm-a-rest pad, clothes and the scale to weigh the boxes with. In the other one I put my tent and tarps. They weighed about 22 pounds apiece so Sarid had 94 pounds on each side, plus the shovel on top of the pack.
I think I rode about eight miles down the trail when I came to where Hollis and Billie were camped on road 5603 which goes into the Yakima Indian Reservation. I had myself psyched up to keep riding so I could get to White Pass in two days. I figured I had forty some miles to go.
"Well, come on and have some breakfast with us," Hollis said. Billie was nice and cooked a really good breakfast.
Hollis had brought hay and grain for the horses. I unpacked the horses and we fed them. Hollis also packed in water in a plastic garbage can because there was no water close around there. We listened to Hollis radio in the camper, and it sounded like the weather was going to get worse. I decided to spend the day there and give the horses a rest. Hopefully, the weather would be better the next day. I decided to have Hollis haul me out because the area I would be riding in was the Goat Rocks, it is not a place to ride in really bad weather.
After dinner Hollis and Billie left, I pitched my tent and camped there alongside the road. The sound of a gun shot, woke me up, or at least it sounded like a one. I got up to check my horses as they could be seen from the road. I was afraid somebody might have tried to take a shot at one of them, but they were okay. I went back to bed, but loaded my gun and stuck it alongside my head for the rest of the night. I was not taking any chances, with people driving in and out of reservation.
The horses got a good feed with the hay, grain Hollis had and the grain I had. Their backs were getting sore. Val's had little blisters where the saddlebags had been sitting. I had packed Val that day to see if a lighter load would help her back. My riding horse always carried a heavier load than my packhorse.
Thursday, August 8: It was still raining when I got up. The wind blew a corner of the tarp out from under the tent so rain came in and got the horse blankets I had underneath me all wet. I built a fire and sat out there to try and get them dried out between showers. I had already given the horses water and feed.
I was waiting for Hollis to come. He had said he would be there in the morning. I finally got the blankets dried out. Around 10 A.M., I decided to go back in the tent and lay down to get out of the rain for a little while. I was dozing in and out when about 11:30 A.m. I heard some voices coming down the trail.
Some kids were coming down the trail from the north out of the Goat Rocks area. They were Boy Scouts. They'd crossed the Goat Rocks the day before, and it had been snowing up there. I invited boys over to sit by the fire and get warm. They got out their mix to cook some pancakes. They had left early to get down to make sure they caught their ride out. About an hour and a half later the rest of the troop came out. There were about ten of them altogether. They weren't having much luck cooking their pancakes on the fire so I dug out my stove and let them use it.
A woman who was picking them up arrived around 2 p.m.. She brought steaks, corn and a barbecue to cook them on. They offered me a steak, too, which I thought was nice of them.
Hollis came around 3 P.M., with the trailer. The horses were glad to see that. They both started whinnying at it when he drove by them going to find a place to turn around. The Boy Scouts. helped me take down my tent and load my equipment in Hollis jeep. Their steaks were done about the time I was ready to leave. They offered me one to take with me, but I thanked them and told them to go ahead and eat it since Hollis already had steak sandwiches fixed for us.
We stopped in Packwood to buy a couple of maps of the Goat Rocks area for when I came back to ride it. Then I asked Hollis if it would be okay if I just took his jeep and trailer and went on home with my horses. Rather than go over to his cabin at Crystal Mt. I didn't have any other way to get home unless someone came to get me. Hollis said it was okay. After I dropped him off at his cabin, I headed home. It was about an hour and a half drive from his place.
Friday, August 9:
At home I worked on getting Hollis packsaddle and gear cleaned up because he wanted to use it to pack some people into the hills. I had used one of his Decker packsaddles down in Oregon and one of his canvas panyards because I could put a whole 80-pound sack of grain in each one. I worked on that project all day long, getting things cleaned up, plus washing some of my clothes. Mainly, it took most of the day to wash and oil his saddle. Then I drove his jeep and trailer up to him at the cabin. My mother drove her car up to the cabin to bring me back. We had dinner with Hollis at the cabin. Mother worked on the dinner while Hollis and I fitted the packsaddle on Lulabelle, one of his mules. After dinner I showed him four rolls of pictures I had taken down in Oregon. I had mailed them to my Mom from Odell Lake in Oregon, and she had them developed while I was gone.