Tuesday, August 20: It was raining when I woke up, not real hard, just a drizzle. I headed out for Rainy Pass, on the trail I came up on a real old cabin. I rode over and looked in the window. It had divided rooms inside and looked like it might have been an old homestead. It would have been interesting to know who had built it. The roof was partly caved in.|
The trail was easy going so it was fairly easy traveling, but it was miserable with the rain on and off all day. I think every time I took off my poncho, it started raining again, and I put it back on. I rode about 20 miles to get to Rainy Pass.
My mother and Frank Jackson, my uncle, were there waiting for me. Frank drove my mother up there. They arrived around noon. They were beginning to wonder if I was okay. I got there around 3:30 P.M..|
I camped on the north side of the North Cascades Highway. There was a big parking area for unloading horses. We talked with some hiker who had just come off the area that I was going to do next. They said there was a slide in one area so they didn't know if I would get through with horses. My mother really needed to hear that. She was worried enough already.
The horses didn't get much to eat because it was all woods around there. I had forgotten to tell mom to bring some hay. I didn't figure on camping there. I was going to go up the trail further. I hobbled them so they could pick at the little bit that was around. They ate a little hay that had been left on the ground from other horses.
That night was the first time I had heard owls on the whole trip. There were two of them. I think they hooted almost all night long. One was on one side and the on the other side of me. One would hoot, then the other one. It was neat for a while, but after half the night it got a little old. They sounded like they were getting closer together. Around dawn I heard a bunch of squalling, then I didn't hear them anymore. Also, during the night It sounded like either a tree went down or there was a landslide nearby. To say the least, I didn't get much sleep.
I had seen a porcupine that day, the first one so far, and one deer. I stopped for lunch, in one of the slide area down below Azurite Creek. I was looking for Horse Heaven Camp. The map I had show Horse Heaven Camp before Brush Creek, but I got to Bush Creek and never did find Horse Heaven Camp. I rode along side of Bush Creek on by way to Glacier Pass. At Glacier Pass I stopped at the first camp spot I came to. I put the horses out to eat what little bit of grass there was. Then I started putting up my tent when a hiker arrived. He was looking for an area down by Brush Creek and asked me if I knew how much further it was. I told him I thought it was three or four miles down the trail. He didn't think he had that far to go so he decided to camp there. He said, he had seen a sign that said there was horse camping just back around the bend in the trail. Since I already had set up my camp, I was not moving.
I went hiking around to explore the area and look for some water. I came up on the sign he told me about. It showed the area I was in was for horses and hikers. The backpacker ended up in a real good horse camp. It was down off the hill from where I was camped. There was a little creek running through there. I asked him if he would mind if I brought the horses down to give them some water. He said this was a horse camp so he didn't care. He hiked over later that evening to show me places on the map where there was water, further up north.
I figured out later that night when I was reading the book that where I had lunch was around the Horse Heaven Camp. I rode 21 miles that day.
I stopped at Windy Pass for lunch. I had seen someone over on the other side of the pass. As I started out again, I met Dick Greve. He was from Mt. Holly, New Jersey. He was the person I had seen on the other side of Windy Pass. He was a teacher. He asked me where I was headed. I told him I a was trying for Holman Pass. He said that was where he was going, too. He told me about a cabin that someone had told him about just off of the Crest, down on the Holman Trail. I decided to go see what the cabin looked like.|
I ran into some other people that told me, there were people up ahead who had packed in with llamas. They were camped over in the Oregon Basin. I think the horses could smell the llamas. I could see their tracks on the trail. As I was riding around the side of the Oregon Basin, I could see a big camp down below. The people waved at me and I waved back. As I was going down the Devil's Backbone, I got off the horse and started walking to get my knees limber up. They would get stiff and start aching. By getting off and walking they would limber up a little.
When I got to Holman Pass, I cut down to see what the cabin was like. I found the cabin, if that is what you want to call it. It wasn't much of one. There was a little bit of feed around, so I stayed. I let the horses eat whatever they could find. I put up my tent and started getting something ready for dinner. Then Dick came down and looked at the cabin.|
"Well, what's nice for one person doesn't mean it's nice for another," he said. He went back up the trail a little way to make camp. That evening after I had everything taken care of, I went up to visit with Dick for a while. Dick was
"You're not going to make it to the border that way," he said.
"I'm not going to make it if they don't get anything to eat either," I said. I caught the horses and headed on out. We still had to do some climbing, but it wasn't real steep, just a gradual climb so the going was fairly easy.
Over at Woody Pass I ran into Doug Dulac from Moscow, Idaho and Tina Rippelt from Redwood City, California. Doug was finishing his trip from Mexico to Canada. He had started in 1981 but broke his leg so he was finishing it this year. Tina was finishing up Washington. When talking with Tina and Doug, I told them that I didn't think I would do the California part. Tina told me I would end up doing it. She said it gets in your blood.|
After leaving them I rode by Three Fools Peak and then across Lakeview Ridge. After riding off Devil's Stairway I stopped for lunch so the horses could eat. It was a nice view there. I could see Hopkins Lake below me. While I was having lunch, Doug and Tina caught up with me. They planned to make the border that day also.
|| Washington and Candian Border |
I headed back up the trail about a mile when I came up on Doug and Tina. The other couple was with them. I wished Doug and Tina good luck and congratulated them on completing their trip. I rode on and about five minutes later I came up on Dick. I congratulated him on completing his trip, too.
On the way back up I stopped at a creek, watered the horses and filled my water bag. The creek was about a mile from Castle Pass. There was no water at the pass, but there was a lot of grass. I let the horses eat until dark. I got back to the pass around 4 P.M.. I built a fire that night. I sat there thinking about maybe being dropped off at Snoqualmie Pass to ride the two days it would take to get to Government Meadows to finish that part of the ride. I had planned on doing it on a weekend. I also though how I could ride the Crest Trial down in California. I though that if I did it, I would do it in three parts. Doing one month a year would be easier on the horses. That would take three years to complete the trip.
With no map it was a guessing game on which way to go. I tried to pick out the main trail and stick to it, a couple of times it was a little difficult to figure out. Without maps of the area and having to guess if I was on the right trail, I was not too happy that day. Also, it was like riding down a tunnel. The trees were so close together they couldn't grow very big, but they were sure thick. A person would have had a hard time trying to walk through them.
You would come up on a slide area, is the only place that was open, then back into the trees. I came up on a trail crew putting a new bridge across a boggy area. It was a long bridge. I asked them if I was on the right trail to Robinson Pass. They said it was the right trail and the pass was about four miles ahead. I also asked if they knew of a place around there to camp. They told me I could camp down by them if I wanted to. They were camped a mile down the trail from where they were working. I went down and camped in the same slide area as they were. There wasn't much feed left around. They had one draft horse and one riding horse, all the rest were mules. They turned the two horses loose for a while to let them eat. Then they tied them up, put bells on two of the mules and turned the loose for the night. I listened to bells all night long.
They invited me over to have dinner with them. I hurriedly fed my horses, this time dropping the grain on the ground instead of using their feed bags, because dinner was ready. Later I regretted doing that as their mules came over to pick up the last little crumbs my horses hadn't eaten. They kept coming into our area in search of the treasure all night long. Scooter chased them out until I tied her up for the night.
Dinner was good. They had roast beef and a big salad, plus potatoes. It was really nice talking with them after dinner by the fire.
As I was resting on a tarp in the afternoon, I head a clanking coming down the trail. I jumped up to see what it was and here comes a packhorse flying down the trail. I tried to stop him but could not. The horse ran on out and down the road. The people who owned him came out about four minutes later. The man said the horse had passed him in a wide spot in the trail. The two packhorses were traveling between him and his wife. I went out to help him look for the horse. The man said he could see the tracks where the horse had gone on the other side of the road, but he couldn't find him. I asked some people going by in a car if they would look down the road to see if they could spot the horse. They said they would. Later, another car came up the road, and said the people in the other car had stopped the horse. They were leading him back up the road. They gave me a ride down the road to where the horse was. I thanked them for stopping the horse. They asked me if he was mine.
"No," I said, "he belongs to some other people." They are looking in a different direction. I will take him back to them.
I got the horse back to the people who owned him. The man was really grateful to have his horse back okay. I asked him if he had learned anything by this experience. He said he wouldn't pack that horse again. I told him that I thought the thing I would have learned was to lead him, not turn him loose. I don't think he agreed with me, but that's the way it goes.
I stretched out again on my tarp after they left. I was dozing off and on when I looked up and saw this snake coming across the parking lot in my direction. I pitched some little pebbles at it, and it turned and went into some brush. I threw a bigger rock at it and it must have hit it because it started rattling. I got up to go look at the snake because I didn't really want to hurt it when I threw the rock in that direction. I wasn't sure if it was a rattlesnake. It wasn't very big so it must have been a baby. I had never seen a rattlesnake in the mountains before. It didn't have diamonds on its back, only white spots. Before the snake came as I was lying on the tarp, I was beginning to wonder if anybody was coming after me. I though that if they didn't, I would just sleep on the tarp and put one over the top of me, that is until that snake showed up. If I had to stay, my tent was going up.
Frank and Mom drove in. I took them over to see the snake. Frank said it was most definitely a rattlesnake. "It will have diamonds on its back when it is older," he said.
We loaded everything up and headed out for home. On our way back by Chelan we had to detour around because of a forest fire. They were not letting anyone through. We got home around 2 A.M. on August 26.
I told Connie if she wanted to ride out and meet us on Monday to bring my truck and trailer instead of Joy's horse trailer. She could bring horse and that way we could haul all three horses back. She said she would if the weather was good.
|Saturday, August 31: We packed up and headed out figuring on camping at Sheep Lake that day. I thought we could do this section in three easy days and not have to push on any day. I rode Val as she was the one I was riding when I was in this section before. Joy was riding Terry.|
|It was a little cool in the morning when we firsts started out. By afternoon it had cleared up and was real nice. We got into Sheep Lake about 2:30 P.M., and tied the horses out so they could eat awhile. We set up the tent and got camp ready. Then we saddled back up and rode up on top of Nanny Ridge just to look at the scenery. You almost could have a 360-degree view from there except for one hill that was in front of us toward Mt. St. Helens. Coming off the ridge we rode back down the trail to get some water at a little spring we had passed on our way in rather than getting water out of the lake. Later we hiked back up on Nanny Ridge to see if we could get some sunset pictures. We rode 15 miles that day.|
There was a waterfall that came down by the side of the trail and then ran across it. You had to step down a foot into the water, and then jump up about three feet to get out on the other side. The horse had to jump up on a big rock. I thought Val was going over the side because she had a hard time keeping her feet under on the rock. Joy made it okay. She told me after we were over it that she thought Val and I was going over the side. I told her I thought so, too. Val had the heaviest load of the two horses. She was carrying the stove, camp kettles, food clothes, fuel and me.
When we got up by the Dana Yelveeton Shelter, it was sleeting. Then it changed to snow. There was a combination of everything, but the sun. I feel the trail was not too bad. I don't think Joy appreciated it too much. She is a very neat person because she will go even if it scares her.|
It was beautiful up there. The coloring just stood out, the greens, brown and all the other colors. It was beautiful even thought it was raining, snowing and sleeting.
On the way across we met two of the three guys I had met up at Pear Lake. They told me the third person had quit. We stopped on one part of the Goat Rocks because we were losing a saddle blanket. I tied the blanket on back of my saddle. Then we walked across from there. Joy turned Terry loose behind Val and she walked behind him. That way she could walk without having a horse walking on top of her, with her bad knee.
|As we were climbing the hill out of Shoe Lake, we could see some of the mule group coming. We met Connie about three miles from White Pass. She told us her horse did okay. We had been riding at Crystal Mt. earlier in the summer and he had quit on her. It had been his first time in the hills, and he was not in good shape. Connie had bought him about a month before we had gone up. Connie didn't know what he would do this time. He did good job come in this time.|
This completed most of my ride. I had one section left to do, from Government Meadows to Snoqualmie Pass. I had to go back to work September 4. I planned to finish the last two days on a weekend since that would be the only time I could do it. It was in October before Joy and I finally could get together to ride that section.
I finally cut across country where I figured Government Meadows should be. I came across the Crest so I hiked down it to where I could see a meadow. As I was coming to the meadow, I could hear an elk bugling. That was really neat. I hiked on until I could see elk out in the meadow. I counted 13 of them. This was the first elk I had seen all summer. It was beautiful to see them out there.
I decided I'd better be heading back because it was starting to get dark. I hated to leave that beautiful sight. I was looking for another way to get to the Crest on my way back to the car. When I got back, my mother said that she was beginning to think something might have happened to me because I had been gone so long. As we were driving out of there, a big bull elk walked across the road right in front of us.
|checking it out. After we left Government Meadows, we came to a logging area where there was a by-pass trail to detour the logging. The by-pass trail was clear until we got near the end. There was a great big log over the trail. You could see where they had cut one end of it but not the other. There were downed trees all over the place. I looked around trying to find some way through the stuff. I ended up chopping down a couple of small trees to get a way around the end of it. There was one more not as big but the horses had a time getting over it. Terry, Joy's horse did not want to go over it. I tied up my horses and went back to help Joy. I got behind him and picked up a stick to give him a belt across the rear, but he decided to get over it when he saw me with the stick.|
I could see these two guys cutting down trees on the hillside by the road we were on. They were cutting every one of the trees down. I guess this is what they call clear cutting. We talked with one of the men, and I told him they needed to go back and clear out that by-pass trail. He was still on the hillside as we hollered up to him. He said he couldn't hear me when I told him about the log, but he could hear me when I told him where we were going. I don't think he wanted to hear about the log.
He told us where the Crest Trail started up again. We traveled along well until we came to some downed trees across the trail. It was one steep bank to drop off of to get around the trees. I rode down, but I had to lay back over the back of the horse. Joy turned her horse loose to follow mine. She was going to walk up the trail and meet me on the other side of the trees. We made it down the hill and started going across the hill to get around the trees. I had to go between two trees that were fairly close. Sarid went through with his packs on with no problem. He rubbed them a little bit, but Terry would not follow him through there. Instead, he turned around and went back. I was hoping he wouldn't go back up that steep hill. Joy had to hike down to get him. After she caught him, she got on and rode him across the side of the hill. It was easy going after getting down that steep back. We came up on some people driving jeeps after leaving that area. They were looking for the Naches Trail where they could drive their jeeps. I told them it was back by Government Meadows area. The ride that day was in a clear-cut area, then into trees and back out in clear-cut again. In one of the tree areas I saw two elk. They were the first I had seen while riding.
The rest of the day went okay as far as downed trees go on the trail were concerned. We lost the trail once in a clear-cut area. We got on a logging road and I thought the trail should be on the hillside above us. We turned back and finally found it. It was late when we found a place to camp. We found a small place flat enough to put up the tent. There was no water or feed for the horses. We could only feed them the grain we had brought. By the time we got the horses taken care of, the tent up and started dinner, it was dark. It had started clouding over in the afternoon. The weather didn't look like it was going to be too good for the rest of the ride. We rode around 22 miles that day, which left 24 miles to do the next day.
It was around 8 A.M. by the time we got on the trail. We were only ten feet from the trail and still could not see it, but we had to get going. It might have been a beautiful view if we could have seen through the fog. We were wet and cold all day long.
We came to one place where it was beautiful with all of the autumn colors, even with the rain. We were about seven miles from Snoqualmie Pass then. The section between six and seven miles out was the worst section of the trail. It was really rocky, and it was hard going on the horses. At one place I thought Joy was going over the side. I saw her horse lose footing with his back foot.
I though for sure they were going over backwards. He caught his balance again. Joy didn't know how close she came to going over the side. It is scary to see that and not be able to do anything about it. I know, how Joy felt when she thought I was Going over when we were in the Goat Rocks.
They need to mark that area so someone else doesn't end up out there like we did. I didn't have a map that showed the new logging roads. We rode up the road until we came to a "Y." I asked Joy what she thought about which road to take. We decided to take the new one that was above the trail. At least it stayed to the lay of the land we had just ridden back out of. We were about three miles from Snoqualmie Pass. When we ran into that mess, it seemed like a long way off. We found the trail at the end of the road.
We got to the ski area, but we could not see my rig. I was beginning to wonder if Connie had trouble getting there. I told her we would meet her where we left from when we did the Snoqualmie Pass section. Connie was there at the end of the trail. It was sure nice to see our "home away from Home" waiting for us.
We couldn't wait to get out of our wet clothes. After getting the saddles off, we put the horses in the trailer so they could get some hay. They hadn't had anything but grain to eat.
I drove over to the restaurant where we all had dinner. Joy and I bought Connie dinner for driving the rig for us. It was great to have it done for the year. Now I can think about the next part and if I would do it, or when I will do it.
P.S. It sounds like I did not like Pat, but that is not ture she is a very nice person. What it does point out is that you need to pick you packing partner very well. Do a lot of packing together before going on a long trip.