September 7, 8, Antelope & Salmon, Idaho: Two Days on the Trail

Friday we rode up in the direction of where Pete said he once ran with the antelope – a bowl-like area that was covered in sage. It was overcast, which energized the horses.

 I decided that I now like trail riding more than road riding. It used to be the other way around. I enjoy (for instance) varied terrain, and as well, winding around the sage patches. I also like varied footing. And sometimes we come across strange stuff, like today, a cow boneyard. All the pieces were there – an anatomy student could have had a good time at this site. I know that Raudi also now likes trail better than road riding. Now when on the road, she plods along like the ride is something to endure.

 We got back from this ride rather late, so we took off late. We decided to take a side road, one that took us past the Challis earthquake site. Minimal interpretive information complemented information in our Roadside of Idaho Geology book. In 1983, there was an earthquake in this area – we could see where a scarp was formed – the ground in places seemed to fall six feet, creating a bank. I wish that we had a geologist traveling with us because there were so many differing types of rock and outcroppings. I would of course like to know more because then I would feel more one with the area.

 Rather than following the gravel road back to Route 93, we followed a gravel road 20 miles over to the Pashamori Valley. The road finally opened up to farmland and rolling hills. I sometimes get nervous wondering where we will camp, especially when evening approaches. However, we always find something, maybe because our needs are minimal. And once again, at 8 p.m. – dusk– we found what we were looking for – a clean campsite in a designated area with trees for highlining, an outhouse, and a flat grassy spot upon which to pitch a tent. An added plus – we could hear the Salmon River rolling along to our right.

 There were two stock trailers parked nearby. I went and looked inside one of them. The sight will always stay in mind. In one, about 20 heifers, all crowded together like sardines. I got the look – it was, please let us out. Made me feel bad. There must be better ways of dealing with livestock. Of course, there probably aren’t regulations for short term haulers. Just those driving the double decker death wagons.

 We have done so much truck/trailer camping that we are quite efficient. This comes in handy at the times in which we go to set camp late. Pete did what he does – set up the highline, and get dinner going. And I did what I do, set up the tent, set out the bedding, take the dogs for a walk. We both feed the horses and put them on the line. After dinner, we turned off our headlights, and observed the stars.

 We woke to slightly overcast skies and decided to ride up canyon to a nearby ranch. It was warm by the time we set out. We were obviously in desert county, and also had a climb. Had from higher up road, a nice view of the Salmon River and surrounding countryside. Saw a few dead snakes, and a live one. Ryder entranced by a lizard. Both dogs adept at hanging out in the shade, the shadow of the horses. At one point there was just one rock nearby. Ryder laid down in its shadow.

 We continued to climb. I went to ride in the sage, but went back to the road when I saw cacti. Horses were sluggish on the ride up, but more energetic on the ride down. Raudi did quite well going downhill, me too. I no longer hold on tight with my legs fearing that she’s going to buck; but rather, I focus my energies on maintaining my center of balance.

 Once back at camp, we sponged down the horses, ate lunch, packed up our remaining gear, and headed out. The trail wasn’t that much to my liking, but I liked the campsite. I would gladly have stayed another night, but having made the decision to head to Butte, Montana, moved on.

September 6, 2013: Antelope Guard Station, Idaho: Good Fences make Good Neighbors

 I don’t know if the above is true or not, but I do know that a carefully constructed fence is a thing of beauty. As we drive or ride, quite often Pete or I will say “nice fence,” to which the other will agree.

 Pete’s appreciation for a well-built fence most likely comes from having built one. Today we rode a considerable distance to check the fence in question out. It was six miles from where we’re camped, at Bear Summit (7,500 feet). It was a fairly direct ride, up a gravel road that these days is mainly used by ranchers and ATVers.

(There were a few stock trailers by the wayside, and one ATVer passed us all day.)

 We went around two cattle gates. We now have a routine. Pete gets off and hands me Signy’s reins, and then opens the gate. I lead Signy and Raudi through it, and he closes the gate before mounting up. We saw plenty of cattle, mostly Angus with a smattering of Herfords. Barbed wire fencing kept them in place, although it also (we noticed) kept a mother cow and her calf apart. Smart mother knew where the fence ended – baby followed on the far side and they were reunited. Word has it that the Forest Service has told ranchers that they need to move their stock to other places by October 1.

 We also saw a flock of bluebirds hanging out on wooden fencing. It was a gradual climb. There were at first no clouds in the sky, then a few wisps. A little bit breezy, which was good for the horses who now have winter coats and consequently break into a sweat more easily.

 As we hoofed along, Pete talked about living in the area and putting in fencing. I had not heard previously that he hit himself in the head with a post driver and needed to have stitches. The work itself sounded hard and tedious – it was much the same day after day except for the one day in which the crew went and got extra sand for the horseshoe pit.

 The fence was up on a ridge – we didn’t go clear to the end of the fence high on a hill, but I estimated that it was a half=mile distance. I must say, what a fence. Thirty years later, and it was as stout as when it first went in. The five barbed wire strands were still taut, and the posts were firmly in place. There were also metal and posts between the main wooden posts, adding additional support.

 I thought when I saw it that at the time an exceptional crew put the fence in. Otherwise, it would not be as stout. Of course, my thinking is that Pete (even then) took great care in what he was doing. The fence is also representative of a rites of passage, one in which he went from being a boy to being a man.

 Pete said that at the time that he hoped to eventually work for the US Forest Service, but because of then federal budget cuts, this was not meant to be. Instead, he went to college, wrote a dissertation about the rhetoric of the environment, and became a college professor.

 On the return trip, we did a detour and checked out Burnt Hollow, where Pete said that he once ran with an antelope. Then we came back to camp. Dogs and horses were tired, the dogs, in fact, crashed in the shade of the truck and trailer.

 I’m glad we came here; in fact, I will be sad to leave. The place has a nice feel to it, perhaps because many had a good time here. Sure would like to see the house and grounds of the Antelope Guard house restored.

September 5, 2013: Down Time

 This summer, we have spent considerable time pre-riding, riding, and post riding. There is of course always a great deal to be done. I define down time as time spent not engaging in these activities. These days I prefer to be riding. It takes my mind off thinking about Mr. Siggi. When I’m idle, my thoughts just go in that direction.

 Getting from Point A to Point B is one form of down time. Sometimes we listen to tunes, sometimes we point out scenic wonders to one another, and sometimes, like today, we talk. Today we headed in the B of the Antelope Forest Service Guard station in the late afternoon, all the while Pete was traipsing down memory lane. You see, Pete worked for the U.S. Forest Service 30 or so years ago, when he was 19. So he wanted, on this trip, to return and see how the area had changed.

 I was quite okay with this because this was Pete and not my traipse. I am not one for reliving the past. It is true that as one ages, one does spend more time in the past. It is why, for example, people go to their high school reunions in their later years. Anyhow, this visit is about Pete’s past, and I am enjoying seeing the setting of so many of his stories.

 We got here and discovered that the single story white house he once lived in is in a state of disrepair. It’s really a shame – it and the two other outbuildings are going downhill fast. Too bad, in part because at some point in time, someone put time and care into the buildings and property. Why anyone would let it deteriorate is beyond my comprehension.

 We didn’t have much time to explore because a storm was rolling in. So we hopped in the truck – more down time – and waited it out. I wrote a bit, read the New York Times, and cringed when hearing the thunder rumbles. We’d high lined the horses in the trees—of course I fretted about them.

 I also thought some about the nature of memory, and how it fails us when we most need it. At the same time, things change in our absence. It must be that we compensate for this by supplanting the new with the old. Pete, for example seems to be okay with the fact that things aren’t exactly as he remembers them to be. For instance, he said the rooms of the house were smaller than he thought. And there is no longer a horseshoe pit on the property.

 I guess that our being mentally adaptable is sort of a survival mechanism. Otherwise, we would become disoriented upon returning to old haunts. And then we’d lose it. Can’t have that happen. The alternative would be to keep moving forward. But sometimes you have to go back in time. It’s then that past and present intersect.

Tomorrow we are going to ride up road and check out the fence he and his co-workers built. I have a feeling that it will be much the same, for it sounds like they did a good job building it. You never know though. Could be that the powers that be tore it down and put in a subdivision. The only way to find that out is go and check it out.

http://www.alysculhane.com/dispatches/Daily_Dispatches_2013/daily_dispatches_2013.html

 

September 4, 2013: Mackay’s Mine Hill Tour-on Horseback

 Today we decided to do something a bit different and settled on doing a tour of the Mackay Mine Hill area. Pete spotted the information about the tour on a kiosk outside the rodeo ground. I was dubious because it appeared to be total guy stuff. But Pete’s suggesting that we do this by horseback (of course) appealed to me. Any excuse for a ride.

 Last night we picked up a map at the local Chevron station. It noted that the tour is sponsored by the South Custer County Historical Society and the White Knob Historical Preservation Committee in conjunction with the City of Mackay, Custer Country, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management.

 It’s a self-guided tour of mining locations. According to map information, the mine hill is the most significant part of the Alder Creek Mining District. Ore was first discovered in 1878, meaningful production began in 1884, and ore was mined into the 1980s. Almost a million tons of ore have been removed over the years, yielding about 42,000 ounces of gold, 2,000,000 ounces of silver, 62,000,00 tons of copper, 15,000,000 pounds of lead, and 5,000,000 pounds of zinc. Geological sampling still occurs, and mining could resume at any time.

 The tour consists of three distinct routes, red, green, and blue routes. We decided to mix and match, so as to cover ten or so miles, a comfortable distance for the dogs and horses. We were most interested in checking out the railroad trestle, so our cobbled together route included this.

 So this morning we set off, driving the trailer about a half mile outside of town to the vicinity of where the tour began. We took a lunch, rain gear, and the veterinary kit. The first stop, which was close, was the smelter site and hard rock mining exhibit. It was (we discovered) the home base of the Shay mining railroad and location of the ore hauling aerial tramway and tramway unloading terminal. It featured the restored Shay engine house, a blacksmith and machine shop and an eight hole outhouse. I went to check out the latter with Raudi in tow – she badly wanted to step inside, but I erred on the side of caution and kept her outside.

 We next rode up to the aerial tramway and towers. We learned that the tramway operated on gravity power; the loaded ore buckets going down pulled the empty, or often loaded with equipment ore buckets back up. Most of the 26 tramway towers have been dismantled or fallen down, but enough remain to get a sense of how this portion of the operation worked.

 It was after checking out site #2 that we wisely decided to continue the tour on foot. It was hot, and the horses’ winter coats are coming in. For this reason they were less than enthused about walking up road. It was actually a good hike – along the way to the top we checked out the Cossack Tunnel and Compression building, the White Knob Townsite, The North Bullion Tunnel, the Aerial Tramway Headhouse, and the Alberta Level and Tunnel Site.

 Finally, after lunch, we came to the Shay Railroad Bed Overlook, which took us along a wooded ridge. Here we were in the shade, so we climbed back on the horses. This was the most enjoyable portion of the trek, with the Shay Railroad Trestle coming in a close second. According to interpretive information, the trestle was built by the White Knob Mining Company about 1901 as a part of the electric railroad system used to shuttle ore and supplies between the mines and smelter. It spans 105 feet, and is 25 feet tall. It was initially required to support the load of the electric motor engines and ore cars, but in 1905 the heavier, more powerful coal fired 140 ton Shay trains were put into service.

 The entire rail system gave way to the gravity powered aerial tramway in 1918. The trestle was a popular tourist crossing until it was condemned in 1998. It was rebuilt in 2002. The newer trestle resembles the old, except for the fact that there are now side rails for safety and traffic restrictions to vehicles over 50 inches in width.

 The interpretive information also indicates that this is a great photo site. Well, we took advantage of this, and took innumerable photos of Raudi and Signy crossing the span. Neither were bothered by the plonking of the planking or the height. Raudi did figure out that we were pretty high up, and three quarters of the way across, her eyes did get a bit bulgy. Otherwise, it was business as usual.

 We walked a good portion of the way down because it was very steep and there was a lot of loose gravel. But we did stop and check out the Empire Ore Bin Location – a pile of rubble and a stone wall are all are remains of the bins which were built about 1905.

 Finally, the road became less gradual. It was then that we resumed riding, ending our trek back at the trailer. The dogs immediately sought shade under the trailer, and the horses dozed as we untacked them. A good day’s ride – something a bit different for us all.

 For pictures, see the 2013 dispatches at http://www.alysculhane.com/dispatches/Daily_Dispatches_2013/daily_dispatches_2013.html

 

September 3, 2013: Could you Live Here?

 This is a common question that Pete and I sometimes ask one another half-jokingly, sometimes not. It’s a question that actually has become more commonplace in the past year or so because we are seriously considering relocating the Lower-48, aka America.

 There are many reasons for this. First of all, the political climate in our neck of the words is unfavorable, and it doesn’t appear as though it’s going to get any better. Related to this is the fact that the entire area could in the next ten years become coal mine territory. Fighting this is like taking on Godzilla and Mothra both with single toothpicks.

 We also both have a desire to be closer to our respective family members. Funny how that works. But it’s something to consider. Additionally, it seems now (after ten years) that a teaching job is not going to materialize for me where we are currently living. Consequently, we both agree that our having a double income would enable us to do more traveling without ending up in the poor house.

 It will break my heart to leave Squalor Holler, a place into which we have put considerable sweat equity. But the reasons for moving keep popping up like the targets at the fair rifle arcade. For instance, there is also the horse thing. Hay prices continue to climb. I’d also like to have access to competent riding instructors and other Icelandic horse owners. It would also be nice to be a member of a healthy regional Icelandic horse club. Additionally, the prospect of having a decent trail system outside the door is a motivator to look elsewhere for a place to live.

 This morning we went for a ride outside of Mackey; we rode the Trail Creek trail. We went for many miles without seeing a soul. We were in a canyon, we rode upward, were surrounded by aspens and sage. Had a view of odd rock formations, and high peaks. Unlike at home, we didn’t have to deal with ATV users. We saw two vehicles with ATVs on rear trailers, but that was it. Of course, as we were trotting along, I considered living in this area.

 Later, Pete went over to the Forest Service office and I went over to the real estate office, which had postings in the windows. I discovered that there are many affordable parcels in this area. However, there are no colleges or universities. Have to have that. If not for work-related reasons, at least for intellectual stimulation.

 Prices ARE lower here than in the Teton Valley area. I suspect that eventually I’ll find the best of all worlds.

 In the meantime, we are spending the night at the Mackey rodeo grounds. The pens here have large rebar rails and are semi-clean. Showers are padlocked though. Might mean a trip to the combo laundry/shower facility. A storm is in the nearby mountain range and heading our way. Very windy. So we are sitting in the truck, Ryder between us, sleeping. I am writing this dispatch and Pete is reading yesterday’s New York Times. Rainbow is in the back seat, and the horses are still in the trailer.

 Tomorrow we’ll head in the direction of Challis, Idaho. The animals are all doing very well. We are adjusting to Ryder’s way of being—moments of intense excitement punctuated by moments of intense sleep. I like it when she sleeps, for she is then quite cute. I’m sure that many years ago, my mother thought the same thing about me.

For pictures, see the 2013 dispatches at http://www.alysculhane.com/dispatches/Daily_Dispatches_2013/daily_dispatches_2013.html

September 2, 2013: Cow Paddy Camping

And so here we are, camping by the side of a forest service road, in an area that has innumerable cow paddies. The dried out and gloppy piles are almost evenly spaced, as if left by alien cows. Bovine land mines for sure. Step on one and new shoes are ruined. Dogs love them though. They are fun to eat, and even more fun to roll in.

 In all fairness to Ryder, she’s getting better about this, maybe because she’s gotten her fill. Absolutely disgusting for, sure. As for Rainbow, she has better things to do with her time, like chase cows away from camp.

 Most of the people I know would not camp here. Admittedly, this place is a far cry from a Day’s Inn, and an even further cry from a Marriott. That is, unless you’re a stock person and smell like cow dung. However, places like this do have their perks. First of all, I can hear a creek. And when I look up, I see foothills with odd rock formations. And to my left, aspens are shimmering, a sign that the wind is blowing softly, meaning less bugs.

It gives me great joy to see our tidy camp, complete with horses on the highline. They are eating their dinner in what appears to be a contented fashion.

 It was another day in which the animals all again proved to be adaptable. We loaded up the horses and dogs at 9 a.m. and left the Moose Creek Trailhead area. We then headed on over to Driggs, where we went grocery shopping. Pete picked up a New York Times, and I got caught up on the news. The Syria situation does not sound good, but Serena Williams is kicking butt again.

 We drove from Driggs to Arco, lots of flat land, being farmed – hay, potatoes, wheat. Then outside of Mackey we took a forest service road to where we are now camped. The campsite was adjacent to the road – we went for a ride before even setting up the tent and highline. The dogs of course came along. I got a scare when Rainbow disappeared down into a creek bed and entered a culvert. I thought she was a goner. It took a few seconds but she emerged on the other side, unscathed.

 So all in all, a good day. Tomorrow we’ll do another ride in this area, then head in the direction of Salmon. From there we’ll head on over to Montana. Got a real estate guide and are now looking at property in this and other areas.

 For pictures, see the 2013 dispatches at http://www.alysculhane.com/dispatches/Daily_Dispatches_2013/daily_dispatches_2013.html

September 2, 2013: Hardship

 Pete has repeatedly told me that hardship sells. I hate to admit this, but he’s right. It is what keeps readers reading. The death of Siggi notwithstanding, it has been a hardship free summer. We have had some amazingly good summer what with our meeting many fine people and riding many wonderful trails.

 There in fact has been so little hardship lately that I have had to look hard in order to find any of worth to write about. The most recent ride, to Moose Meadows, is a case in point. It was a beautiful ride. Started out on a bridal path trail, and ended up in an alpine meadow. Along the way, we climbed some – there were some rocky sections, but nothing to write home about. The horses were happy, and so were the dogs.

 Minor hardship on the trail. Came to a creek in which at the center it was knee deep on the horses. Raudi plunged right in, Signy followed. Rainbow was right behind. Ryder, on the shore, raced back and forth. Rainbow waded into the water, in an attempt to convince her it was okay going, but the little dog did not believe her. Finally, Pete went back across the stream on Signy, and Ryder finally followed.

 More minor hardship in camp. Unpacking, I realized that oh oh, I lost our ditty bag containing toothpaste, dental floss, tooth brushes, wash cloth, soap, and soap container. Oh oh. As I announced this to Pete, I felt the bacteria multiplying in my mouth. A night without flossing, unthinkable.

 And minor hardship in the tent. While at Sarah’s we got a second Big Agnes tent—this was after the zipper blew on one that was only a month old. We had two options – we could go with the big Big Agnes or the small Big Agnes. We chose the small Big Agnes because we figured that we wanted to do a few more multi-day trips. Perhaps a mistake. What we didn’t take into account was that there was no room in the new tent, a smaller Big Agnes, than there was in the old tent, which was a mid-sized Big Agnes.

 We tied the dogs up outside, before going to bed. Upon crawling into bed, Rainbow began barking, and Ryder began growling. It went like this: roof, roof, roof, growl, roof growl, roof, roof, growl, roof. Pete told Rainbow repeatedly to shut up, this of course did no good at all.

 I found myself, of course, wishing I had my ditty bag, which contained ear plugs, but no such luck. Roof, roof, growl, roof, roof, roof, on it went.

 Pete finally suggested that we bring both dogs into the tent. My response to this was to curl into as tight a ball as I could, in order to avoid the canine onslaught. So this is what we did. He unzipped the tent, and unclipped both dogs from their leads. Both then came tearing into the tent, Rainbow to the rear, and Ryder to someplace in between.

 Amazingly, both dogs settled in. I remained curled up in ball most of the night because I did not want to disturb Ryder, who was at my feet. Being a puppy and one who had never before slept in a tent, she could easily have been all over the place. I was surprised that they were as quiet as they were. Made me realize that Rainbow was jerking our chain. She just wanted to be in the tent.

 Some might rightfully say that we brought this hardship on ourselves. First, there was Rainbow, who up until recently has been hard headed. And now there is Ryder, who is soft headed. Furthermore, what do we expect, going horse trekking with not one, but two dogs?

 I must say that it’s clearly an instance in which the joy of canine ownership is outweighing the angst of canine ownership. The very best part of canine ownership is, at the near day’s end, watching both tired dogs collapse and go to sleep. It is then that I know that I’ve done my job, which is to tire them out.

 Last night, I found myself hoping that their dreams were as sweet as mine.

 For pictures, see the 2013 dispatches at http://www.alysculhane.com/dispatches/Daily_Dispatches_2013/daily_dispatches_2013.html

 

August 31, 2013: The Life of a Ranch hand

Today we drove over to Linn Canyon Ranch where Tyson (Peter Linn’s ranch hand) was to shoe Raudi and Signy. Back down teeth rattling road, then through Driggs, to our destination. Tyson immediately dropped what he was doing in order to give us an assist.

 He was helping others who worked there in preparing for a 170 person wedding. Cars were going up and down the long driveway. It was a busy place. The thirty or so horses in a nearby paddock seemed oblivious to the goings on, as did the two percheron horses tied to a nearby fence.

 As Tyson worked on Signy (who was letting it be known she did not want him to mess with her rear feet) Peter appeared and offered to give me a tour of the place. Peter is the fellow we met at Coyote Meadows who attempted to locate Ryder’s owners. Like then, this time he struck me as a rather introspective individual who prides himself on doing his job well. And what a job. There is the commercial pack horse business – and at the same time there is the day-to-day workings of an 80 acre ranch.

 Peter first took me into the horse paddock, and introduced me to a handful of the Linn Creek ranch horses. At the same time he talked, he was looking them over, in order to see how all were doing. The stock including halflingers, mustangs, and appaloosas. One horse had a wart in its ear, another a proud flesh wound, and yet another a bite on its rump. All, Pete noted, half to himself, would soon be taken care of. He added that he’s hoping that when his sister Courtney finishes veterinary school in Corvallis, that she’ll also work on the ranch horses.

 We went into the tack room after the horse portion of the tour. There I was shown Peter’s uncle’s artifact collection – drawers of Indian arrowheads and the like. Apparently, the ranch is located where a major battle involving the Blackfoot Indians once took place. In the near future, there may be an archeological dig in the area.

 I next followed Peter into the lodge. There I met Ramsey, who is his former girlfriend. I was eager to meet her, for I’d heard that she’d ridden horses from Colorado to Oregon, a trek that took her three years. As Peter is handsome, Ramsey is beautiful. And at the same time, equally articulate. We talked for some time about the difficulties and joys inherent to long-distance rides. She noted that she had two horses die on her ride, one of Patomac Fever. As we concluded our conversation, she introduced me to another hand as a “long rider.” Oddly enough, this made me feel good – like I was the real deal.

 Peter next took me upstairs, and showed me the entertainment portion of the lodge. He additionally pulled forth a photo from behind the bar of the stead before they began work on it. It was just a picture of a rundown shack. He added that none of the other buildings were then up either.

 Peter and I wandered back in the direction of Tyson and Pete. Pete was holding Raudi and Tyson was sizing rear shoes. Raudi behaved, but quite clearly was more interested in the goings on in the horse pen. If she had her druthers, she’d be mixing it up with the herd. Signy, now tied to the hitching post, didn’t seem to give a rip about the rest.

 Tyson did a good job with the shoeing. Because he has a full head of brown hair, Tyson looks far younger than he is. (When I mentioned this, he proudly said that he’d been cared the evening before.) Tyson lives nearby, and does farrier work and other things around the place. But he readily conceded that he would instead like to have a television show, one in which the subject is cooking on the trail. In the meantime, he shoes horses.

 As we were talking, Peter loaded four horses into the stock trailer, and then returned and said good bye. He was heading out to the trail to pack out the Forest Service in the morning. He just needed to get out, he said. As he left, I got the sense that he’s a fellow with a lot on his mind these days. I suspect that keeping the ranch afloat financially is always an iffy preposition. Pack trips and weddings and trail rides can’t bring in that much money. Plus, taking people on pack trips is a risky business. I don’t at all envy him.

 The grand finale of our visit was watching the two percherons pull the covered wagon made by an Amish fellow. They were being primed for the next day’s activity, which was going to involve moving the bridal party from up the road to the wedding site. Amazingly, Billy and Bob, who were a matched bay pair, moved in unison, stride by stride.

 We said our good-byes, with me thinking that it would be tough, making a living as a rancher. Tending to four horses (as opposed to sixty) is more than enough work for me. And, I (as does Peter) have the gene.

 For pictures, see the 2013 dispatches at http://www.alysculhane.com/dispatches/Daily_Dispatches_2013/daily_dispatches_2013.html

 

Thursday August 30, 31, Teton Canyon: Two Great Rides

 My friend Marj Weathers recently remarked on email that Pete and I are living the dream. I now must concede that she’s right. How lucky we are to have access to some of the absolute best trail riding on the western side of the Rockies. Of course, yes, I would prefer to be tolting the divide in a more linear fashion, but doing it in a non-linear fashion is the next best thing.

 We wanted to check out Teton Canyon, so this is where we headed – to get here we had to first drive a considerable ways on a teeth rattling gravel washboard road – this lead to a forest service campground with a horse corral. Everything has a price, and the price here was that the pen needed to be cleaned. I am not talking a few piles of manure; but rather, a few layers. Just another instance in which people have not taken the time to clean up after their animals.

 Yesterday morning we rode the North Teton Canyon trail and today we rode the South Teton trail. Both were challenging but do-able rides – the terrain somewhat rocky and somewhat steep.

 Met up with hikers on today’s ride. They weren’t as friendly as they were in other places. This may be because we are being accompanied by a boney and very lively puppy. Ryder thinks that everyone is her friend, and it’s hard to dissuade her otherwise. I apologized profusely to all we met, explaining that we’ve had her less than a week. If there’s an upside to this, it’s that she’s figured out now that she belongs to us, and so after saying her hellos, she bounded off to catch up with us.

 Thankfully, Rainbow is now a model dog. There is one of two reasons for this. The first may be that we now have a basis for comparison and are seeing just how good she is. And the second may be that finally, she really is an obedient trail companion.

 We ate lunch on a large granite outcropping. Pete checked out the canyon with my monocular and I took photos. Then I checked out the canyon with my monocular and he took photos. The horses, who’d been tied to trees, waited quietly for us to return.

 After lunch the going got increasingly more rocky. I finally said that I was getting nervous, so we headed back down trail. The way down required that the horses pick their way down a rock strewn trail. Both Raudi and Signy did really well. I am pleased that Raudi is becoming more adept at this. At times it seems like we are just floating along, which is always the case with Signy.

 Thunder and lightening and rain as we were coming back through the meadow. This energized the horses; however, they remained calm and walked quickly. We passed a hiker and his pack goat who were hanging out under a tree.

 I find that I am still missing Siggi. We saw some scree as we were eating lunch, and the memory of his passing came back to mind. I now know this is going to happen now and then. But at the same time I am grateful to be in the presence of Pete and as well my canine and equine traveling companions. All bring me great joy, and this is what I need to continue to focus on as we continue with our adventure.

 For pictures, see the 2013 dispatches at http://www.alysculhane.com/dispatches/Daily_Dispatches_2013/daily_dispatches_2013.html