Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pack Trip: Day 1

Double C and I had the horses and mules packed into the trailer by 6am, and we were off to the Government Meadows horse camp, where we would be leaving the truck and trailer. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky, with perfect temperature.

This was my first experience with pack animals, let alone mules. I could only imagine what adventure might lay ahead with the addition of these steeds.

As the saying goes "a picture speaks a thousand words, so I will let the photos tell the tale as we ventured into the Norse Peak Wilderness on the Pacific Crest Trail:

As you can see, I actually took this photo a week after we started, but I felt it to be a good starter for the story.

Smokey saddled up and ready go. He looks thrilled, doesn't he?

Dempsey (left) and Potter, the mules.

Double C and his saddle horse, Sunny D. Jessica will be glad to know that Sunny is an Off The Track Thoroughbred.

On the trail. The view ahead.

The view behind.

Watering the animals. I believe that this creek eventually becomes the South Fork of the Little Naches River.

Note how the branches on the trees do not grow very long. This is how they survive at this altitude (5000ft) against the heavy winter snowfall.

Mt. Rainier

Meadows like this spring up out of the timber frequently. While we didn't see any elk, there was an abundance of sign.

Smokey is none too thrilled about posing for a picture. So much grass to be eaten.

Airplane Meadows, at the top of the Arch Rock Trail (#1187)

The reason Airplane Meadows is so named. I can find surprisingly little info on this crash site, beyond the fact that it occurred in 1939. All that remains is the radial engine, and some pieces of the frame.

I never tire of looking at Mt. Rainier, so you will have to bear with me.

End of the first day. The boys hobbled out and dining on the lush green grass.

The day was uneventful. We only encountered two groups of hikers. One was a couple out for a day hike, the other group about 8 backpackers headed for the cabin at Government Meadows. We exchanged pleasantries and trail info with both groups, and headed on our merry ways.

It didn't begin getting dark until after 9pm, at which point we put the horses and mules on the highline, and turned in ourselves.


WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

What a great trip! Gorgeous pictures...

Bag Blog said...

I think I could look at Mt. Rainier all day long, too. Your mountains and trail ride make me homesick - beautiful, cool mountains! I have some "pack" stories. One has to do with meeting others pack animals on the trail - like llamas. Horses can be a bit weird around llamas at first meetings.

Andy said...

Dave, those photos are gorgeous! But from experience I know that pictures don't do that kind of country justice.

Man, I'll bet it was fabulous!

jill said...

Looks beautiful. Thanks for sharing the pics.

Buck said...

I never tire of looking at Mt. Rainier, so you will have to bear with me.

Like Lou, I'll bear with ya as long as ya like. I think the best thing about Rainier is it's visible from nearly anywhere in your part of the world. I know my eyes were drawn to its magnificence seemingly every three or four minutes when I was up in your neck o' the woods, BR.

Thanks for the photo essay; I'm most grateful and not a lil bit envious!

Jessica said...

Yeah! Let's hear for (way) Off-the-track-Thoroughbreds! That's awesome and it gives me a lot of new ideas.

I think Bar would rather be in the back country than the arena, so I have high hopes.

Joy M. Drennen said...

I am Jessica's mom. I haven't ridden a horse in over 40 years and I don't intend to start now. Besides, Jess wouldn't let me up on any of her horses! It's always great to read her blog and move on to others she suggests.

Natalie Keller Reinert said...


If I bring my own Off-Track Thoroughbred, may I PLEASE come ride with you?!

I am a city girl who has never been west of Chicago. But wow, I have a terrible desire to see these vistas from horseback.

And I simply love that you have an OTTB on the job.

Buckskins Rule said...

Jessica: I thought you would enjoy the fact that Sunny D is an OTTB. I think that, within their physical and mental limitations, most horses make good backcountry travelers.

Joy: Welcome to the site. I've enjoyed reading Jessica's blog for some time now, and we often compare the behavioral similarities between Lena and my horse Smokey.

Natalie: Bring that TB out here, and we'll show you those vistas in person. Trust me when I say that the photos do not compare to the panorama viewed in person.

Kris, in New England said...

I'm a tad late to this party but - dayum - those are gorgeous pics! I can look at stuff like this all day long, pictures or the real thing.

I would imagine the real thing takes your breath way.