Friday, July 30, 2010

Pack Trip: Day 2

Sunday morning dawned cool and clear. We turned the boys out for breakfast at 6am, and set the coffee to brewing. Breakfast consisted of eggs, taters, and sausage, none of which was freeze dried, I might add.

Morning sun over the ridge.

Breakfast of Champions

If you look real close at the center of the photo, you will see a Blacktail Deer.

After the animals had been given adequate time to graze, we saddled up for a short ride. I ponied Potter this time, which meant we were following Dempsey. Given his choice, Smokey will have his nose in the tail of the horse/mule in front of him. As it turned out, Dempsey does not particularly care for this habit. Which meant that on a couple of occasions Smokey and I got a clear view of a pair mule shoes. Fortunately, he wasn't firing for effect. Just the occasional warning shot.

Mt. Rainier, again. (You were warned)

This smaller peak is known as Little Tahoma.

We rode to a small meadow that was once the site of The Tin Shack, which was a hunting cabin. Due to the efforts of environmentalists and assorted other Dudley Do Rights, cabins are now strictly forbidden in the wilderness. The USFS has gone to great lengths to find all such structures, and burn them to the ground. Seems a shame to me.

Home in time for a long lunch and dinner.

Steak and baked potatoes cooking on the fire. I will never backpack again.

Beer in the fridge. Buck's favorite, Bud Light (NOT!!) The water flowing in these mountain creeks is bitter, make your hands hurt cold. Perfect for refrigerated items.

While cooking the steaks, I looked up to see this scene. All is well. Or is it?

A few minutes later, I looked up again, only the scene was much different. Smokey and the mules were gone! Sunny D was looking up between the trees you see in the above photo. Ever the master of understatement, I looked at Double C and said "the horses or headed up the hill. Is that a bad thing?" He looked at me, and, in an equally understated tone, said "yes".

I took off running across the meadow, all the while thinking "if I lose my horse, Mrs. BR is gonna kill me". Double C paused long enough to move the steaks off the fire (mustn't ruin dinner), and, as he later relayed to me, by the time he looked up, I was already out of sight.

I caught up to and passed Sunny D, who was still standing looking up the hill between those trees. I caught a glimpse of Potter's butt disappearing through the trees, so I kept going. Now, while the animals were hobbled, for seasoned backcountry stock, hobbles are but a minor inconvenience, which, at best, will only slow them down a touch.

I fully expected to find Dempsey the mule to be the ringleader of this outfit, as he had already proven to be quite mischievous. Imagine my surprise, upon breaking out of the trees, to find 'Ol Smokey Joe leading the charge. I'll be dipped...I called his name. He paused, and looked at me with an expression that left little doubt as to what he was thinking. "The hell with you cowboy, we're bustin' out of this joint". Fortunately for me, the hill he had chosen for the Great Escape was rather steep. After a few bounds I caught up to him, and pounced on the end of his lead rope.

Show over. By this time, Double C had joined the party. He gathered up the mules, and we towed the miscreants back down to the meadow.

The steak, baked potatoes, and beer made for a fine dinner.

I don't know, but I think he looks just a tad guilty.


WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

I'm not sure that's a guilty look ...I think he's looking at you and thinking, 'he only has two legs, how did he catch me?!' LOL

Buck said...

I used mountain springs in Scotland (and other places) as refrigeration, too (but not for Bud Light). As you said: works GREAT!

Great pics yet again. I can almost smell the steaks cookin', and that's a wonderful memory.

Andy said...

Dave, when I read, "if I lose my horse, Mrs. BR is gonna kill me," I literally chortled!

A major guffaw!

I'm enjoying this.

Jessica said...

I think it's more than a "tad" guilty. Ha!

Looks like a great trip, and how are you supposed to resist taking pictures of that lovely majestic mountain? I couldn't, that's for sure.

Kris, in New England said...

I'm with the others - that is most certainly not guilt on that boy's face.

Revenge - is more like it.

Beautiful pics once again. It all looks so peaceful and serene.