Saturday, July 28, 2018

Chief Joe part 2 - 2018

Wednesday I rode out on Peanut for day 3, and I couldn't even begin to tell you where we went. We went up hill and down hill, through the trees, rocks, deadfall, thickets, you name it and we had it. This was also the day of "the slide' which I was too busy trying to stay upright, unlike a few, so I don't have a good photo of this slip slidey vertical drop down to a creek. But it was dicey and it takes 110 horses a little while to get down something like that so we got a bit backed up.
Then down along a creek for a bit where we met the three bears. The cubs scurried up a tree and mama got a bit anxious. I had Peanut up front then and he just watched, probably because head scout's horse stood so confidently. I think AJ's horse has seen it all but it was new to Peanut. 
Somewhere out there was a big spring and three troughs that the horses all enjoyed. 
Wednesday PM camp was somewhere near Cottonwood, and we had a gorgeous sunset! 
Thursday began warm and sunny just like all the others. I think this was possibly the hottest weather I've experienced on this ride. Karen Vining took this one of us first thing in the morning as were getting ready to ride out. 
On this day the end goal was to drop the 2500 plus feet back down to the Salmon River in the bottom of Hells Canyon. As AJ said at dinner Thursday night, if you aren't going uphill, down hill, or in through the rocks, then you aren't going. Pretty much! 

We went by an old homestead, the site of the McCarvel School 1895-1934, a cool cabin, with an old steam engine, complete with a herd of cattle and a couple humongous bulls. 
Lunch was at a ranch and we had the last of the days shade before out 8 miles of down hill to camp just above the river banks. In some places the grade was easy but steep in others and we could see the river and camp way down below. And everyone enjoyed the respite at the river. 

Peanut had never seen a swimmer before. HAHA not sure how AJ did that with his hat and boots! 
I opted not to ride the last day. I'd been told it was very rocky, and even though I managed to keep boots on Peanut's hooves the Thursday, I felt like he'd been through enough rocks. Peanut had a lot of growing up this week, new experiences and he is quite the horse! Pretty proud of my boy. Friday's route left the Salmon, uphill as that was the only way, they'd go through Rocky Creek and Rocky Canyon and come out just shy of Tolo Lake with a short ride from the break to camp. 
I haven't said much about the support crew but let me add that they are all fantastic hard workers! Each day the entire kitchen, dance floor, etc is packed up. Those who tent get their stuff transported in the UHaul. The food is truly the best you will find in any fine restaurant, don't plan on losing any weight here let me tell ya! If you go away hungry it is your fault and no one else's! On the trail the scouts watch out for all of us and we have doctors, farrier and a wrangler with emergency supplies! If you want to know more about this awesome yet tough event check out

Chief Joe - Tolo Lake part 1

After some very last minute changes, plan C or D was scrapped, and Peanut and I set out for the 54th Annual Chief Joseph Trail Ride on Sunday July 22. Peanut, aka HH Storm Runner, is 6 now but this whole CJ experience would be very new to him. The "new" plan, since Lynn Welborn's horse had gotten injured on the 21st, was bring Peanut, and she could ride him a couple days and I could drive etc.
This years trail would be the only loop where assembly and destination camps are the same, as that is what the Nez Perce did during their flight from Gen. Howard in 1877. Tolo was an encampment often used by the Nez Perce in the 1800's, and they would race their horses on the prairies and hunt. Our route would take us down into Hells Canyon and back up again twice during the loop.

I rode day one as we left Tolo Lake and headed out around wheat fields that were once Camas prairies, and down ravines into the timber. We were treated to a big herd of elk right after Chip's wife said, "this looks like a great place for elk!" Boom there they were, haha!
Lunch was in some shade along a little creek. Peanut was a bit nervous with 117 horses but I eventually drifted to the rear, getting him out of the ruckus, and rode with Michele McGorky, the wrangler, with her pack mule. Peanut likes Perlita and she tolerates him, which is pretty good I'm told. At one point we had to all gather in a as tight a clump as we could and cross Hwy 95. That was scary. The crew was equipped with radios so we all knew when it was clear and safe to cross. We wasted no time in crossing and it resembled 117 horses leaving the starting gate! The water truck had horse water on the other side and Jeremiah Kraft and helpers had cold Gatorade for us! Then it was downhill to Whitebird battlefield and camp.

Monday night's camp was at a ranch adjacent to Whit Bird Battlefield. A total of 34 of Howard's men were killed but only 3 Nez Perce were wounded in this 1877 battle. The Nez Perce crossed the Salmon and the flight to freedom would run for months until the end at Bear Paw. The route is approximately 1300 miles and the organized Chief Joseph ride encompasses 100 miles a year and takes 13 years to complete. This is my fave photo of the whole week!!
On Tuesday my friend Lynn Wellborn rode Peanut. I'm not in the habit of loaning my horses but Lynn's horse had just gotten injured and she was heart broke. She needed some salve for the soul. She is a good rider and I trusted her so off they went. She had a good day with Peanut but had boot problems since I don't usually boot him, and wasn't planning on taking him to the ride, I didn't even know what size would work for him. The whole week was an unplanned experiment. So she only rode him one day. 
I drove that day up Doumacq grade. Whooweeee what a drive! Camp was some where on Joseph Plains. 

The picket line