Monday, July 29, 2019

Chief Joe Trail Ride - Onward to Musellshell

This had to be the fastest week ever! It seemed like I had barely left when it was time to say goodbye to my friends for another year, and we all load up and go home. To describe this years
experience I could overuse the word "amazing" very easily. We had our ups and downs, it wasn't perfect, but as someone said, "We weren't living in teepees and when we get to camp dinner will be ready for us!" Truer words were never spoken. It's all an adventure.

The Chief Joseph ride began in 1965 and this was the 55th year, taking place over the third segment of the trail. It takes 13 years to complete the entire trail and it averages 100 miles a year. This years total by an average of several GPS' was 113 miles!! Last year we ended at Tolo Lake near Grangeville, ID, and this year we ended at the historic Musselshell Meadows. We rode through thick forests with magnificent views through the trees, old burns, beautiful wildflowers, along scenic rivers, historic routes and places. Each night we had Nez Perce speakers to learn the history of the events and places along the way.

Our volunteer trail crews worked very hard to pull this one together as the snow melted late. They worked on trails every weekend for over 2 months. Thank you to Andy Shaw, AJ Smith and Ervin
Gross for all your work, and all the others who joined in to help them. Unfortunately Ervin was injured doing all this and then was unable to be there to share the week. His family did bring him up Friday afternoon and he got to visit with a lot of folks, which should help speed the healing process. So MANY volunteers on this ride that make it work and I can't begin to name them all. Imagine a point to point or progressive ride where EVERYTHING is loaded up daily and moved. The kitchen, dance floor, potties, water, you name it and it moves to the next days camp. AND we leave no trace as the camp ground and picket area is left spotless!

Words simply can't describe this event, one has to experience it. To those who think this is a simple trail ride, then come join us and you'll discover it is so much more! Next year is Lolo, which will be a true challenge in the tradition of the Chief Joe!
Appaloosas strung out along the rocky shore of the Selway River

A view of the lovely Nez Perce regalia seen in the Empty Saddle Ceremony

We rode many historic trails and this spot was about a mile from Musselshell

Peanut was ridden by one of the Scouts, Caleb Erickson, on Friday. 

Early morning fog rising off the pond and Musellshell Meadow

1 comment:

Ron Gardner said...

Thanks for this article and pictures. I'd never heard about this ride until recently and it sounds truly amazing. Does anyone shoot video on the ride? I'm too old now to do it but I'm retired from a career in TV news and I think this ride should be the subject of a documentary. :) Maybe that's been done already. If so, I'd love to know where I could see it. If not, maybe someone should talk to Bruce Reichert at Idaho Public Television (he does the Outdoor Idaho show) about doing something next year.