Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It's that time again... Resolutions

BI'm one of those people that writes down resolutions the first of each new year then doesn't actually look at them until the eve of the next year, when I arbitrarily determine I need a new set of resolutions (even if I've failed to accomplish the one's I had set for the exiting year). So in honoring and continuing that tradition, let's look at what I wanted to do  in 2014 (see if they happened) and write down some resolutions for 2015.

For 2014 my resolutions were:
1. Travel. I traveled. To expos and to different states. To new restaurants and new places.
2. Ride my horse somewhere new and different. I went to an ACHTA ride in Prescott,Washington. We rode through the Broetje Apple Orachard; miles of apples along the Snake River.
3. Learn how to properly work my new DSLR. Check.
4. Continue to keep a healthy body weight and maintain muscle tone. Sure??
5. Read at least a novel a month. Perhaps. I didn't keep track. I can however tell you that my favorite book of 2014 was Unbroken.
6. Craft. Painted a lighthouse in oil. Took 2nd at the county fair.
7. Work with Kiwi (my new baby horse). Of course.
8. Learn to do something new. Not that I can think of off the top of my head.
9. Learn how to properly drive a team. That way, eventually I can purchase a new draft horse or mule team and use them at the lodge, in parades, etc. I did AND I purchase my first draft mule team - Kit & Kat!
10. Try a new equine sport. I didn't really get the chance to do an endurance race or anything like that. Next year maybe?

2015 Resolutions:
1. Work hard at my new job.
2. Eat healthier. I want my body to last.
3. On that same note, drink more water.
4. Go on an actual date. 
5. Start exercising more, like run a 5k or do some crunches.
6. Start new friendships and keep old ones alive.
7. Travel.
8. Learn something new.
9. Ride my horse new places.
10. Be nicer to myself.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My life

What have I done to my life? I've moved myself to California and am going to be living in a tiny home. (Literally. See here: Tiny House Movement)  I think I'm annoying the person I live with. I work at a vets office; and I know nothing about veterinary work.  I probably threw away the greatest thing ever.

What have I done to myself?

Thursday, December 18, 2014


I've not blogged in a very long time, which is funny because so much has happened. Like the fact I moved to California. Or got a job at a veterinary clinic. Or now live someone who used to work for me. 

Life is funny how is can change on you, no?

This change has been very difficult for me and I assume that it will conure to be difficult, especially as summer nears.

So, why did I change everything up? That's a great question. I guess I wanted a change... Needed a change perhaps. I still feel unsteady most everyday but I think this is the right place to be right now. I do wish I was home for the holidays in all the snow at Cornucopia. I won't get be around my family which is sad, but I am around great friends. I have a chance to participate in a lot of events and festivities, like tonight Jane and I are heading to Bayside for a Christmas service. It should be loads of fun!

I'm hoping that my feelings settle and I am reassured this is the right decision. Plus now that I've admitted to living in California I think I'll be back to blogging more. Hopefully.   

Friday, November 21, 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Woman of the West

I am a woman of the west and these are some of my thoughts:

For as long as I can remember I've been riding horses and pulling pack strings in the Eagle Cap Wilderness of northeast Oregon; where within the span of a day you can go from rolling hills of sage brush, to lush evergreen forests, to steep granite peaks.

Growing up we raised registered black angus cattle. As a small child I taught my first bull calf Buster to play the game of "tag." As it turned out this wasn't the brightest idea when he turned into a 1,700 lb  full grown bull.

I grew up just outside of a small town, but with our numerous ranches and vast acres on the main homestead it seemed like the world was my playground. And it was. I would wake before the sun, pack a lunch in my saddle bags, and ride the range until dusk. I often wonder what my mother thought about this ordeal.

Work. I know the feeling of a sweat drenched shirt, callused hands, and cut up arms. I am strong. As a wilderness guide and packer I can easily lift things that weigh more than half of my body weight. However, this said, I know what a sore back and sore muscles feel like.

I love the mornings. One of the most beautiful things is to watch the sun come up and greet you. The air is clear, the day is not yet cluttered, and it is the start to a new beginning.

My horses are my passion but also my live hood. I have put horses down, lost a horse in the wilderness to a high line, and also lost (I like to say "misplaced") eighteen head. Those eighteen mules and horses wandered the Eagle Cap Wilderness only to be collected weeks later.  Some would show up in a ranchers field, a few wandered into town, several came back to the pack station, and two mules ended up in Enterprise... the opposite side of the wilderness area.

One of my favorite spots in the entire Eagle Cap Wilderness is Pine Lakes, on the southern edge of the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Those three high mountain lakes are on an incredibly steep trail, but that every step of that trail is worth getting to those lakes. With the pristine granite and ever blue water it is an ideal place to take a dip, eat a hearty lunch, spend a week camping, or just take in the mountain air.

Dirt. I love dirt. Cover me in some good ol' brown Oregon dirt, add some pine needles, and you have more entire wardrobe almost complete.

A cowgirl has to have a truck. And I've never owned anything but trucks. From my first Chevrolet Silverado to my Ford Lariat I love those big ol' rigs. I've got the beautiful horse trailer for going to town but then I have my trusty stock trailer. Complete with dings, custom deer dings, and nonworking brakes.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Boring Old Life

Right now I'm getting ready to head into Baker with Windancer and Quincy to get their coggins test and health certificate. I think I'm going to send them to California for the winter. Window to heal and Quincy to sell. While Quin is a great horse we just don't "jive" and Windancer has a couple really bad abbesses and some shin splints that need to heal in a drier climate.

I've got a big to-do list between today and tomorrow that include cleaning my truck, prepping for the snowmobile expo this weekend near Seattle, taking the horses to the vet, cleaning, getting clothes washed and packed up, going to a snowmobile club meeting tomorrow night, mailing some stuff, picking up packages, then on top of that I need to go pull our summer camp at East Fork.  (I'm going to take all the mules that haven't been used lately and maybe ride Spirit or Payton up to that camp.)

Time to go clean out garbage and head to town. Hopefully nothing takes too long at the vets and I can be back here to continue to work on my to-do list.

Whew. It's a long day!

Friday, October 10, 2014


I made a website because my dad said I should. Check it : Backcountry Katlin

Let me know your thoughts/ideas/etc.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Unique Things in My Life

We call the grocery store in Halfway to find out what is happening in town or where someone might be.

In the winter 32 degrees in warm.

I can tell how warm it is outside by how many tries it takes the generator to start up.

Driving from Cornucopia to Baker City means driving from high alpine forest to farmland to sage brush and back to farmland.

I can tell which truck and trailer belongs to which rancher.

I've switched from 'heat' to 'A/C' and back in the same day. And changed from snow boots to regular shoes and back in the same day.

The seasons are: Almost winter. Winter. Summer. And dust.

If it doesn't have snow or hasn't recently erupted it's not a real mountain.

Driving on the freeway in snow is no big deal. In fact, I can put chains on all 4 tires in a little over two minutes.

I measure distance in hours. (30 minutes to the post office. An hour and a half to Safeway.)

If you call the wrong number it's ok. They'll give the right number. Or you'll end up having a lengthily conversation with a complete stranger.

The Feed and Seed (gas station) knows everyone by name. And everyone has a charge account.

It seems like everyone is related to everyone. Except us.

I spend most of the winter shoveling snow.

Can't pass a road grader because the on coming traffic is a tractor.

When we go to town, no one asks us where we live or what we do. They all know we live 'up the mountain' at Cornucopia.

When other people ask were we are from and we automatically tell them the larger town near by. (Baker City).

Making it home with warm takeout is impossible. We always end up re-heating it.

I live in a ghost town and have faster internet than most people I know.

Here's one for you. We have weird names in Oregon. Sequim, Puyallup, Issaquah, Umpqua, Yakima, Willamette, Wallowa, Umatilla, and Cayuse.

And those are just some unique things about my life...


I love my horse.

Just an Update

This week we had a women's spa ride at Cornucopia Lodge. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work. There were two highlights of the week for me; the first was spending time with Jane and the second was getting a facial. I loved that!

Hunters came out. Hunters came in. Rides went in and out. And everything went off well.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

12 Steps

I love this...

Long day in the Saddle

Yesterday was truly a long day in the saddle, roughly 28 miles and twelve hours in the saddle according to my GPS.  I went in to go get a 6x7 huge bull elk that one of our Blue Creek Bench guys downed past Fly Basin.  Although my back is now in a little bit of pain I got to ride one of my favorite trails, so that makes it worth it.  I think our hunters are feeling fairly successful and I hope that they are enjoying the weather and the hunting.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Packing Out Elk

Today I made the trek into Fly Basin again to get another elk from that archery camp. (They are killing it down there!) This time one of the guys downed a beautiful bull, so I imagine he's a happy camper. I love seeing happy hunters/customers.

Like usual I left early in the morning, but this time it never warmed up. In fact I had my jacket on for the entire ride, which ended up being ten hours in the saddle. 

Once I loaded up the elk at Fly I headed over to Blue Creek Bench to do a meat check and, sure enough, they had a cow down. Rather than make another long trip tomorrow I stacked hinds and fronts on the mules. Poor Jasmine was loaded down with a lot of meat! 

We made it out safe and sound from there. Now, the meat is all in town either being held or cut and wrapped.  I sure hope they continue to do well and I'm anxiously awaiting to hear from the Crater Crew... That's a long ass ride so I hope they down several at once to save me a trip. Wishful thinking? Perhaps. 

Now it's time for bed. All that riding then cooking dinner and doing dishes wore me out.  

Oh. Last but not least, I rode Quin and he didn't buck me off. Hooray! I'm sure that first hill took it out of him. Quincy learned today what it takes to be a guide horse, but mostly he just looked confused about the humans that blend in with camp.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Thoughts from the trail: Part One

It was just after the sun said it's final goodbye last night that I pulled into the packstation with a string of eleven mules and four horses. Talk about a train of animals! I had just made it back from Crater Lake, a ride that takes at least ten hours  by horse back if you're lucky. Thank goodness I have the best stock ever and they didn't so much as shift a load or get in a tangle. 

By eleven o'clock I was tucked away in bed ready to start the process all over again five hours later. Now it's seven thirty in the morning and I'm already making my way into the Eagle Cap Wilderness  to pick up an elk for one of our hunters. I only have two mules today so it's fast moving, but still a long ride. My whole for today is to get down to the Imnaha and back to East fork before making the group of hunters going in today with Jeff (a new hire). I don't want to pass them on a narrow side hill!

There are several benefits to riding this early in the morning. The first is that you see wildlife left and right. Elk, deer, hawks and eagles to name a few I've seen so far. The day also goes by faster when you start earlier. Don't ask me the logic behind that one, but it's true. I also love that you get to watch the sun slowly creep up over the granite peaks. 

Hunting season always provides the packer with long hours in the saddle but I'm thankful for ridges and modern technology that allows me to blog from the saddle. That's all for now and here is your morning view from the ridge top.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Summer Days Turn into Fall

Wait a second. Where did summer go? I can't believe that summer has basically come and gone... It doesn't help that the weather up here at the lodge has been acting like fall. This morning it was only 40 degrees outside and it's been raining nearly afternoon, but I hope it warms up soon because I'm not ready for fall yet. Plus I've got a big women's group coming in this week and I want the weather to be great for them.

Seems like I have a lot to do around this place and it doesn't help that I've been pretty stressed. Not to mention I'm dealing with a cold. We've had some employee issues and things just haven't been getting done, so it looks like I'll have to spend some time doing all the little things that aren't getting done. Which is fine. It's all part of being a manager.

I'm excited for this women's group to come up, mainly because my good friend Jane will be coming also. (It's always good when she's around!) Plus, it will be a good change of pace from doing day rides and pack trips.

Yesterday my friends Shannon and Dawn came up to the lodge to come ride. It was really nice to have some friends around, but I felt super bad because I was sick and probably complained a lot on the ride. Plus it was raining. More like hailing. And I was cold because I have a cold.  Geez. Can you tell I'm sick by the way I'm writing and the way this blog post is jumping all around? Hopefully it clears up because I'm going to run out of Kleenex's here shortly and we all know how far it is to the nearest town...

Tomorrow we have a big group for dinner and then a short break Wednesday before the busy weekend. For now though I'm going to head outside and put out some salt blocks for the horses. I do love those horses.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Nostalgic Horse Photos

Throw back Thursday... I'm getting all nostalgic over here. (And I'm sick therefore I'm digging through old photo albums and felt like posting them on my blog.)

Golden Nik Nugget... What a sweetheart he was.

Love of my life... Sir Lancelot.

Love this guy.

This gem is from my first jumping show ever. I was excited. I think.


4-H Camp with Nik.

Horse Love.

Trail class with Lance. Union County Fair.



Some more Lance love...

Blackie. (My first horse.)

Oregon State Fair. Love riding those gaited horses....

Zion National Park... Blueberry!
(At least that's what the back of the photo says.)

Nik... Showmanship.


Lance. He was a fantastic horse. I miss him dearly.
Now & Then. Other than the horse not much has changed.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Scout and his Stick

This is Scout. And the stick he was caring around all day today. Silly pup!

Mule Peak Lookout

Yesterday I traveled over to the South Fork of Catherine Creek Trailhead and packed some gear into the Mule Peak Lookout for the USFS. It was a longer day than it needed to be (for various reasons) but the view at the end was worth all of the effort.

Because I Can

Because this is my blog and I'm allowed to vent and be angry if I want to.

That being said, this post is going to be about the care of my horses and the horses we use here at the lodge and pack station.  First thing first... I want EVERYONE to know that I take great pride in the care and well-being of my animals.  Second thing, my horses have the best job in the world. They are legged up in May and June, ridden fairly hard between July-Septemeber in the Eagle Cap Wilderness, then to get to sit and eat until the following May. Doesn't sound too bad does it? Three months of work and nine months of getting to eat and relax.  Thirdly, you must understand that my horses are trained for this environment. They wouldn't do well in an arena. Heck, half the time they aren't even sure what flat ground is.

When you own as many horses as I do, some are always bound to get hurt. Please understand that if I have an injured horse I will do everything in my power to take care of that animal. I spend part of my day, every day, doctoring each little boo boo they get. I love them. They are all my babies. I know every quirk, every fault, and every aspect of each horse I own. And yes. They get bit by other horses. A lot. It happens in a herd environment. I would love to have a stall for every horse or let each horse have their own separate turnouts, but until I win the lottery that isn't happening.

Lastly, if you don't like my horses or my operation then don't bother coming back. I'm not forcing you to ride my horses or enjoy the beauty of the Eagle Caps.

So, to those nay-sayers that would like me to quit, I'm sorry to inform you that won't be happening. I love my horses (and mules!) and I do take pride in each of them. They are all amazing at what they do.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Pine Lakes - Drop Camp

The other day I took a drop camp into Pine Lakes. The ride was absolutely gorgeous and the packing went off without a hitch. I hope that the group I took into Pine Lakes enjoyed the ride and that they decide to come back and go in with us again.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Neglected Blog

My poor neglected blog. I have not forgot about you! I've just been extremely busy.

Since July 1st, my last post, summer has been in full swing. Wilderness Horse Camp has been busy and filled with young girls who are thrilled to be riding horses in the Eagle Cap Wilderness.  On July 4th I participated in the Haines Rodeo doing the cowhide race with a young guy that works for us. It was a crazy event and although we had fun, we didn't win. The darn cowhide broke!

Sometime after the fourth Jane and her husband arrived to spend a few quite days at the lodge before we hosted a 40 Something Cowgirl ride. It was a crazy, fun, maddening, hectic, enjoyable weekend. My favorite part was getting to spend time with Jane while she was here from California.

After the 40 SC's left, Jane and I went to Wallowa and I bought my very own mule team! I am so excited and thrilled to have a team. They are fabulous and have been perfect so far. I've renamed them Kit and Kat. Like the candy bar, KitKat.

I've also had the chance to ride with Darice and also go over to her place to practice with Kit and Kat.

I'll try to do a better job at blogging and posting photos!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Clearing Trail and Setting up Camp

Yesterday, my goal was to clear some trail with my fabulous friend Darice (who has been teaching me to drive mules).  But, before I even got the day started, I determined that if I was going to head all the way up East Fork I might as well take the camp up and get it set up too.

The morning started out by saddling six mules and rushing around to put together a backcountry camp. We finally got all the mules packed and loaded and started up the trail, although it was far later than I had anticipated.

There was a lot of sawing and moving of trees, but also a good share of laughter. I am so thankful that Darice was willing to come up and help me clear trail and set up the camp. (Even if I did manage to suck up a piece of bailing twine with the chainsaw and cause it to malfunction.)  East Fork camp is basically setup, but I'll have to go up again and cut some new tent poles. The snow this last winter was incredibly heavy and not only broke off numerous tree tops, but also demolished my second tent frame pecker poles.  The joys of winter continue into summer.

The long day ended with hamburgers at the lodge and Darice heading off the mountain. I might have a few blisters, but I'm certainly glad I can (semi) cross one thing off my list. Again, thank you to Darice. I appreciate your help immensely!

For now it's a warm shower and then off to bed.