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.