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July 6, 2015: Leaving Grass Camp

It’s quite strange. Always, upon first getting to any camp, the terrain seems strange, and usually uninviting. Then in short order, it becomes familiar, a home of sorts. Why is this?

This was again true in this particular instance. We arrived at this camp last Wednesday—and the area then seemed foreign. The grass was knee deep. We waded through it, tied up the horses, and assessed the situation. It had trees for highlining, and there was just enough room for a half-dozen tents and horses.

We put up highlines – they crossed the area like telephone lines. We tied the horses to the highlines, and they trampled, pooped, and grazed down the grass. We erected tents and pulled a silver tarp over spruce pole lean to. This became our cooking/communal gathering area.

Kathy (the BCHA president) set up a porta-potty, so that people weren’t pooping all over hell and creation. This was good for me because with my back being sore, it was near-impossible to squat. It was also good for those of us who had dogs that like to roll in shit.

This morning, we dismantled camp—gear was put in bins, bags, and packs, and then tied and strapped to our horses’ backs.

Leaving the area felt like leaving home – I kept scouring the area for items that might otherwise be left behind. I found nothing. Yes, it felt odd to leave a place, a place that I’d shared with a large dysfunctional family.

I opted to ride Tinni out, well knowing that my side was barely up to the task. The trek out had a few painful moments, a bounce here, a misstep there, but good ole Mr. Tinni did not disappoint. He took me back to the roadside trailhead, following Hrimmi, who via the leadline, was attached to Raudi.

The higher trail was firm underfoot. The previous day, Tony Kavalock and company did some trail restoration at a creek crossing, so we did not (as we had to on the way in) deal with tree roots. We did have to deal with the muddy, oozy section, but because it had been dry, this did not cause us undue concern.

I became concerned, when farther down trail, we again had to cross a series of boggy sections. I tried not to picture it, a horse sinking into a bog like Jessica’s pony had done a few days earlier. I needn’t have given the matter any thought – Tinni picked his way carefully across the bad stretches and we both emerged unscathed. Afterwards, gloating, I said that I didn’t get any mud on my boots.

I was relieved to reach the trailhead, though I knew that we weren’t yet home free. This was because the trailhead was adjacent to the Parks Highway and accompanying heavy traffic. If a dog or horse darted into the road, they’d undoubtedly be killed. I by now had the dogs on leashes and a firm grip on the leashes. And though Tinni has never gotten away from me, I still held fast to his reins just in case he got a wild hair up his butt. I about got down and kissed the gravel when finally, Raudi and Hrimmi were tied up to the trailer.

Gear and tack were removed; horses were brushed, watered, and loaded into their respective trailers. There were, in retrospect, far too many horses (34) and far too many people (28) on this trip, thus increasing the likelihood that there would be an accident of some kind.

Our making it safely back to the trailhead filled me with great joy. I’d say that for me it was an okay trip because I didn’t get to do any day trips; rather, I just hung out at camp and directed traffic. However, my riding Tinni out was a good sign for it meant that in a few days I’d again be riding Raudi.

Next: 174. 7/7/15: Home on the Range

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