Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2019 >Daily Dispatch #189

July 11, 2019: La Barge Meadow

It was a very diverse ride today – both in terms of the terrain and the landscape. We went in search of the Lander Cutoff Immigrant Trail on the old Oregon trail. Recall that yesterday we hit several dead ends.

This morning we located the trail – a double track – and within minutes were smack dab in the middle of deadfall forest. Downed logs, silver grey in color and with twists like candy canes were everywhere. It was like walking through a field of large, single colored pick up sticks.

I was initially unsure how we were going to negotiate it – but as in playing pick up sticks, I took it a log at a time. The horses really seemed to enjoy it. I alternated taking the lead with Pete who was on Raudi, ponying Hrimmi. Ryder ran free, in search of marmots. I finally took the lead because I had a hard time watching what I called “pannier bashing,” which is the scraping of Hrimmi’s side bags against the still standing trees.

And in time, I got off and walked Tyra. My tactic in such matters is to go around deadfall that is too high or too branchy. Pete’s tactic is (when he’s walking) to break the log with your foot or cut it with the saw.

I tried Pete’s way and somehow managed to bruise my calf. I still haven’t figured out how I did this.

Pete Checking out Elizabeth Paul's grave
Pete Checking out Elizabeth Paul's grave at La Barge Meadow

Sign at Elizabeth Paul's grave
Sign at Elizabeth Paul's grave

Tyra was remarkable. She hopped over the taller logs with aplomb and vigor, and waited patiently when I stopped in order to figure out what direction I might go in next.
I got a bit whiny after a few hours of toolie busting because I did not see any end in sight. Plus, we were going uphill. And I did not see any signs of our immediate destination, Thompson Pass, in sight.

We finally did what I perceived to be an about face, and then had to deal with some rather boggy creek crossings. This was much to the dismay of Hrimmi, who planted her feet and would not move until presented with other, drier options. We tied up the horses and went up and down the creek bed, looking for the best place to cross. Pete finally found it, back a ways from our immediate destination, a nearby road.

We rode the dirt road for the rest of the day. It was cool midday but hot later on. At various times during the day, I found myself thinking about the early pioneers. They were so tough compared to us all. A good number of them died while on this journey. Many of them were woman and children.

We arrived at Elizabeth Paul’s gravesite. Her marker said that she was 32 when she passed on – she died giving childbirth. Her child was two years old. Geez – and here I am concerned about going through deadfall.

We passed up two possible campsites; one was the Wyoming Game and Fish building area. We agreed, the corral was too dilapidated and therefore unsafe. The second was a regular campsite with a picnic table. We kept going because in both instances we thought it was too early to camp. Finally, the ideal campsite materialized. It had what we were looking for – trees for highlining, good graze, water close by, and a flat tent spot.

Next: 190. 7/12/19: On the Lander Cut Off Trail

Horse Care Home About Us Dispatches Trips Alys's Articles