At least a dozen dispatch titles have popped through my head the past six hours. It was another tough day. I dunno. This trip, I’m having a tough time dealing with the uncertainty that goes hand in hand with our traveling on a non-linear route, one with poorly maintained trails and inadequate signage.
The day did start out in an exemplary fashion. Our destination was Cottonwood Lake, which is on the far side of Mt. Wagner pass. My calf was better, and so my stirrups seemed more even. We headed out and made it in short order to the top of Poker Hollow Pass. The pass was in a bowl like depression – there was some snow, just enough to make it fun for the horses, who pawed at it, and the dog, who had several good rolls. We ate lunch at the top, and Pete talked about his college years. I knew some of the stories, but not all.
We then headed down the north side. But shortly thereafter, the trail petered away to nothing. Once we got to the bottom, we still had not located the trail. We searched for it by horseback for some time, but we became distracted by two elk herds, one consisting of at least 100 head, and the other of about 50 head. They were at the distance, and when they saw us, they took off. Ryder, seeing as they were so far away, didn’t even bother to give chase.
We stopped on one side of a draw. I dismounted Tyra and began walking her, something I do when I’m uncertain as to the specific whereabouts of a trail. Finally, we agreed to set up camp, and from there figure out what to do next.
Pete, with map in hand, decided to take a hike. I said I’d stay with the horses who were highlined in a grove of pines, some alive, some not. The trees creaked in the wind, this made me uneasy. I read some, and wrote some.
I’d presumed that Pete would be back in 15 minutes or so. When, after a half hour, he did not return, I panicked. My imagination then began to run wild, like one of those Green Mountain mustangs. If something happened to Pete, I’d be in serious trouble. We hadn’t told anyone where we were going prior to doing this trip. And I wasn’t feeling confident about
The elk were curious but kept their distance.
The view back toward camp from Mt Wagner Pass.
The descent from Mt Wagner Pass to Cottonwood Lake was a no go.
my navigational skills. In other words, I wasn’t sure how I’d get back to our previous basecamp. And, additionally, Pete had the map in hand.
Quite obviously, I thought, I’m a bridle path kind of gal. I’m happiest when I’m riding on a well-marked trail, not far from civilization.
I went looking for him, and repeatedly yelled out his name. There was no answer. I returned to the campsite, and decided if he was not back soon, I’d cook dinner.
Pete returned, and I told him what I’d been thinking, in no uncertain terms. His response was he told me he was going to the top. The top, I said, was within sight. No, the top, he said, was over the ridge.
After much discussion we agreed that the next time I was to be left behind, he’d be more specific about where he was going, and also establish a time frame.
Anyway, Pete determined that going over the pass and dropping down to Cottonwood Lake was out – too much snow on the north side. So tomorrow we figure out what to do next.
Next: 194. 7/16/19: A Very Long Day