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July 16, 2019: A Very Long Day

It was a long, somewhat tough day. This morning Pete consulted his map, then said that the Salt River trail was a good option, given that the Cottonwood Trail was snow laden and in parts very step. It intersected with the Poker Hollow trail, meaning that we’d have to backtrack. So after packing up, off we went. I was dubious about our finding this trail and became even more dubious when we began doing some toolie bashing. We got lucky. We found signage, at the base of a tree, in some brush. It indicated that the trail was just ahead, to our right. We turned to the right, there was no clearly defined trail. By now I was wanting to return to yesterday’s starting point, the Poker Hollow campground. Pete, not to be deterred, said he’d continue on by foot and see if the trail might become

Pete and Raudi and  Hrimmi on the Salt River trail
Pete and Raudi and Hrimmi on the Salt River trail

more apparent. We tied up the horses and he and Ryder headed down trail, leaving me standing at the site of a pretty impressive waterfall.

He returned shortly, and announced that the trail was an eighth of a mile ahead of us. We mounted up. The horses were very cooperative, especially given that there was a water crossing every hundred yards or so.

We came to the end of the Salt River Trail after a few hour’s time, crossed a dirt road, and again found ourselves riding on the illusive Lander Cut Off Trail. It was by now late afternoon. We began scouting around for a campsite. The problem was that there were no creeks in sight. We did come across a stagnant swamp, and I deemed this an unacceptable place to camp.

We kept on going, and eventually we came to a field of daisies past their prime. We rode up through and along the field and finally came to a dirt road, one that would take us back in the direction of Poker Hollow. It was going well. The horses were chipper and the road, being a road, was easy to follow. Then the unforeseen happened. Two horses stepped out onto the road. A large, rangy chestnut gelding began trotting towards us. The second, a smaller bay gelding, followed. Tyra put her head down and started to graze. Raudi (Pete was riding her) did one of her classic spins and raced in our direction. I was later told that Pete held tight to Hrimmi. Tyra, hearing the sound of hooves behind her, then bolted. I’d put Ryder’s leash on my wrist, and of course I could not get it off. The dog struggled to keep up. I stayed in the saddle. Tyra finally stopped and again lowered her head. I looked behind me – Pete, having fallen on the ground, stood up quickly. He said he was okay – apparently Hrimmi had in the melee darted to the left – her line was in his right hand. It came across his face, and he lost his balance and came off.

The range horses had lost interest in us and had trotted back down road. Pete righted his tipped saddle and we put the boots, which had come loose, back on Raudi and Hrimmi’s feet. We mounted up, and road far out, into a rolling field and up a hill in order to bypass the two horses. Perhaps a good thing, because once at the top of the hill, we observed that a herd of a dozen or so other horses were by the roadside, looking up at us with great interest.

Pete stopped to take a photo. I chided him because I just wanted to get back on the road. As I repeatedly said, stopping to take photos seemed to me to be a dangerous proposition. He disagreed. Our discussion about this matter continued as we came to, and continued on along the road.

By now it was quite late, 7 p.m. well past the time when we usually located and set up a campsite. We both walked, and agreed that most anything would do. We finally came to a creek that paralleled the road. On the far side was a teepee frame. We agreed to cross the creek, and if need be, make do.

We set up camp using our headlight. I checked out the horses after they were unpacked and discovered that Hrimmi had some serious welts where her pack saddle rested. We spent the next hour applying cold water and a compress. And I did body work and put some arnica on these welts before crawling into the tent and going to sleep.

Next: 195. 7/17/19: The Following Day

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