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July 17, 2019: The Following Day

In the morning we checked out our campsite – the night before we’d pitched camp late, so particulars were lost on us. We had established basecamp on the side of a hill, at the base was a narrow trail. Pete had somehow found a level highline site and I had somehow located a level tent site. It also had a view – this of the creek and distant mountains.

I got up, heard, and then saw dozens of sheep streaming down the far hill. At the distance, they looked like maggots. A lone horseback rider was to the left of the now scattered herd – a border collie was attempting to round them up, and large white guard dogs were flanking them.

Sheep on the road near our campsite

Pete noted that a black sheep was wearing a cowbell. Ryder was attentive, but not beside herself. If the sight was stirring up some long lost instinct, she was keeping it to herself. The sheep scattered repeatedly, like globs of mercury, then clumped together at the base of the hill.

The horses, they stood quietly, ears forward, eyes wide, the entire time. Pete and I alternated packing and watching, me focusing my monocular on particulars and giving Pete updates. It was I who voiced two concerns – the first being that the sheep might cross the creek and pay us a visit, the second being that they might cross the road on the far side of the creek and head in the direction that we were planning on heading.

We finished packing. Pete took Ryder across the rickety bridge that spanned the creek and there talked with the herder who did not speak English. Pete’s later thought was that he was Basque. We watched as he and the dogs herded the sheep in the direction opposite of the way we were going. We moved out fast, crossing the fast moving creek post haste.

The day’s road ride was to again to take us back to Ski Hut/ Poker Hollow. It was déjà vu all over again. Tyra was again bothered by the flies, and again she took it out on Hrimmi, who I was ponying. So I again got off and walked. And again, I who was still wearing my Camelback and vest became overheated.

I wanted to stay where we stayed before, but Pete, after talking to the two fellows who we’d met previously, decided that we should move on, his reasoning being that the area sheep herders would soon be moving in. I said that this would be way fun for Ryder, but not way fun for us.

Pete was right. Far better to err on the side of caution and camp down road. So we kept going.

On the trip down road, I spotted a grizzly across the way. This was at the exact moment that Tyra elected to get in a good roll – with her saddle on. I got her standing and the bear moved into the woods.

We finally arrived at the Sheep Creek Pass campsite. We spent considerable time selecting the just right campsite; it was located on a flat hill above the road. It was a quiet place with a creek running through the center.

Tomorrow we’ll go over Sheep Pass. Pete promised me that if trail disappears we’ll backtrack. We tied up our food (as we always do) and tossed one of the two cans of Bear Spray in the tent – just in case Mr. Grizzly decides to backtrack.

Next: 196. 7/18/19: Fiddlesticks
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