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July 22, 2019: Afton, Wyoming

We are now in Afton, Wyoming, taking a morning to regroup after having just completed a two week pack trip in the Wyoming Range. A difficult trip, yes, but at the same time wonderful and revelatory.

This afternoon we’ll head north, first stopping in Butte, Montana in order to visit friends and get our crossing the border horsey paperwork in order. We’ll also prepare for our final pack trip, which will take place in Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness area.

I have, up until now, been singing Tyra’s praises because I’ve been riding her near exclusively. But this morning I realized the real hero of this epic journey has been Raudi. True, Tyra, Hrimmi, and Ryder have all done amazingly well.


For Tyra, one of the high points being holding her own at a Centered Riding/Endurance clinic in Fort Collins, Colorado. She was away from her herd, trailered there with a strange horse. She subsequently remained calm in a strange environment and among strange horses. She also kept her wits about her when a thunder/lightening/hail storm rolled through the area. It was so bad that several live in trailers suffered extensive damage. I went to check on her after the storm and she was eating out of her hay bag.

Hrimmi has also become a savvy pack horse who seems to enjoy things like winding her way through narrow aspen forests.

And Ryder has been all dog – staying close when we are on trail. We’ve had to have her on her leash when on roads because she is a herd dog, and in the vicinity of ATVs she’ll do what herd dogs do.

It has been Raudi, though, who has impressed upon me that we are all functioning as a team. There is not a better trail horse on this planet. A flick of the ear, the toss of a head, the swish of a trail, this means follow me. And so, we follow in her wake, crossing bridges, fording creeks, venturing across narrow trail ledges with steep drop offs. The others continue to keep her in close sight when all are hobbled, and as she does, remain still when on the highline. The latter, even in thunder and lightning storms.

Our focus has of course been on this trip. Lose your focus and you could lose your life. However, we remain concerned about what’s happening politically right now in Alaska. Pete, in fact, took a day and contacted legislatures. Listen up folks, Alaskans and non-Alaskans alike. Some of us (and I count myself in this number) are not political animals. But at the very least paying attention to what’s going on is really important, because before you know it, it will again be time to vote or at least make your views known to those who do.

The AK budget is being slashed to such a degree that we who chose to remain in the state will be affected. The goal of those in Washington (and local politicians are complying), is to turn the state into a giant resource warehouse. Funding for what we care about, which is quality of life, as this relates to environmental, educational, and social service needs are going down the tubes, and fast.

Hate to end this missive on such a dire note. However, my hope is that a little foresight on my part might get those who have their head in the sands to pull them up and take a look around.

Next: 201. 7/23/19: The Vigilante Rodeo Grounds: Hurry Up and Wait

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