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July 28, 2019: An Itty Bitty Discovery

When you’re camping and out for months at a time, the small things become very consequential. What happened this morning was no exception. Pete usually gets out of bed first, and I then pack up the sleeping gear. I’ve gotten quite good at this job and in fact have developed a system, one in which I am very efficient. I alternate getting dressed and stuffing the bags and ground pads into their sacks – this way, I stay warm.

This morning I figured out how to better stuff the sleeping bags into their dry bag sacks. I scooched my feet down to the bottom of the bag then stuffed my feet, with the bags on them, down into the very bottom of the dry bag. I then very carefully and slowly removed my feet. This made for a more even stuff. And a more even stuff better enabled me to fit the bags into the duffel bag, which Pete had chosen to place on top of Hrimmi’s pack saddle. I was actually quite proud of this accomplishment, as I said to Pete, I could be an outfitter!

It was as we headed off, on our second full day of riding in the Bob, that I had a major revelation. This, thus far, had been a tough trip, full of challenges. And my hope that this was going to be an easy day was most likely not to be. My reasoning was that packing in remote areas is just naturally difficult, unless you have an outfitter to smooth out the rough edges. Not us, we were hoofing it on our own.

Today’s ride was (and this is a word we use often) uneventful. We continued to follow the Black Tail River, and followed it all the way to Welcome Creek. It was not super challenging. There were innumerable creek crossings – these just made things

Tyra taking a  break while Pete saws
Tyra taking a break while Pete saws

interesting for the horses, who did not hesitate to cross, stopping just to tank up. There were also a few boggy spots and a few ledges to traverse, but none of these terrain-related obstacles were any big deal.

The area had been burned about 10 years ago, and there was a lot of deadfall on this, the Continental Divide Trail. It had been well maintained, but we speculated that the dead trees fell faster than the trail crews could saw them up. We talked to a single older male hiker early in the day – he told us that three pack horses were ahead of us. Hearing this, we wisely chose to pull off the trail for a bit and eat lunch and let the horses graze. We did not hear them go by.

Towards the day’s end we began scouting around for a campsite. We bypassed one established site that was occupied by individuals with horses – we figured that they most likely would not want to be bothered.

I envisioned us spending the night at the Welcome Home Forest Service cabin – my preference being for staying at places in which there were cabins and corrals. No matter that we most likely would not have access to the cabin – to me, such places just feel safer than do wilderness sites.

Well, we arrived, at 6-ish – and discovered ample signage. No camping signs had been posted on the cabins, on the pine trees, on the one corral, on the cabin. As Pete said, NO Camping meant No Camping. So, we left the site, and continued for the next two plus hours to look around for an equally suitable spot. None materialized. My thinking was that we could clandestine camp at Welcome Home.

Pete was not keen on the idea. We finally came up with a compromise. We could put the horses in the large corral, the one with a stock tank, and camp in the trees behind the corral. This way, we’d be out of sight. Pete reluctantly agreed, adding, “well if anyone does show up, we can explain our situation.

This is what we ended up doing. I breathed a sigh of relief as we crawled into the tent, because to me, this was preferable than staying in the outlying area, which because of the standing deadfall trees, was far more dangerous.

Next: 207. 7/28/19: Oasis

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