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August 2, 2019: Putting in Overtime Hours

This morning we woke up in a campsite I dubbed “Angler’s Paradise” because the Blackfoot River was located next the camping area. As I looked at the fast moving, clear, and easily accessible river, it occurred to me that fly fishing would be fun, and most likely very meditative.

The morning ride, along the canyon edge, was fairly easy because the trail was wide and well-trodden. We were, we deduced, out of the deadfall area – the smell of pine trees was in the air. And the sound of the river rushing over rocks was music to our ears.

We arrived at the Web Lake Guard Station at 2 p.m. Pete spoke with two hikers who were heading in the direction we just came. They said that Heart Lake, as we presumed, just ahead.

Neil and his Icelandic packstring
Neil and his Icelandic packstring

We continued in that direction. Then it happened. We crossed a series of several bridges, ones that straddled bogs. The second to last one – Pete turned around, with camera in hand, in order to take my photo. Hrimmi, not paying attention, placed her left foot on the bridge and her right foot in the muck. She then toppled over into the muck, panicked, leapt up onto the bridge, and half jumped, half fell over the other side. Pete, who had released his rope, continued across the bridge. I leapt off Tyra, lead her across the bridge, and grabbed Hrimmi’s line.

Together, we examined Hrimmi. She had some cuts on her rear legs but otherwise was fine. I chided Pete repeatedly for his lack of attentiveness. We agreed that we’d dress the wounds at the Hart Lake Campground.

We got there and discovered that it was occupied by a family with a half-dozen horses. Pete and I took the horses over to the outskirts of the campsite, and looked more closely at the abrasions. They would need to be cleaned up. I wanted to do this there, but Pete wanted to camp elsewhere. We put paper toweling against the wound and wrapped it with vet wrap. I finally agreed that we should continue on to another campsite which was 1 ½ miles down trail.

On the way there we met an impasse – that is a pack string consisting of seven, count ‘em, seven Icelandic horses. They were heavily laden – their owner, Neal Eustace, was (he said) on his way to his outfitters camp. There he’d unload them and set up camp. Neil said that he knew we were from Alaska becuase he saw our trailer with an Icelandic horse sticker.

The Icelandics had the right of way, so we back traced and let them pass. Pete and I followed after being invited to spend the night at Neal’s camp. The trail was downhill, down the same set of switchbacks that we’d gone down on our first day of this pack trip (204. 7/26/19: First Day Packing in The Bob). I walked Tyra, who was as tired as I was.

We arrived at his camp and found out that, much to our dismay, it has been heavily grazed by another outfitters’ horses. Vegetation was sparse, so we unpacked and then hand grazed the horses for an hour. We were now low on provisions. Pete cooked up some dehydrated split pea soup, circa 2011 – fortunately, we were invited to dine with Neal’s crew of three. We had eggs on English muffins for dinner.

Next: 212. 8/3/19: Full Circle – Back to Basecamp

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