Home > Trip > Dispatches > Trip Dispatches > Trip Dispatch #25

Trip Dispatch # 25: Sunday, June 12. Jacks Creek to Long Branch Guard Station: Invisible Posse

Back to FS 780, up, up, up, a beautiful ride through spruce forest, the terrain not overly difficult, but Raudi is sluggish. Water sites dictate where we’re stopping. In this respect, Pete exercised good judgment yesterday, recommending that we do this stretch of road today.

Rainbow lost yet another expensive Vibram-sole dog bootie. Pete went back for it, and found it. At the culmination of what was a long, arduous climb, he took a photo of me on Raudi at the Continental Divide Marker. This was a high point, since the title of our venture is “Tolting the Divide.” The area is like a moonscape, rock-strewn and lacking vegetation. Magnificent view.

Pete had said that the downhill portion of the day’s trek would be steep, and he was right. We soon came to an area where a rockslide covered the trail. I eventually dismounted and took the lead. Raudi, for once, stayed right behind me. Pete, riding Siggi, and ponying Signy, followed. Two motorcyclists appeared as we were picking our way around the rocks. They asked to pass, but the trail was too narrow, making this an impossibility. I lied, and told them that there was a long string of horseback riders ahead of us.
         “How many?” one asked.
         “At least a dozen,” I said.
         “A dozen?” he asked.
         “Actually, there’s more than that.

First divide crossing--the two logos signify the Colorado Trail and Continental Divide Trail
First divide crossing--the two logos signify the Colorado Trail and Continental Divide Trail

Negotiating deadfall on trail down from divide
Negotiating deadfall on trail down from divide

We picked up a few stragglers a while back, and I forgot to do a headcount!”

Both guys expressed their disapproval about not being able to get around the posse, but because they had no choice, they followed behind, in places getting off and pushing their machines. We encountered deadfall, some of which we had to move by hand. There was one overhanging tree that the horses couldn’t go under—Pete and I first tied up the horses, and then we yanked and pulled on it. It finally it came loose. All the while the motorcyclists sat watching us.

After about a mile of walking, we came to a wider section of the trail. We pulled off and let the dirt bikers pass, this after Siggi went over and said hello. I cautioned them about the horseback riders that were ahead, then thanked them for being so patient. I didn’t really think that they were all that congenial. But I was polite because it’s a bad thing to burn bridges when out on the trail.

At the day’s end, my heart swelled with pride, thinking of how good our animals have been doing. Siggi and Raudi are at ages 7 and 8, on the young side for this kind of travel. And they haven’t had extensive trail experience. And Signy has not, to our knowledge, ever before been a long-distance trail horse. And Rainbow, who is now doing much better, is the real trooper. She never complained about not feeling well, rather, just did her best to keep up with us. I love her dearly.

Next: Dispatch #26: Sargents and Points Beyond