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Trip Dispatch #26: Monday June 13: Long Branch Guard Station to Major Creek: Sargents and Points Beyond

Water was frozen in the buckets this morning. Brr. It was three miles to Sargents proper from our campsite. Sargents is an unincorporated town at the foot of Marshall Pass on State Highway 50.

We tied the horses to a wooden fence on the outskirts of the town. Pete went on ahead to see if there was an alternative to riding alongside Highway 50. There was not. He then watched the horses, and I went to fill up our fuel bottles and take a shower. The route from the wooden fence to the store was roundabout. I checked out an old wooden railroad tank, last used in 1932. It was


Horses tied in Sargents
Horses tied in Sargents

filled via a pipe that was buried approximately a mile upstream, in nearby Marshall Creek. The natural fall of the river grade, combined with pipe pressure, forced water into the tank. Walking/riding alongside highways continues to be my least favorite part of this trip. I figured that it being Sunday, that there would be minimal traffic on Route 50. I (again) figured wrong—Route 50 was heavily trafficked. Pete rode Siggi, and ponied Signy, and Raudi and I followed on foot. There wasn’t much of a ditch here as there was next to Route 114, and sad to say, there was considerable debris. In fact, an old metal stove gave new meaning to the words range country.

We soon came to a bridge that I deemed unsafe to cross. Pete and I stood to the right of it and deliberated about what to do. We didn’t want to cut a nearby fence and travel on private property, and I didn’t want to go up onto the road. We finally decided to go under the bridge, and ride on the more accessible side of the road. This worked well. I remembered what the transporter at Laird Hot Springs said about good horses, and I put Siggi on my Christmas list. He moved confidently across a deep and fast-running creek, and the other horses followed his lead.

A nice afternoon ride—we rode parallel to an oxbow creek and passed by a large ranch. We camped alongside Major Creek; it wasn’t the best campsite—it had a lot of deadfall and there wasn’t much grass. But once again, we had no choice since it was the only place close by with water. We hobbled the horses and they began moving out in search of better forage. The nicest thing about this campsite was that it was home to a huge, beautiful pine tree. Rainbow’s doing a whole lot better, so we’re not going to call Sara. I say, count your blessings.

Next: Dispatch #27: Raudi’s Bad Horse Day