Sunday, November 25, 2018

Trail Log: 11-25-2018




  • Trail: Grouse Creek - Grouse Creek meanders through a patchwork of BLM and private land.  
  • Miles: 4.69 
  • Riders: Self
  • Horses: J'Lo
  • Dogs: Hank and Shade


Notes: I can't believe I'm just now exploring this area after 18 years. I think we get into a rut of sorts. Maybe we roam areas we are  familiar and comfortable with. Earlier in the week I stepped outside the rut and headed down a trail I'd never ridden. I'm very glad I did.

For a while there I began to question the sanity of riding alone. There isn't much of a trail in some sections. One particularly harry section zigged-zagged back and forth across the creek numerous times. For once I was glad I had J'Lo on the trail and not Jack. I would have had to remove Jack's saddle to get through some of the places I led J through. There were times when J had the same look on her face as my mule would get: This human is insane. She never refused more than a split hesitation to follow me under, over and through a tangled web of desert jungle. I pulled on the lead as she shook her head in defiance: Human, you have got to be kidding. This is not terrain for a horse. This is terrain for pygmy mountain goats. Sorry girl - we are pretty much committed  - I don't think either one of use could turn around and head back the way we came. J' complied with my urging, stuck her nose on the ground as we bush-whacked our way over rock, through willows, creek brush and washouts. Once in the clear - I spent several minutes brushing the weeds and brush covering horse and tack. Probably a good thing it's too cold for ticks.

I sincerely hoped I could find a way back without retracing the treacherous section of "trail." Somewhere up ahead lay Crawfords Place and Devils Hole, according to my GPS. I'd have to come back another time. It would be dark in less than two hours and it had taken nearly that long to come this far. I'm certain J'Lo was convinced the hole we just clawed our way out of was attributed to Satan in some fashion or other other.

I let J'lo and Hank take turns leading the way home. Shade followed close on J'Lo's heels.  I'm amazed at how precise a horse is when following the trail back the way they come. Step for step she retraced the path. When we came to "Satan's crossing" - I had to take control to prevent her from bush-whacking back the way we came. I was relieved to find a MUCH easier path - crossing Grouse Creek twice and avoiding most of the thick willows and brush.

I had to look at the mileage on my GPS twice. Surely we had gone more than 4.69 miles. One thing is for certain - we worked for every one of those miles. I'm learning it's not the number of miles - it's the quality of those miles. Beautiful area that keeps your horse focused on where they place their feet.

Trail Rating: 3.2

Rocky terrain, lack of a visible trail in much of the area - washed out ravines, brush and severe washouts. Narrow, steep sections of trail with drop-offs.

Technical scale: on a scale from 1-5. 5 being the most technical.

1 = groomed path - level terrain. Good footing. Example: Roads and four-wheeler trails. "Paths" such as Eagle Island, Weiser River Trail...etc.

2 = Trails and Paths with some incline. Easy obstacles like bridges - easy water crossings.

3 = Trails not always easily defined. Some rocky terrain. Narrow trails or non-existent. Change in elevation more significant. Obstacles such as bridges - downed logs - sketchy water crossings)

4 = Trails/cross country travel. Significant elevation changes. Steep, rocky, ravines and canyons. Cliffs with major drops and sheer ledges. Major scary obstacles - bridges - dead-fall - rock/boulders - hang on, pray and hope you can swim water crossings. Possible adverse weather conditions (Snow, thunderstorms - high-winds)

5 = Just stay the hell home.


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Trail Log: 11-24-2018



  • Trail: Weiser River Trail - Presley to 2nd. Gate
  • Miles: 8.5
  • Riders: Self
  • Horses: Jack
  • Dogs: Shade and Hank


Notes: Taking advantage of the beautiful weather while it lasts. As soon as the sun peaked out after 24 hours of rain, wind and power outages - I saddled up Jack and threw him in the trailer. I normally have a destination in mind before pulling out of the driveway. If not before leaving the driveway, at least by the time I reach County 70. Do I go left, or do I go right? I went straight with the intentions of heading toward Steck Park. The puddles left by the last 24 hours of rain changed my mind. As wet as things were in the flats, it was bound to be slicker than snot in the clay foothills. I turned right on Indian Head toward the WRT.

This time of year is prefect weather for my dog Shade. She trotted along exploring rock formations in pursuit of the not-so-elusive rock-chuck inhabitants. It does my heart good to see her dart in and out of the river like a dog half her age.

I decided not to pony J'Lo. I'd ride her before the weekend was over. It felt good plodding down the trail, just me, Jack and the dogs. After a few days of riding a 13 hand little mare, Jack felt like a giant. I could barely get on. Seriously. I swear he wasn't that tall the last time I got on. Maybe I've shrunk? I hear as a person ages their body shrinks...except for their nose and ears. If that's true, I'm in deep dodo.

Jack has a fairly smooth, long-strided lope. Something didn't feel right. I struggled to keep my butt in the saddle. I could easily pass for a jockey, knees bent, body hunched over my steeds withers. Jack isn't one you want to give the wrong signals. A nice, leisurely lope can rapidly turn into race down the homestretch. I dismounted, snapped a couple of pictures and prepared to climb back in the saddle. I looked up at the ominous stirrup looming at what seemed like yards over my head. I was going to need climbing gear to ascend this mountain. I flipped the stirrup leathers over. Who the heck has been riding in my saddle? Whoever it was is about the size of a yard gnome. I dropped the stirrups a good 4 inches. Much better. I wasn't shrinking just yet, thank god. It's still a ways to hoist your leg but it's  doable. A couple good hops and I'm back in the saddle looking less like a yard gnome perched on an elephant.


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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Trail Log: 11-18-2018


  • Trail: Steck Park - Grouse Creek
  • Miles: 3
  • Riders: Self
  • Horses: J'Lo
  • Dogs: Shade and Hank


Notes: Trying to ride three horses is a pain in the butt. Fun..but difficult. It was J'Lo's turn to get out of the arena for a quick ride.  I picked a draw I hadn't ridden before. There were no fences or orange painted private property rocks so we went for it. We rode up Grouse Creek (according to my GPS) until we came to a wire gate. It didn't appear to be private property on the other side but I turned back anyway. As soon as the sun starts to drop, so does the temperature! Three miles is a little disappointing when you hauled 15 miles to get there. But - with the shorter days you take what you can get. We made the best of those three miles by cutting cross country - straight up and over rocky terrain and sheer ledges. I rode until I ran out of sunlight. I hiked part of three miles to try out my new riding/hiking boots. My feet didn't give out so I guess they will do.Three miles was enough for the dogs without water anyway. J'Lo seems most content when we ride alone. Even with Jack she will pin those ears back and act like she hates the world. When I take her out solo - she bops right along, ears forward and happy as a clam. How do you know if a clam is happy anyway? Anybody ever ask one? At least with a horse you can sort of tell by there ears and eyes...but a clam?

I'll be going back up this direction. It was pretty country and besides - I left my favorite gloves up there somewhere!



Trail Log: 11-17-2018


  • Trail: Weiser River Trail
  • Miles: 6.0
  • Ave mph: 3.0
  • Max mph: 8.1
  • Riders: Self - Jon
  • Horses: Pepsi - Jack
  • Dogs: Shade and Hank


Notes: Took "Pepsi" out on the Weiser River Trail to see how she reacts to things. I was going to name her Jesse. However, since I lost the bet with Blake over a shot up Pepsi can - Pepsi it is.
She did great! Travels out super nice. Out-walks my horses for sure. Crossed the bridge - went through water. We met a couple pushing a double baby stroller. Nothing strikes fear in the heart of a horse like a baby stroller unless it's llamas. She took it in stride. Bicycle...no problem. I was very happy with her. I would like to keep her, but I do not need three horses. I will try to find her a good home that will love her and treat her like she deserves. She has had a rough life up until we got her. The injury on her left short pastern seems to be cosmetic. She hasn't favored it so far as I've ridden her and she's been sound the year Blake has had her. I've been putting ProudsOff on it each day. I think it looks better already. She's probably a 2500.00 horse if it weren't for that old scar. Had it been taken care of when it happened you would probably never know it was there. Some people should not have animals. :( She's done a lot in the 7 or so years of her life. That we know of: She has been in a feed lot - used to snub colts, drug calves to the fire and been a heel horse. All that is asking a lot for a 13 hand little mare. I'm hoping to re-home her to a kid who just wants a horse to love and play with. She would make a kid a great gaming horse. If I can't find her a good home I'll keep her and start shooting off her. At least I would be eye level with the targets!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Trail Log: 11-12-2018




  • Trail: Sutton Ranch - Midvale
  • Miles: 7.63
  • Ave mph: 3.0
  • Max mph: 13.2
  • Riders: Self - Ralph and Victor Craig
  • Horses: J'Lo - Rosie the mule and Paint gelding
  • Dogs: Matt the cow dog




Notes: Ralph helps Sutton's gather and move cows quite a bit. I've hesitated going in the past. I don't know how to properly work cows and fear being in the way. After surviving the previous days cattle drive - I figured I might as well give it another shot. I woke up with a massive headache and the pre-flu ache. Fresh air couldn't hurt my situation so I saddle up J'Lo and met Ralph at the end of my drive by 9:30 sharp...hoping Ralph didn't notice I was about to lose my morning bowl of oatmeal.

We would be meeting Victor, another rancher who also rides for Sutton's, at Country Cabin in Midvale - downed a cup of coffee and tea and headed for corrals off Farm to Market Rd. east of Midvale.

We were looking for five pairs. Three pair were last spotted on Deep creek - the other two pair somewhere out Pole Creek. We found the three pair easy enough with a spare calf to boot. Donning a pink ear-tag, I asked if I could keep it. I shall name it Norman. Victor said sure...as long as you don't mind swinging from the wrong end of a rope for cattle rustling. Bummer.

 Driving them down the old dirt road was about as peaceful a feeling as a person can experience. We locked them in the corral and heading toward Pole Creek in search of the other two pair. Beautiful country - but no cows. Ralph rode the top of the ridge, Victor the middle and I headed cross country to see if I could spot them farther north. I found a fresh, well used cow trail but no cows. There is a lot of country out there. I would like to have kept looking when I thought I heard somebody holler at me. I trotted J back to Ralph and Victor waiting on the ridge. 

Two men out turkey hunted met us at the wire gate. One opened the gate for us. Victor asked if they'd seen any cows. They had not. They asked if we'd seen any turkeys. Ralph replied: Just three out looking for cows. They didn't get it. I need to remember to right down what I call: "Ralph'ism's" He has some pretty good ones at times. :)

Back at the corral, Victor loaded the cows we did manage to gather into his trailer, threw his big paint into Ralph's trailer and drove to the "big barn" to unload. Coolest barn ever. I really, really want a barn like that.

The three of us met Sharon, Ralph's better half,  back at Country Cabin for hot beef noodle soup and a fistful of ibuprofen out of Ralph's saddle bags. It was here I was introduced to the infamous John G. What a character.

I was so hungry I went back for a second helping. On my way to the soup station, I mentioned that my little bowl of oatmeal at 5:00 am that morning had long worn off. John G. said he ate a lot of oatmeal, too...with butter and honey on it. I like butter...I like honey. Maybe I would try that sometime. 

I have a hard time letting go of something once I get started. I would have kept looking for them two pair all night. I was assured that if they were down there somewhere - they would go back another day from the bottom and get them out. I hope they invite me again.

I smiled this morning as I drizzled honey over a bowl of steaming oatmeal dotted with real butter and thought of Victor, my good friends Ralph and Sharon and my new friend, the infamous John G.



11-11-2018:




  • Trail: Evergreen Rd. Cattle Drive
  • Miles: 5
  • Ave. mph: 3.0
  • Max mph: 6.7
  • Riders: Self - Ralph - Jon - Jessica - Riley
  • Horses: J'Lo - Jack - Rosie - Blaze - little buckskin Jess and I rescued and gave to Riley. 
  • Dogs: Riley's two awesome cow dogs. One named "Phil"  - didn't catch the other. 


Notes: Jon asked for help moving cows from his home pasture to Jensen's pasture on Evergreen. With the exception of "my red cow" none of them had been driven or pushed with dogs. I asked Ralph to help since I'm pretty sure he was the only one other than Riley and Jess that new what they heck they were doing.

We drove them about two miles - through yards, into poorly fenced pastures and around every haystack in between. Jon rode Jack who did amazing for a horse that can get a little excited under pressure. J'Lo did wonderful as well. She is cutting horse bred so this was right up her alley. Those cows were not getting by her, for sure. I just sat up there and let her do the work. I have no idea what I'm doing.

We probably pushed them a little faster than necessary. They weren't at all interested in following the hay truck. If it weren't for the two cow dogs I think they would have scattered to Parma. Still - went a lot smoother than expected. They are a nice, gentle bunch of cows.

Chili and cornbread (made by my granddaughter Audrey) was served at Jensen's after. It was a nice gathering with family, old friends and new.


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Trail Log: 11-10-2018




  • Trail: Deer Butte - Owyhee's
  • Miles: 5.82
  • Ave mph: 3.0
  • Max mph: 6.7
  • Riders: Self - Blake - Nick B. 
  • Horses: Jack - J'Lo - Mustang Sally
  • Dogs: Hank and Remi


Notes: Blake brought a little - and I mean little - (she's not much bigger than a welsh) - over for me to try out. He's getting ready to ship her to California to sell. I've been looking for a back-up shooting horse. I'm not entirely sure I want three horses. I like being able to load up my horses and dogs - head for the desert and not leave anything at home. I normally use the third stall of my 3 horse slants as storage .

I'd almost talked myself out of getting her when Blake and I made a bet. Blake saw an aluminum can stuck on the top of a sagebrush. He bet me there would be two bullet holes in it. If he won - I had to pay full price for the horse. If I won and decided to take her - I get 200 bucks off asking price. The can didn't look shot up from what I could tell. I figured 1 bullet hole max. I thought I'd won the bet until Blake pointed out two bullet holes ....one hole for the entry ....one for the exit. Damn.

Blake's friend Nick rode J'Lo and Blake and I swapped between Jack and "Mustang Sally." I haven't decided on a name yet. She sort of looks Mustang to me. She's supposed to be quarter horse and either Morgan or more likely, welsh. She's a little skittish about some things on the ground. A previous owner was heavy handed. I don't think it will take long to get her to come around. Blake said she's hard to catch but I've caught her several times easy enough.

I had her feet trimmed in the morning - loaded her up with my other two horses and headed for the desert to see  how she did on the trail. She's a walking machine. She must have good feet. She managed the rocky, desert terrain barefoot and freshly trimmed without missing a beat. She has a bad looking old wound on her hind above the coronet bone. It wasn't taken care of properly at the time, turning into proud flesh. It doesn't bother her a bit. There are products out there that help with proud flesh scarring. I'm excited to see what I can do to fix her up a little. She's such a cute little girl and deserves some TLC for sure. Blake's done everything on her from feedlot, dragging calves to the fire to snubbing colts and healing steers. I think in time she will make a wicked shooting horse. If nothing else, I learned two things - never underestimate a little horse and never make a bet with Blake.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Trail Log: 11-3-2018


  • Trail: Weiser River Trail - Galloway dam
  • Miles: 6.44
  • Ave. mph: 3.0
  • Max mph: 12.2
  • Riders: Self
  • Horses: Jack and J'lo
  • Dogs: Shade and Hank




Notes: I got up early to get some work done around my place thinking the weather was going to turn south. The weatherman said wind and possible rain. He lied. I'm glad he lied. When the wind didn't come and all my work was done, I saddled up and headed for a quick ride on the WRT with 3 hours of daylight to play with.

I put in at Galloway and rode north up the canyon. A lady was saddling up three horses at Presley Bridge. I couldn't tell if there were other riders. There were two pickups - but only one pulling a stock trailer.  Shade and Hank sniffed around her stock trailer. I called Hank back but Shade can't hear me. I apologized  to the lady and told her that she was deaf. She sort of smiled and said that's ok - no problem.  She didn't appear to be in the mood to chat. I got Shade's attention and we headed on our way.

I'd gotten off to walk a little ways. When I climbed back in the saddle, I noticed the lady was just coming through the walk through gate; riding one horse and towing two pack horses with empty, soft panniers. I very rarely ever run into another lady riding alone. I considered waiting for her but decided, like me, she probably enjoys her time alone now and then. I squeezed Jack into a long trot - dragging J behind - and kept a good half mile ahead of her.

Shade was doing great. It was cool out and she could get to water anytime she needed. Still, I didn't want to push it. 3.5 miles in I swapped horses and headed back. The lady had gotten off her horse. Maybe she likes to hike and ride, too? I watched her mill around a while before climbing back in the saddle. When we met up, I pulled off the trail. I tried to engage her in conversation. "Way too nice of a day not to be out, huh?" She didn't respond. She seemed kind of nervous. Maybe she was worried about her horses meeting other horses on the trail? She didn't make eye contact. I spoke again - "Well, you enjoy your ride and stay safe." She responded without looking up: "Thanks.."

Odd. Oh well, not everyone you meet is going to be overly thrilled with your presence. I nudged J'lo into a slow lope and proceeded toward the trailers. A few minutes later J'lo freaked out at something off the edge of the trail. She snorted, balked and stomped at my urging. The dogs had found something they were interested in. You never know what your going to run into on the trail. There's been everything from rattle snakes to dead bodies. I urged J closer to the edge to get a closer look at what the dogs were investigating: I giant fresh gut pile. Probably deer or more likely elk by the size of it. Where the hell did that come from? Hunting from the trail is prohibited.

I spent too many years as a kid reading Encyclopedia Brown and as an adult watching Monk, the OCD detective, not to start formulating the crime scene in my brain.

The lone packer lady wasn't really alone. Her husband/partner/accomplices - were ahead of her on the trail. They had either: 1. Illegally shot a large game animal from the trail . Or 2. Had legally bagged one across the river. The wounded animal then managing to cross the river and eventually bleed out to meet it's demise on the WRT.

Said accomplice then makes cell phone contact with lone lady packer to bring pack stock in to pack out the carcass. By the size of the gut pile and the need for two pack animals - I will surmise the animal to be a large elk; not uncommon on the trial. Once we found an Elk shed standing up in a bush not far from the spot the gut pile was discarded.

The lone packers uneasiness was likely due to encountering me on the trail. It is illegal to shoot from or across the trail. Even if the animal was taken legally - she would still be nervous thinking she might have to explain the whole thing.

 That gut pile didn't get there by itself and it was not an animal kill (cougar or wolves) - What about the other truck? They were parked in such a way that you knew they belonged together - she wouldn't have pulled up that close to some random vehicle if she didn't know them. The lady lone packer also looked like she planned to be out there longer than a couple hours. She was bundled up pretty good if she was planning, as I was, to be back by sunset. Why would she be packing two horses with empty panniers? Granted - I've done it myself for practice. However - when you add all the other ingredients - you pretty much come up with poacher pie.

So yep - that's my theory. Sound far fetched? I bet you money I'm pretty darn close. Never a dull moment on the WRT. The good news, no pigs this time!


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Posting via email and InReach messages


I've set up my InReach GPS communicator device to post to this blog. I can now send  pre-formatted messages to this blog as a post. There will be a link to a map showing a location at the time. Please do not reply to the message (even though it says you can) - messages are charged on a per sent/received basis. The link will take you to a map where you have the option again to reply. Please don't. The charges add up quick and I'm cheap! :) 

They look something like this: 

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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Trail Log: 10-27-2018


  • Trail: Lonesome Willow - Antelope Springs - Succor Creek canyon loop
  • Miles: 14.15
  • Riders: Self - Lee - Cynthia and Becky
  • Horses: Jack and J - King - Rio and Jude
Click here for full set of photos: Get'in my hermit on

Notes: Well, I thought the previous ride to the lake would have been the highlight of the weekend. I was pleasantly surprised to find today's ride even better. I met Lee, Cindy and Becky at the head of Camp Hermit on Succor Creek Rd and followed them to a road above Lonesome Willow - previously known as the Bob Davis Ranch. The State purchased the old ranch and turned it into ...pretty much nothing. Sure wish they would put it up for sale and let somebody bring it back to life. What an awesome place in it's day. 

I've hiked, ridden or four wheeled most of the locations on the route Lee guided us over. It was wonderful to finally connect the dots. 

He showed us an old road that went into the Davis Ranch. We could follow it part way. Other parts were eroded away and we had to take an alternate, cross country path. Especially the sections of road skirting steep, bentonite hillsides. It was scary enough side-hilling a horse over it.  I heard Becky ahead give out a scream and shout a few expletives. The scream did little to instill confidence. Shortly after I hear someone ask: "Becky - why did you close your eyes?" She answered: "Because I don't want to see my death coming!"  At least she wasn't at the bottom of a ravine - there was hope. I rounded the hillside just as Becky and Jude lunged up the ravine to safety. The tracks of her horse sloughing off the steep bentonite hillside bore evidence of the source of her distress. We probably aren't going to die, I tell myself. Never weaken. J'Lo and Jack navigated the trail like old pros while I looked up at the sky and pretended like I didn't see what was under my horses feet. 

We had to bush-whack our way across Succor Creek coming and going. I'm usually in the back. I was riding J'Lo and she has a terrible slow walk. At one point the willows leading into and out of the creek were so thick I lost the others. I let out a yell - "Hey - where are you guys?" "GO LEFT!" they yell back.  Jack, who I was leading, seemed to grow tired of the indecision, stepped in front and cleared a path to the others waiting around the bend.  

The route Lee led us on crossed Succor Creek - passed Lonesome Willow - up to Antelope Springs and over the top to Succor Creek State Park. A couple of dirt bikes headed up the hill toward us. The rider in front never slowed down and revved his engine, scaring the horses. I don't know Lee very well - but he appears to be a rather easy going, kind person. As he squeezed his morgan into the path of the second rider, he looked anything but mild-mannered. He politely asked the second rider to please ask his buddy to slow down the next time he encounters horses. The second biker politely responded that yes sir, he sure would do that. We very seldom run into inconsiderate off-road folks. When you do - you like to think they just don't know better. 

We rode over the bridge, through the park, down Succor Creek Canyon road to "my favorite camping spot" where we forded Succor Creek for the last time and back to Lonesome Willow and to the trailers. Lee pointed out the various old trails, roads and irrigation ditches (that supplied the Davis Ranch) and other historical tidbits of interest. 

We had ridden by many of my old stomping grounds. There was the The Twin Towers. I recognized the area where Spud and I ate lunch and he drank water out of a pool of rainwater captured in rock. I snapped a picture of our feet with the rim rock across the canyon in the background. There was the two rock cribs in the fence line spanning the deep gorge where Spud and I got several chuckar. And there was Chuckar Rock - the massive rock formation marking entry to the gorge Spud and I hunted up and ended up lost until almost dark. I need to write up that story some day. It was the beginning of my "always be prepared" for anything phase. 

It was an unforgettable ride on many levels. Great friends, fond memories and invaluable local knowledge of an area that is more home to me than the address on my power bill. 


Trail Log: 10-26-2018 - Fisherman Rd. To Owyhee Reservoir

First view of the reservoir 

  • Trail: Fisherman Rd. To Owyhee Reservoir 
  • Miles: 21.8
  • Riders: Self - Lee B. 
  • Horses: Jack - J'Lo - Prince


Notes: Met Lee at the beginning of Fisherman Rd. bright and early. Needed an early start to make sure we were back before dark if possible. I've been wanting to do this ride for a long time. Lee has driven and hunted the route, but not ridden it. Fisherman Rd. goes all the way in and drops you down onto Owyhee reservoir.

Beautiful ride. Rocky and steep with some gnarly switchbacks dropping into the lake. Stopped about a half mile from the park for lunch and headed back. Rode Jack in and J'Lo out. Got a little rain on the way out. Just enough to settle the dust.

Saw a herd of deer with a couple of nice bucks. Rocky terrain most of the way but well worth the trip.

Bade Lee farewell at his truck and rode back to camp a very happy hermit. Climbed up to cell  phone rock to text a happy birthday to my sister.




Trail Log: 10-25-2018 HERMIT CAMP

Overlooking Camp Hermit


  • Trail: Succor Creek Canyon Camp to Succor Creek
  • Miles: 3 
  • Riders/Hiker: Self
  • Horses: Jack and J
  • Dogs: Shade and Hank


Notes:  Sometimes I just need to get my hermit on. It's been a whirl wind year of shooting, IMO, work and just every day life. It was time to make one last hermitage into the Owyhee's before winter. Destination: Succor Creek Canyon.


After setting up "Camp Hermit," I took the horses and dogs for a walk to the creek for water and to stretch their legs. The area is getting more traffic as time goes on. The downside of that is the litter. Somebody built a quick fire and left their garbage strewn about. The same idiots that would do such a thing are the same that think aluminum cans will burn. I made a note to come back and clean up after them. Probably much like their mothers did for them, apparently. :( Sort of pet-peeve for me. If you can pack it in full, why the hell can't you pack it out empty?

 Hiking while leading 2 perfectly good horses just doesn't seem right. I don't think I've ridden Jack in a halter bareback so figured I'd go with the safer bet and jump on J'Lo. She's closer to the ground if things go south. J wasn't quite positioned for me to hop on. Jack on the other hand - was standing in a ditch next to a big rock! Tempting...This could go one of two ways and since I'm alive to blog about it- I'm happy to report it went better than expected.

Back at camp, we settled in for the night. Later that evening Lee B. stopped in after chuckar hunting for a quick visit. Him, Cynthia and Becky would be riding in the area over the weekend. Becky and Cindy wouldn't be able to make a long ride to the reservoir via Fisherman Rd. so we decided to ride it Friday. It's a route I've been wanting to take for years and one of the few Lee hasn't ridden. It beats going it alone. We made plans to meet at the end of my camping road by 8:30 AM.

Unusually warm weather for late October - stayed toasty warm in my LQ all night with no heat. Slept like a log.



Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Trail Log: 10-16th - 19th - 2018





  • Trail: Cornucopia Hwy. Halfway Oregon
  • Miles: 18.5 miles total
  • Riders: Self - Athena, Emmett, Sophia, Isabella and Marissa (Athena's sister-in-Law)
  • Horses: Jack and J'Lo
  • Dogs: Hank and Shade


Notes: My daughter and family came up from Wyoming to visit for a week. We all met at The Cabin in Halfway. I stayed in my LQ parked on the place and the horses stayed on my property 2.5 miles from the cabin. Some days we would walk the horses from the pasture to the cabin to saddle up and ride back at the end of the day. Other days we saddled at the pasture depending on where the saddles were. The last night, both saddles and horses ended up at the cabin so I high-lined the horses in place.

Athena's in-laws came up from western Oregon as well. We spent the week visiting, eating, hiking, riding, eating, fishing, eating...celebrating Grandma Lillian's 97 birthday and eating. We ate. A lot.

Emmett and I went on his first official trail ride. We rode 7 miles. He is a natural horseman. We also hiked quite a bit, fording Pine Creek just to see if we could. If you are going to hike with Grandma Laurie - you best count on getting your feet wet.

A beautiful week with spectacular falls colors. I can't wait for them all to come back.

Click for Google Photo Album: Fall with Family

Friday, October 12, 2018

Trail Log: 10-12-2018


  • Trail: Crane Creek Area (Big Flat Rd.)
  • Miles: 5.63
  • Ave mph: 3.1
  • Riders: Self - Jones and Dusty
  • Horses: Jack and J'Lo - Honor and Diesel!! 
  • Dogs: Shade, Hank, Savannah and Dealer


Notes: What a great day. Perfect October weather. Jones and Dusty wanted to scout Paddock Res. area for a 2019 IMO. Normally we go in through Little Willow. According to Google - there is a much shorter way to get there from Weiser going over S. Crane Crk. The thing about Google is you never know if what it suggests is doable. In this case, it was not. The "shortcut" that would have cut off 25 miles was now fenced off and posted private. Apparently, according to the rancher/cowboy we ran into - 40 years ago that is the road we wanted!

Lucky for us - getting lost usually turns out to be a good thing. Instead of wasting more time, we opted to make it an adventure and just see where we ended up. We drove a few more miles down the road until we were on BLM land and unloaded. Turned out to be an awesome place to ride and set an IMO.

This was also Dusty and Jone's horse, Diesel's first trail ride. He did amazing. It's one thing to take a young colt out of the round corral for the first time - something all together different to take a mature horse out and expose it to the world. Diesel did about as good as any horse in that situation would. He traveled right out - didn't mind being in the lead and leaving his pasture mate. He didn't spook at anything. He doesn't know yet to stand when you stop - but he can't be expected to. He just has no idea what is expected of him yet. All he needs is a few more wet blankets under him and he will be a great ride.


Saturday, October 6, 2018

Trail Log: 10-6-2018















  • Trail: Hitt Creek to Keithly Creek (A Lee ride)
  • Miles: 11.91
  • Max mph. : 8.8
  • Ave mph: 2.6
  • Riders: Self - Lee - Cindy and Becky
  • Horses: Jack - Prince - Rio and Jonas
  • Dogs: Hank


Notes: Some days you just have to ignore the weather forecast and saddle up anyway. Today was such a day. Most people who ride will tell you they don't mind riding in the rain if they get caught in it - but they don't want to saddle up in the rain. Afraid Lee would cancel the ride due to rain - I opted to pretend like I didn't see it and saddled up under a tree. Turned out to be a beautiful day for a ride. There is nothing more brilliant than apsen in the fall. We rode up to Hitt summit into the fog and snow. I don't think it got above 50. It's all relative. Here in the next couple of months, 50 is going to feel like T-shirt weather.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Trail Log: 9-30-2018



  • Trail: Weiser River Trail
  • Miles: 12.49 total
  • Ave: 3.8 mph
  • Max: 19.1
  • Riders: Self - Jimmy M. 
  • Horses: Jack, J'Lo and Rebound
  • Dogs: Hank, Shade and Pica


Notes: It was a sad weekend with the passing of our friend and fellow horseman, Devon. He will truly be missed. One recurring thought from Devon's family and friends that stuck in my mind: Devon never judged anybody. I think that is a wonderful thing to be remembered for.
In memory of Devon  I also think everybody should have a celebration of life before they die. People should hear the good things about themselves that others have to say.

Sunday was an eclectic day of riding. With plans to ride with Jimmy in the afternoon - I saddled up J'Lo and took the dogs for a short 4.80 mile run on the Weiser River Trail. J'Lo, usually kind of grouchy most of the time, seems to enjoy riding out by herself. She trod on down the trail, ears forward and tail swaying back and forth in a relaxed motion as opposed to her usual ear-pinning, tail switching self. It was nice. We took Shade for the first 3 miles, then left her at the trailer while he ran a couple miles farther. Hank took off in front of us 9-0. I gave J her head to see if she could catch him. Apparently a horse is faster than a border-collie. She easily caught him at 19.1 mph.

A few hours later, I saddle Jack and rode with Jimmy and his new 3 year old filly he named "Rebound." We long trotted/lopped most of the 7.69 miles. It felt good to clip on down the trail at a good pace. Jack was in heaven. He'd run all day if I let him.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Hiking Log: 9-23-2018





  • Trail: Rock Creek - Mineral Rd. 
  • Miles: 2.03
  • Hikers: Self
  • Dogs: Shade and Hank


Journal Entry: 

Life is like an unopened tube of bottle caps

The dogs don't always get to go with me. Not all places are dog-friendly and some of the rides are too far without water. They had to stay home all weekend so I promised them that Sunday was dog-day. We drove up Rock Creek through private ranches and parked a few yards before the public access area courtesy of Rocking M Ranch and the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. I think we were technically on private property still but it was not posted. I doubt anybody would care if an old lady and her dogs were roaming around. Besides - I always pick up trash on my way in and out. Sort of like perpetual litter patrol. 

We pulled off at a wide spot on Mineral Rd. and hiked up an old four wheeler trail. My GPS designated the road as "Minor Highway." Kind of an over-confident statement for a road barely suitable for four-wheeler traffic. 

Part way up the dogs went over the bank for water to a stream running through a grove of trees and thick brush. Shade lets out an excited bark. Instead of grabbing for my camera - I grabbed for my .380, convinced a bear will be charging out of the bushes toward me any moment. Shade barks again and bushes begin to rustle. Maybe it's not a bear. Maybe it’s a cougar! I think about grabbing my camera to get a shot off just before I'm eaten by a rabid, hiker eating cougar. More barking...more rustling - closer this time and straight at me. I brace myself for the kill as a terrified, innocuous, bushy-tailed red fox lunges out of the bushes toward me - makes an abrupt 180 and heads the other direction. It COULD have been bear - or a cougar. It could have been a serial killer!  

Hank took off in one direction and Shade the other. I called to the dogs when they got out of sight. Hank immediately came back. I whistled again, louder this time. Still no sign of Shade. I called and whistled as we continued to walk up the trail. I'd been calling and whistling for a good five minutes, more worrisome as time passed. I know she doesn’t hear as well as she did. Sometimes I wonder if she hasn’t lost some sight as well. Maybe she had gone back to the truck? She’s done that before when she grew tired on a long hike or ride. I wasn’t sure whether to keep going or head back. I happen to look up and caught a glimpse of her as she was about to head over the top of a hill. I whistled again as loud as I could. She seemed to hesitate, look around and progress faster up the hill. I imagine she heard the whistle but couldn't tell which direction it came from. She's in good enough shape that I knew I couldn't get to the top of the hill before she headed down the other side to who-knows where. I decided to try and head around the bottom of the hill and cut her off - hoping she didn't turn around, head back down and get totally confused finding us gone. 

I made a mad dash around the hill, relieved to see a trail that followed the base of the mountain in the direction I wanted to go. Once around the hill I whistled again. Hank perked up and stared up the draw on the back side of the hill we last saw her. Shade bound off the hill toward us. I’d like to think she wasn't lost at all. She use to do that all the time as a young dog. She would take off after something and I could not call her back for nothing. An hour later she would come trotting in, tongue hanging out and exhausted looking all sheepish. I wish with all my heart that was still the case. Shade didn't look sheepish this time. She looked relieved. It breaks my heart to see her slow down. Knowing it's inevitable doesn't make it any easier. 

We hiked to the top of a hill to take pictures and rest before turning back. Shade and Hank led the way back toward the truck. Every 30 yards or so, Shade would stop, look back and make sure I hadn't wandered off and gotten lost again. 

Safe from bears, cougars and serial killers - I ejected the live round from the chamber. The .380 slipped out of my hand and fell between the seats of the truck. I slid my hand between the cushions and felt around. I shuddered at the sensation you get when you feel around for lost stuff in couch cushions. I pulled out leaves, dog hair, plastic water bottle caps, coins, a half dozen pens the banks send you in drive-up vacuum capsules - gum wrappers - gum still IN the wrappers - an old stand-alone GPS and a pair of sunglasses I hadn't seen in years. My fingers felt something round and smooth. It could be a .380 brass. I clamped my fingers around it and pulled it gently up through the cushion. An unopened, still in the wrapper tube of candy bottle caps unexpectedly appeared in place of ammo. SCORE! 

I pulled the old dodge back onto the road. Shade and Hank peered over my shoulder from the back-seat looking happy as...well, happy as a couple dogs who seem to know they have a pretty darn good life.

Life is like that sometimes. You set out looking for one thing you lost and end up finding really cool stuff you didn't know was there all along. 




Friday, September 21, 2018

Black Lake Four Wheeler Trip: 9-21-2018


HORNET CREEK TO BLACK LAKE



Now and then I climb down off my horse long enough to climb on a four wheeler. I cleaned up "Festus," (kind of forgot he was cool camo) - purchased an off-road sticker and headed for some unexplored territory. Well, unexplored to me, anyway. Beautiful country across the Snake from where my Grandma grew up on Copperfield. I'm always amazed at the beauty of God's creation. There is seldom a day goes by that I don't thank Him for creating such splendor for us to experience. 

Drove up to a lookout. Wow - the last part was kind of scary. I'm a bit of a chicken when it comes to four wheeling. Narrow - steep - rocky - straight-down "oh good hell I'm going to die" kind of road. It was worth it. 

Fall is definitely here on this last day of summer in all it's bold, brilliant color.

You can check out a few more photos here: PHOTOS 


Trail Log: 9-20-2018


  • Trail: Moores Hollow - Alkaline Crk. - Old Oregon Trail loop
  • Miles: 13.68
  • Max: 15  mph
  • Riders: Self - Jon
  • Horses: Jack and J'Lo


Notes: I've been wanting to do this loop for some time. When Jon asked me to go four wheeling on Saturday I agreed if he'd go riding on Friday so I could get a good ride in on both horses. I have to give it to him - he's not much of a horseman. Jack took pretty good care of him, regardless. The loop is usually 18+ miles but I hauled in farther to the entry point to cut off a few miles for Jon's sake. Pretty sure his backside was grateful. Fall is my favorite season - I just wish the days were longer.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

CMSA Shotgun run

First run shooting shotgun with my new Yildiz .410. Sweetest little gun ever. 






Trail Log: 9-16-2018


  • Trail: Succor Creek - Power Line canyon
  • Miles: 5.52
  • Ave mph: 3.2
  • Max mph: 6.9
  • Riders: Self - Ralph 
  • Horses: Jack and Rosie the Mule
  • Dogs: Hank and Shade. Took Shade on a smaller, pre ride. She would have made this ride but I didn't know for sure where or how long we were going to be out. 
Notes: I hope when I'm 80 years old - Ralph will still want to ride with me. I sent  him and Sharon a text that I was going to haul to Succor Creek and ride. Sharon had other plans. Ralph saddled up Rosie and threw in with me and Jack. 

We wandered around the Succor Creek canyon/Power line trail. Instead of heading downstream the usual route - we veered off and went up-stream to see where it goes. We looped around until I was totally turned around. I swear, I have the worst sense of direction on the planet. Ralph pointed - "The trailer is that way." I look around trying to get my bearings. I felt the trailers were directly opposite. As we trod down a trail that I swear I've ridden before - I ask Ralph again: "Are you sure the trailer isn't over there? This trail looks familiar, but..." Ralph grins: "I bet if you look down you will see mule tracks." Sure enough - we were back on the trail we came in on. No wonder the damn thing looked familiar. I swear....

I'm never really lost - I just wander with purpose. 

We cut the ride a little short since the one trail ended at a dead end. Literally. There was something dead across the fence a giant buzzard/vulture looking thing was scavenging. Besides - I'm still a little sore from moving hay, splitting wood and digging for the septic lid. I did find the septic lid - after my neighbor called me a quitter for saying I was just going to pay the septic guy to dig it up. Actually, I found two lids. I do not tolerate being called a quitter. With the $150.00 bucks I saved I am buying a shiny new shovel - a roping rein for shooting shotgun and a case of Constant Comment Green tea.

As our routine dictates - we stopped at the Mirage for berry pie and tea/coffee served up by the perky waitress in the heavy cat-eye liner that only should could pull off in Adrian Oregon.  

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Annie - The Story of a Barter Mule

I've had several request to move Annie's story to my new blog. For some reason - this piece about a wary mule has been my most popular.

To read Annie's Story - click the link "Annie's Story" below.

Annie's Story




Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Loading up the scout and moving to BLOGGER!



I am moving from a "pay-for-cost-way-to-much domain/blog" to a free blogger.com site. I've submitted all my active subscribers already. I did not bother with those that were unverified and they are/were probably spammers anyway. :)

I will keep the old WordPress site "The Sagewriter" active for a month or so before decommissioning it.

I am not automatically exporting all my old WordPress content into blogger at this time. Maybe later when I get all ambitious. In the meantime - I will post new content and re-post old content as time goes on...and that is one thing we can count on; time does go on....

Please be patient as I post new content and figure out the new format (new to me) of Blogger.com. How hard can it be, right?

Trail Log: 9-9-2018



  • Trail: Tripod Meadows
  • Miles: 10.67
  • Ave mph: 3.5
  • Max speed: 10.3 mph
  • Riders: Circle Four -Karen and Shade Hunters
  • Horses: Jack and J’Lo – Rooster and Honor
  • Dogs: Hank
Notes: Post IMO ride before packing up and heading home. Riding doesn’t seem to bother my back but driving sure does. I made it home by cramming a thermos behind the small of my back and leaning against it. Jones took pity on me and drove from McCall to Midvale. I’ve decided I’m not 25 anymore – or 35…or 45 for that matter.  Gone are the days of moving hay and splitting wood in one afternoon. Might be time to invest in a log splitter…probably cheaper than a chiropractor! I walked into the dentist Monday morning for a root canal. The dentist remarked that I looked miserable and how was my weekend? I commented back that this root canal was the best thing that’s happened to me in the last 10 days.
I have no right to complain though – I don’t have cancer and I’m not  being eaten by sharks.  I’m reading a book set during WWII. Circling sharks waiting for AAF bombers to crash into the ocean was a common sight for the crew. It’s hard to read about it let alone live it.