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Saturday, August 29, 2009

HOM: The Bob I

Also known as the Bob Marshall Wilderness, a million acres of preserved mountains and meadows. Its namesake was "a romantic, an optimist, a scientist, a writer, a talker, a keeper of lists, a humorist,"a kind of da Vinci in high-topped sneakers." A founder of the Wilderness Society, he stirred professional foresters and the public with his enthusiastic, articulate, pragmatic speeches and writings. He laid the groundwork for the landmark 1964 Wilderness Act and, like John Muir, greatly influenced modern thinking about outdoor values." ----- The Bob was a kind of hunter's Nirvana, and we decided to take a pack trip in since Jim had the horses and gear. It was to be a one week trip, going in from Packer's Roost, which is up beyond Spotted Bear. At this distance, I don't remember just where we finally camped or which trail we took, so I might fill in details later. We got a bit of a late start despite getting everything up to the trailhead the night before. Jim had a 4x4 Chevy truck with a cab-over camper on it and a "custom-built" horse trailer that consisted of a flat bed with steel pipes welded onto it. It wasn't a great design, but sure was sturdy. And heavy. We had a lot of stuff. When we were getting supplies, my vote was for dehydrated/freeze-dried/LIGHT items, but Jim's was for potatoes, eggs, and canned goods. Since it was his outfit and his horses, his vote overshadowed mine. Gurly wore the decker pack saddle & bright orange panniers with the arch of a bowed crosscut saw riding over her like the hoop on a covered wagon, Randa wore a riding saddle with a set of bags that slipped over the horn and seat, and both horses were packed to the max. Jim led the way out of camp, with Randa on a lead rope. I followed with Gurly. At that point in the day, both horses were ready to travel so it was a little hard for me to convince Gurly I was the leader and she was the follower. We had to cross the bridge over Meadow Creek Gorge as soon as we left camp, and I remember being a little nervous about crossing that slender bridge -- it was a LONG way down! Yeah, I got acrophobia, remember? Since the trail was kinda narrow in places and bordered a nice little drop in those same places, I was a little on edge in more than one way. It didn't help that Gurly was smart enough to always try passing me on the inside and treat me as a movable obstacle. It was also inevitable that when a pack started to slip sideways, it was usually in one of those skinny spots, and if it was Gurly's pack, it meant Jim & I trading places past Randa so he could sort things out while I held Randa. One bit of serendipitous humor I remember popped up later in the day, when the horses had settled down and we were trudging along. I was worrying about Bec & Lyn and how things were going at home when Jim commented that I wasn't getting much of a change of scenery. It was along the lines of "staring at a horse's butt hour after hour." Right after he said that, I wondered aloud how the women at home were doing. Somehow it struck him as funny that staring at a horse's heinie made me think of our wives . . . TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)