Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Yesterday evening I hitched a horse trailer to the pickup, and this morning I saddled Sis and headed up the mountain to a trailhead. The last time I checked the road it hadn’t been graded yet. Quite a bit of rock in the road, but passable. The single horse trailer is pretty low to the ground, and I thought I might have to stop in a few places to move some rocks. Not to worry. The road has been graded, so we moved right along.
There wasn’t another soul at the trailhead, so we had the country to ourselves. I unloaded Sis and turned Bear and Chigger loose. There were horse and man tracks in the mud of the trail, so someone had already been up the trail. Maybe a Forest Service trail crew cutting out deadfall, but I saw very little work that needed to be done. Bear knew exactly where he was, and he headed up the trail in high gear. Chigger spent his time running ahead trying to catch up with Bear, then running back to me.
Chigger made it past the first creek crossing, but the second one stopped him. It was running high and swift, and he had never had to cross anything like this before. The creek through my property is running higher and faster, but he doesn’t have to cross it. Bear was somewhere up ahead by now, and Sis picked her way across the slick rocks like a good mountain horse should. Chigger sat down on his butt and began to bark. I rode a little farther up the trail, but not out of sight, and tried calling him. He wouldn’t budge, so I rode back to the creek and tried coaxing him. No deal! That fast water had him spooked. There was no one else around, so I decided to just leave him there to work it out by himself. I thought the worst he could do was go back to the truck and wait for me there.
Bear had his first run out, so he came back to me and just tagged along with an occasional side trip to check something out. In places the trail resembled a muddy creek bed more than a trail. There was water running everywhere from the melting snow pack. I rode a couple of miles up the trail and began to pass some still unmelted patches of snow. I could see the snow on mountain ahead of me, and I knew it would be impossible to make it up the switch backs to Campbell Lake. Even the rock pile leading up to Log Lake would probably be slick and treacherous, so I decided to head back and check on my missing pup.
I heard him before I saw him. I don’t know if he had been barking non stop since I left him, or if Bear’s appearance ahead of me set him off again. He hadn’t gone back to the truck, but had finally picked up the courage to cross the creek. He just didn’t know enough to trail me up. He was a happy pup to see everyone, and he had the creek crossing thing down pat now. He crossed without hesitation on the way back down the trail. I ate lunch at the truck, then headed back down the mountain toward home. It had been cool, on the verge of being chilly in the mountains. The farther down the mountain, the warmer it became; and the dogwood and lupine were in full bloom. When I got home, the thermometer on my front porch said almost 75 degrees. Now it is getting cloudy, and they say rain again tonight and tomorrow.