Saturday, June 6, 2009

Learning to Pack

Little Guy Learns to Pack

You probably think that we spend most of our time in Grover sitting on the porch, talking, and eating red meat. Well, you are mostly right, but we do other things besides. For example, this past week Dangerous and Fremont tried to teach Little Guy how to pack. From Dangerous' language and tone, I must conclude they weren't too successful.

In August, Dangerous is supposed to spend a week horse packing in Yellowstone National Park with his buddy Bill. You might think that riding horses in Yellowstone is the trip of a life time. Oh, what romantics you are! An enjoyable horse packing trip is very dependent on the reliability and cooperation of your pack stock. Well, from my first hand observations, I can tell you Little Guy was less than cooperative and reliable. At this point, Dangerous is scratching his head about what to do next.

Loading the Panniers

Training started well. Dangerous saddled Little Guy and hung the panniers from the sawbuck. He loaded the panniers with all kinds of interesting stuff, and off we went. The first day Little Guy accepted his role without complaint. With a little urging, he followed Dangerous and Dottie up the trail. By lunch time, he had stretched Dangerous' left arm an inch or two, but it was nothing serious. Heading back to the truck and trailer, LG even maintained a fairly decent gait. It isn't easy for any of us to keep pace with Dottie who is a traveling machine. However, LG knew he was headed to the barn, so he did his best.

Short Pack String

Two days later, LG's attitude changed for the worse. Since the first trip went well, Dangerous loaded him with all the niceties for a comfortable afternoon hot lunch. He even loaded camp stools for him and Fremont to sit on and included buffalo burgers to cook in the fire. Our planned six mile ride into the back country became 3.5 when LG became uncooperative. Who knows what was going on inside his head, but he would not cross or go around any trail obstacles. Fremont had to drive him from behind to get him to walk between large rocks or step over logs. LG stopped suddenly at any obstacle measuring whether his load would fit or clear. As you might expect, a thousand pound horse stopping suddenly puts a little pressure on whoever is holding the other end of the lead rope. On more than one occasion, LG came very close to jerking Dangerous out of his saddle. Dangerous contends that his left arm is now six inches longer than his right one.

Deformed Packer

Even a tough day in the back country is better than a good day at work. While LG was difficult, his behavior didn't affect the good time had by the rest of us. Fremont and Dangerous really enjoyed our lunch stop. With a comfortable chair and good food, they were in no hurry to move on. Most lunch breaks are spent leaning against a log eating beef jerky and cheese, but not this trip. Fremont and Dangerous spent over two hours lounging in their comfortable chairs enjoying their buffalo burgers. As you can see, I was patrolling the area looking for a morsel or two.

All the Comforts of Home

Eventually, we always end up back on the porch in Grover. Out come the red meat and beer, and the conversation picks up where it left off last night. If you are ever in Grover, stop by. Dinner is usually around 6:00 PM, and there is always room at the table. Love to hear from you!

Regular Dinner Guests

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