Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Old "Salty Dog"

Cast of Characters

I'm a bit behind reporting our recent adventures because I have been without a scribe for a couple of weeks. Ol' Dangerous put me up in a "dogie motel" while he and Trea took a trip to the Midwest seeking their ancestral roots. Dangerous is back, so I will try to catch you up on what's been happening on the High Plateau. Let's start with our fall Walking Horse ride. I will give you my version of Dangerous' trip to Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois in my next entry.

By now, you are probably tired of seeing High Plateau landscapes, but I have to share a few more to set the scene for this blog. The usual cast of characters showed up to ride again this year. They weren't disappointed by the weather or scenery.

Fish Lake Hightop

We rode the Fish Lake Hightop because Bill and Rich hadn't seen it. While the Fish Lake Basin was crawling with ATVs, the Hightop showed few if any signs of traffic, including foot or horse. It's one of the few places left on the Fish Lake National Forest that hasn't been overrun by our "motorized friends." Riding at 11,600 feet on a clear autumn day provides incredible views of the valleys below, and you feel like you are the only dog or person looking down from the top of the world. There are few places left like this on the Colorado Plateau.

Deer Creek Lake

You're probably sick of seeing this picture, but our fall Walking Horse ride isn't complete without viewing the autumn leaves along the Deer Creek Lake Trail. I am not sure what he is talking about, but Dangerous constantly points out to me and others the beautiful Maynard Dixon clouds. I don't know who this Maynard guy is, but we always enjoy the fall view of Deer Creek Lake. I am a bit worried that Maynard Dixon might be another sheep dog who Dangerous is considering moving in. I might share the place with him, but not my blog.

While the scenery was incredible, I thought you might be more interested in helping me resolve an argument. "Who is the real "Salty Dog" of this group? For those unfamiliar with the term, "Salty Dog" is slang for an "old salt" with a lifetime of experience especially in the outdoors. In our case, a "Salty Dog" is well-versed in the skills of horsemanship and other aspects of life, and sometimes thought of being a bit "crusty" which is a nice way of saying "cranky." Whenever we gather to ride, it doesn't take long for the competition to start with the various riders vying for the title of "Salty Dog!"

Fremont Bob

Fremont Bob is well known to all of you, and for many an obvious "Salty Dog" choice. Few doubt his outdoor credentials, and the "cranky" description fits anyone who willingly owns and rides mules. However, before you vote, take a close look at Fremont's outfit. A serious horseman would never be seen in a pair of aviator sunglasses even though he found them. Catch Fremont on another day and you won't recognize him. You will think you just met a retired university professor decked out in chinos, sweater, loafers, and a stylish English wool cap. Consistency should be considered when selecting your "Salty Dog."

Walking Horse Bill

As you can see Bill falls far short of the necessary dress standard. His only appropriate accoutrement is the handmade RJP spurs. If you met him on the trail, you might conclude he is an urban hiker out for the day. While he doesn't meet the dress code, you should see the horse he rides. Balthazar is over 17 hands tall and requires two hands to control. While you can't call Bill "crusty" the "cranky" description sure applies. Bill is an experienced horseman who will ride man or dog into the ground. Also anyone who owns as many horses as he does should be given serious consideration for "Salty Dog" or institutionalized.

Intrepid Rich

Rich may not look the part, be he is an intrepid rider. Without hesitation, he climbs on whatever horse Bill brings him to ride, and sits patiently while the horse wildly spins him in circles. However, you need to understand that Rich doesn't own a horse or saddle, but he is the brains behind Bill's annual Yellowstone horse adventure.

Stylish Dennis

Don't get me wrong Dennis has made some real progress since I saw him last. He lost the camel-back pack, and his riding skills have improved. However, a few of his accessories aren't worn by traditional "Salty Dogs." While the mittens detract from his overall appearance, the sensitive European shoulder bag must go. Before you dismiss him completely, remember that outdoor experience is a prerequisite which Dennis has plenty of, and besides that he puts up with Fremont Bob's "crusty" living conditions when he visits the High Plateau to ride.

Blue Finds Lunch

You can debate the merits of the various candidates all you want, but my money is on Blue for "Salty Dog." It isn't that he is actually a dog that earns him my nomination, but the qualities that he brings. All the other candidates bought and brought their lunch, but not Blue. He found his! Knowing Blue, I am sure he will find it again the next time we ride this same area. If you want to learn the true meaning of "cranky" try taking his lunch away from him.

Drag it through the Fence

All the other candidates deck themselves out in various types of gear to ward off the cold, thorns, brush, rocks, and barbed wire; but not Blue. He runs across the High Plateau wearing nothing but what God gave him and not worrying about weather, difficult terrain, or man-made obstacles. You can see from the picture that diving through a barbed wire fence in pursuit of whatever interests him doesn't slow Blue down one bit. I can't imagine our other candidates exposing their sensitive parts in pursuit of pure fun. Well, maybe Fremont Bob depending what kind of fun it is.

Well, I don't want to prejudice your vote. I am still interested in your choice for the title of "Salty Dog" of our annual Walking Horse ride. I hope to hear from you.


Max said...

Since "cranky" seems to be at least one of the critical standards for selecting a Salty Dog, you've obviously left out one prime candidate. I'll let you ponder that a bit. If you're still stumped, ask Trea.

Becca Hatch said...

My question is re: the search for your ancestral roots.

How many stubborn mules are included in your geneology? My guess is in the high hundreds.

Anonymous said...

a salty dog is someone who is very experienced, having traveled much and seen more than his fair share of things: all fit that catagory

"Salty dog" also means ornery: all fit that catagory

"Honey, let me be your salty dog" :hmmmmmm

...and how does Rosie's master fit into all this?

I can't give anyone the honor
Good post, though

Jay said...

Well thank God I was not along to yet futher have my lack of fashion sense assaulted! I can see it is a close competion between Blue and Fremont. Maybe a grude match over a ripe roadkill piece could settle it!