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The first trip, I was asked often what my cause was, that one I really didn't have one, but now I do. I am riding for awareness, not just about Uterine Cancer, but our health in general. We know ourselves better than any doctor, stand up and fight for yourself, it may just save your life.
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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Moses and Waldo together again . . .

So sorry that it has been so long since my last posting, but anyone that followed the last trip or knows me, knows that I am not the biggest Wyoming fan. This trip is not doing much to change that opinion. As normal, I started out in Cokeville and Neil of Fish and Game was his usual superstar self, letting us stay in the F&G pasture in town and finding someone to help us out of Kemmerer, Mark also of Fish and Game. Then it was on to Rock Springs, where I sat, for 2 weeks, waiting for hauler after hauler to no show on me. Finally, after my last hope just blew me off, I headed out for Rawlins on foot, leading Strip for most of the distance each day first the 2 day trip to Point of Rocks, only 26 miles from Rock Springs, but you wander around in the desert trying to get around the highway and it adds miles. Then we headed out for Wamsutter, stopping in the former town of Table Rock, having Strip leap the cattle guard to get into a safe area to spend the night, neither of us having much to eat or drink, before getting up in the morning, hauling the gear over the cattle guard again and having her jump back out. Its a good thing her former career was as a jumper, or I might never have been able to get inside in the first place and would have not gotten any sleep, watching for wandering mustang stallions looking to add her to their herds. We had a long day to Wamsutter, about 30 miles, to stay over night in the park, letting her graze for hours before Highlining her in the trees overnight. This brings us to the worst day of the trip so far, the journey to Rawlins. For those of you without a Wyoming map, it is a 38 mile trek by highway and much farther through the desert. Having done it once before, I was up an hour before dawn, packed and on the road as soon as it started getting light. We headed down to the railroad access road. My intention was to follow it as far out as I could. Trains have a tendency to go straighter and have way less slopes to climb than trails or highways, so this seemed like the best option. I also figured on trotting as much as I could, she trots at about 15 mph so that would shorten our day considerably if we could manage it. It was cold and clear that morning, light winds coming from out of the west and we headed off with me leading, I walked as fast as I could for about an hour and a half, then with much worry, Strip's back has been sore since I switched saddles, I found a spot to get on from and swung aboard. Bringing her back to the road, I urged her into a trot and after a good 20 yards realized that this was not going to work. The saddle was a friends, and while I had ridden in it some since Idaho, I had mostly been on the ground walking or when in the saddle walking too and I hadn't realized just how uncomfortable it was. Trotting was involving many parts hitting the saddle in a rather uncomfortable fashion. I smiled slightly, its a good thing I'm not a guy or there would be a lot of high pitched screaming. I broke to the walk for a few minutes before my sense of urgency about the day took over and I drew a deep breath, tried to focus on other things and headed back to the trot. We were heading around a corner when sudden movement on the trail ahead caused Strip to abruptly stop. My yelp almost drown out the angry hiss of the very large badger ahead of us. He spun sideways, humped up and hissed again, then took off in the fast waddle I have ever seen, pausing every 15 feet to spin sideways, hump up and hiss, before disappearing into a large burrow. Strip and I walked past it during this show, kind of watching it half amused and half wary. Badgers can be very dangerous if provoked and have no problem attacking something much bigger then themselves, Strip just found it odd, didn't snort or spoke, just looked at it like it was a big cat. I wonder how bad she would have freaked if it charged us... After a few more minutes a the trot, winding back and forth on the road, we came up a hill and right into a tangle of discarding wire. I stopped her immediately, but not before she hooked a leg into the tangle. Bailing off ungracefully I unwound it from her leg, frowning at the small cut on her fetlock(ankle). One of the bigger problems with desert crossings is the trash. It seems that when a fence is replaced or a trash can is full, you just toss the old wire, cans, tires, etc. out into the desert for some unsuspecting woman riding across the country to contend with. A second inspection and I determined she was fine so I started off again on foot, up a hill and around the next bend, where the road disappeared. I stood for a few minutes, carefully scanning the surrounding terrain, before finally noticing that the sage brush in one area appeared to be growing in 3 nice rows, that was my road, striking off again. This is how the day went, me on foot, or in the saddle, riding down a road that would suddenly turn and disappear, I would then momentarily appear to be Tonto, scanning for tracks of the outlaws, quickly sighting where the road started again, sometimes 50 yards to our left, right, top, bottom... We followed the train tracks til about 2, when I decided to head towards the highway. Opened another pass through and just cut straight across the desert, through 5 ravines, up 4 ridges and past the Emerald city. Dropping down off the last ridge, I found . . .A pipeline road! It was going straight in the direction I needed it so we followed it. After 2 or 3 miles it went over a ridge and turned around and headed the opposite direction, so I became Tonto again, hmmmm Kemosabe, new road over there, bad guys go that a way, and off we went, through the desert, picking our way around sagebrush and tiny cactuses or is it cacti? This went on for hours, me wandering around like a total drunk,searching for nearly invisible roads, watching the sun slowly dropping towards the horizon. Strip sensing me urgency, kept trotting, even when I really didn't want to and we pushed on, zigging and zagging through the desert, switching roads, climbing ridges, opening wire pass throughs, cutting my hands on the barbed wire. We crested yet another ridge, when I cried out loud, I saw the truck stop on the other side of the highway signifying we only had 2 miles before we reached the beginning of Rawlins. Strip looked around at me and I reached down to pet her, she had carried me almost the whole way, and my gear and I knew she was sore, but there would have been no way we would have reached here before dark if she hadn't. As we stopped and opened the last pass through, the sun dropped below the horizon and I looked back at the desert. It had been a difficult day, wandering the desert like Moses, playing a rousing game of "Where's Waldo" with the pipeline roads....

1 comment:

  1. Hello! Recently, you rode through Ripley, Ohio, and then on into Maysville Kentucky. My husband actually took a picture of your horse in front of the 50's Diner in Ripley, and sent it to my phone (I was out to lunch over in maysville.) We mused about who might have ridden their horse to town (we were assuming it was a local), and got a kick out of showing the picture to friends and family.

    Until tonight, when I was scanning a Maysville newspaper, (The Ledger Independant). They had written an article about you and in it, put your blog info. I clipped the article, if you're interested, and would be happy to either snail mail it to you or to scan it and email it.

    Either way, I'm glad you rode through, and I hope whomever you encountered here in Ripley gave you a warm welcome. God bless you as you journey, and I pray you never have to battle cancer again!

    "Becky", resident, Ripley OH