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By Forest and Stream


8/15/12, Dale, OR - Itís already the middle of August. Where have the days gone?  Even though itís midsummer in most places, this morning I could feel a touch of fall in the air.  A couple of weeks from now, Iíll be tooling through the high desert of southeast Oregon and wish I had a taste of fall.

Tonight, Iím camped 5 miles south of Dale, OR on US-395 in the middle of a short stretch of National Forest.

Most of the morning, the road followed Camis Creek as it wound itís way through the hills. The first few miles were easy, as there was a three feet wide shoulder, but that soon disappeared.

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With the dry weather, the flow down the creek isnít much to speak of.

I had Bob and Doc hitched today and they pulled well.  With no shoulder, few people stopped to chat. 

About 10:30 AM, the road turned to follow the Middle Fork of the John Day River upstream.  For the first time since we left the top of Battle Mountain, the lads had an uphill pull. 

I stopped for lunch at a nice pullout along the river. After removing their bridles, I walked each of the horses down to the river for a drink.

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North Fork of the John Day River - A very pretty, clear running stream.

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The last time I crossed the 45th parallel there wasnít a sign. So here I was in the north part of the northern hemisphere and I didnít even know it!

Each of the lads has a different way of getting a drink from a stream. I thought it would be fun to compare the three:

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Bill always approaches a stream very carefully.  If he puts a hoof in the stream, itís only a little bit.  Giving him a drink can be tough if there is any bank at all.  It takes a lot of coaching to just get him to step in the river.

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B.O.B. on the other hand enjoys the water. When I lead him up to a stream he usually just plows right in. I canít remember a time where he didnít walk into the water. Occasionally, I have to let go of the lead rope as he walks out a ways.

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Here, Doc is exhibiting his Cirque De Solei technique for getting a drink. Or maybe heís just practicing for the Olympic Diving Team - heís already in the full Pike position!

After lunch, I followed the River a couple of more miles upstream before crossing over and entering the National Forest. Two miles further south, I came to the small Hamlet of Dale.  The only business of note in Dale is a combination, grocery store, gas station and post office.  After picking up a couple of things, I took the opportunity to mail a few letters.  I have a couple of Amish friends who like to follow my journey. Since they donít have internet, I mail them a condensed version of the blog every few weeks.

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This is the first time Iíve been in a National Forest since leaving the Clearwater National Forest, east of the town of Kooskia, ID.

Tonight, I found a camping spot that was big enough to put up a full sized electric fence.  The grazing is only mediocre, so I had to supplement the grass with about 60 pounds of hay.

Iíve had a couple of different groups of visitors stop and visit since I made camp.  Norm, a retired pipe fitter that lives in the area is going to join me for the trip tomorrow.  I look forward to the company.

Tomorrow, I have to climb a thousand feet in the first three miles, until I get to the National Forest boundary at the top of a summit.  In the morning, Iíll have all three of the horses hitched to make the grade. After reaching the top, Iíll put Doc behind the trailer and give him the rest of the day off. Iíve been told that cell phone and internet access is available on top, so Iíll post a couple of blogs then.