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6-17-09 004_edited-1-2
Coming Down Valley

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6-30-12, Lower Down the Madison River Valley - A very nice day of travel which took us 17 miles further down stream (20 miles north of Ennis, MT).

I started the day with the two Belgians hitched. My host, Art rode with me the first hour.  It was great to meet Art and I would like to thank him for his hospitality, hay and elk meat.

Billy was feeling a little off this morning, so I called an early lunch and swapped him out for Doc.

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Most people fish the Madison river with fly rods from Drift Boats, which resemble a Dory type rowboat.

I had lunch at a turnout near the Sun Ranch. The owner and his daughter came out to meet the horses. It didnít take long for him to decide that he really liked draft horses.  I think weíre looking at a guy that has draft horses in his future.

Rather than having to constantly urge Bill to move faster, I took the easy route and put his harness on Doc. Bill got moved to the back.

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The smile on this guyís face is from two things: Heís awaiting the birth of his first grandchild, and he just fell in love with draft horses.  Those are two really good things!

As I traveled farther north, several things happened to change the landscape.  First, I climbed higher and away from the river. This opened up the scenery on my rightt or east side.  Second, as I moved lower in elevation, the country started drying out as it didnít receive snowfall two weeks ago, like they did where I stayed last night. Finally, with the lower elevation the trees started thinning out.

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The view from the left side (west) of the wagon after lunch.

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The view from the right side (east) of the wagon.  Taken at the same time as the previous picture.

As the day wore on, the temperature continued to climb.  By 3 pm it was approaching 90 degrees.  Even on a slight downhill grade the horses were getting hot and they were tiring quickly.  When I found a ditch of clear irrigation water, I stopped to give them each a bucket (after they had cooled some).

When Joel and Bonny came out to the road to see the team, I asked them if they had a place I could camp with the team. They did, so here I am guest of a very nice couple who spends half their year here and the other half in Pennsylvania.

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Bonny, getting here first driving lesson while taking the team from the pole to the side of the wagon.

My hosts have been great and I enjoyed a nice roast beef supper and have some freshly laundered clothes.

From their place, my hosts have a tremendous view of the Madison Mountain Range, located to the east.

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Doc - ďHey Bob, do you think you could ever go back to living in Midwest farm county.

B.O.B. - No way Doc, itís too far from Hollywood.

 

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My host Joel getting to know the lads as the moon rises over the Madison Range.

Tomorrow, Iím going to start early to beat the heat and drive to Ennis.  At the far end of town, Pat, the owner of the local grain store is going to open up just so I can buy some oats for the lads. I should be able to pick up enough to see me clear up to Helena, a little more than a week away.