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Continental Divide - Third Time


7/9/12 & 7/10/12

7/9/12, Helena West Side, MT - I took the day off on the grounds where once stood the historic Broadwater Hotel. It was an extremely hot day and a good one to not be pulling down the road. I did my best to stay cool and so did the horses.

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Whew, trying to set a 10 second camera timer, aim the camera, walk into a stream, sit in a chair and look natural before the shot is taken is tough! If my white torso hadnít reflected so much light, I might have been eligible for Pulitzer nominations for Special Effects!

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While I was soaking in a mountain stream, the Belgians liked to stand in the spray from a sprinkler.

As the dayís heat started to fade, the kids showed up to ride the horses.  I had the horses penned up for the day, as the gate to the property was left open, so they really enjoyed the chance to get out and stretch their legs with the kids.

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I dug the saddles out of the trailer so everyone would be a little more comfortable.

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John and Emily, along with Bill and his two sons were my hosts for the day off.  Finer people youíll never meet!

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A visit by the daycare kids.

This was a really fine day off and both the horses and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

7/10/12, McDonald Pass, MT - With a hot day forecast and a 2000 foot high hill to climb, I made an early day of it.  Just as soon as it was light enough to find them, I fetched the team.  After breaking camp and hitching up, I was on the road just after 6 am.

Eliza, a reporter/photographer from the Helena Independent Record paper was on hand to take some pictures of the lads pulling the wagon up the hill. I donít have a link to the story yet, but the newspaper website is www.helenair.com


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It was a hot pull up the pass. Twice, I stopped and gave the horses a sip of water (about a gallon each). While not enough to cramp them up, it goes a long way towards putting some life back in them when theyíre hot.

Because of the temperature and the hill we had to climb, I planned on taking all morning to climb the 13 miles to the top of the pass.  Much of the climb was at an 8 to 10% grade, so I had all three of the guys hitched up.


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Looking back to the east as we climbed to the top of the pass. Some haze, which is unusual for the west, indicated that the humidity was higher than normal.

My plan was to make a short day of it and camp somewhere near the top of the pass.  I really didnít have any desire to leave green grass and cooler temperatures for a hotter and drier valley.

About a half mile past the summit, I stopped on some really good pasture that was located on an extra wide right of way.

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The top of the pass marks are return to the western side of the Continental Divide.  It will be early next spring before we return to the eastern slope in New Mexico.

Fortunately, the day never got as hot as was forecast. By the time some clouds cleared off and the day started warming up, I was 2000 feet higher and several degrees cooler that it would have been down in the flats.

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This afternoon and evening, I had several visitors, including several members of a local horse driving club.

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The lads and this young lady got along really well.  It was all her boyfriend could do to drag her away from the horses.

Tomorrow, I continue my westward trek, When I get to state route 141, I plan on turning north to state route 200, which I plan on taking to Missoula.