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Douglas Pass


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5-16-12, Douglas Pass, CO - An often repeated theme of Wagonteamster travel is that I never know what the day will bring - this one was no exception. Iím currently about a mile and a half north of Douglas Pass camped on some great spring mountain grass.

Shortly after the day began, I was taking down the electric fences when I found the missing camera.  Doc managed to eat the tall grass it had fallen into, without damaging the camera - Letís hear it for Doc! So, later in this blog, youíll be able to see the photos I took yesterday.

All day long was a steady climb as the team pulled the wagon up a 2 to 4% grade. A couple hours after lunch, we were 14 miles down the road and about a 1000 feet higher.  A D,O,T, guy said that there was a cattle guard up ahead with no go around gate. Approaching the cattle guard, I was prepared with my instant go around gate creation tool (wire cutters) incase the legally required go-around gate wasnít in place,, but I found that he was in error.  There were not one, but two go-around gates.

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This was the location of the cattle guard. This picture also illustrates the headwall for the pass. Through a series of switchbacks, the road climbs 2000 feet in about 5 miles.

Just as the lads and I were getting underway, my friends Steve and Teressa from Delta showed up, just incase I needed a tow up the hill. Talk about perfect timing! I felt the team was strong enough to pull the headwall, but, when faced with some assistance like this, I always opt to save the team and gladly accepted their offer.

I broke Doc off the front of the hitch and put him behind the trailer. Then we tried pulling the wagon up with the Belgians still hitched to the front. B.O.B. wouldnít come out of the Ďhold-backí so we reconfigured the tow with all three horses walking behind the trailer.  This worked great!

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The wagon being towed up the hill by the ďFord TruckĒ Team.

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The lads, living the good life, as viewed from the back wagon window.

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A look down Douglas Pass, as viewed from near the top. Itís impossible to get a true perspective of the height and steepness of grade. Most of the hill was a steady 8 to 12% grade, with an occasional section pitched at 15%.

Tonight, Iím camped about a mile and a half on the north side of the Pass. Steve accepted my invitation to ride with me two days to Rangley.

The team is turned out on some really sweet mountain grass and are enjoying the good life.

Steve, Teressa and I enjoyed some great hamburgers that I grilled over the campfire. Some good food, great company, a couple of beers and the Pass behind me - Life is Good!

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Spring, mountain grass is so sweet; Bill didnít even beg for his oats until almost dark.

As promised, here are the temporarily missing pictures from the day before.

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This little girl on the Mennonite farm liked sitting on Bill so much, she cried when she was taken down.

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Three girls and a big horse - a winning combination.

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Driving through the arid country between the lad irrigated by the Colorado River and the Mountains.

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Approaching the mountains.

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As the road climbed into the Juniper/Pinion forest, I could see that the mountains were not of volcanic origins; but, sedimentary uplift.

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To end this blog, I leave you with a parting shot of Maddie bottle feeding her bucket calves before going to school!