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Hills & Tired Horses

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10/28/12, N. Of Lucerne Valley (Coord. N. 34 deg, 40.110 min; W. 116 deg, 57.527 min)

Today was a long one for the horses, as the wagon climbed from 2600 to 4000 feet above sea level in fairly warm temperatures.

I had Doc and Bill hitched this morning when I left my camp, just south of Barstow.  Bill was on the bounce and we swiftly climbed to 3000 feet. Seven miles into the morning trek I pulled into the Slash X Ranch Cafe for some water.  The folks there were great and I filled up my empty containers and tanked up the horses as well. 

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Pulling through the desert.

The road heading south of the Slash X started off as a gentle uphill grade, but gradually got steeper as the day wore on.  By the time I stopped for lunch, the temperature was already in the upper 80ís and the horses were getting tired from a combination of the hills and the heat.

Bill looked pretty tuckered, but I decided to keep him in the hitch. He lasted for an hour after lunch, but by 2 pm, he was pretty worn out.  Just before a short grade that rose at 10 to 12%, I pulled over and swapped him out for B.O.B.

A couple of hundred feet in elevation short of the top of the hill, I pulled over at a good camping spot.  I figured it was better to conquer the remaining portion of the hill in the cool of the morning, with a fresh team.

Mike and Etta were traveling around in a motorhome and stopped to visit. We ended up drinking a few beers and having a good time.

 

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Mike with the lads.

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Mike and B.O.B. having a special moment together.  Disclaimer - B.O.B. didnít consume any alcohol before this picture was taken.

While tough for the horses, the day was pretty good. The team only pulled 14 miles, but most of it was uphill.

Tomorrow, we shouldnít have any problem pulling the 17 miles to Lucerne Valley.

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As the sun set over mist shrouded hills in the west, the full moon rose above the mountains to the east.