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Hot & Hilly Oregon Days


8/16/12 & 8/17/12

8/16/12, Middle Fork of the John Day River, OR - This was a short day of driving, but a good one.  After breaking camp, the lads had a good climb to the top of the Meadow Brook Summit.  I have found the best way to climb big hills is to get started in the cool hours of the morning, with a fresh team and use all available horsepower.  With this in mind, I started the morning with all three horses hitched up and pulled the top of the summit within an hour and a half.  When I got to the top, the horses were still relatively fresh.

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Reaching the top, I chatted with some folks from down the road while I unhitched Doc and brought him to the rear of the trailer.

With Bob as a partner, Bill likes to set a slow pace going downhill. It can try my patience, so I step him up a bit. He makes up for it on the flats or going uphill.

A few miles down the road, several things happened at once.  A friend stopped by to visit, it was getting hot and I was approaching the Middle Fork of the John Day River. Since I was faced with a long, steep hill, I decided to call it quits and make camp right there.

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A mountain stream on a hot day is definitely the way to go.

Even though the lads and I only made seven miles this day, we turned a hot day of pulling into one of rest and relaxation.  I though this was a perfectly acceptable alternative.

8/17/12, Long Creek, OR - Today, in many ways the lads and I repeated yesterdayís performance. We started the day with a 3 1/2 mile climb, up a 8 to 10% grade as we pulled away from the river. By the time we reached the top, the day was already starting to warm up.  At the top of the grade, I again put Doc in the rear and carried on with the Belgians pulling.  However, instead of a shallow downhill grade, the boys had to pull through a series of ups and downs as they wound their way across the top of the mesa towards the town of Long Creek.

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It was a steep climb leaving the river.  For this effort, I was glad I had all three horses in front of the wagon.

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I never feel bad about retiring Doc to the rear after climbing a steep hill in the Unicorn. He easily pulls at least half of the total weight.

By 2:30 PM, it was getting hot and we were approaching the town of Long Creek. Since we were facing another large hill, I decided to try and find a place around town.

I asked the first guy I saw and he had me pull the wagon in the yard.  Tonight, the lads have some halfway decent graze and a chance to roll.  To augment the grass, I fed about a half bale of hay. I have a full supply of hay on board as a nice guy gave me a couple of bales last night.

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Ahhh, the end of another day of pulling.

Tomorrow morning we have to climb about 1300 feet in elevation as we ascend to the top of Long Creek Mountain.  For the third day in a row, Iíll start with a Unicorn and retire a horse to the rear upon reaching the top of the hill.

Iím currently staying as the guest of nice old cowboy, whoís going to ride with me in the morning. Coincidentally, he is the other grandfather of 13 year old Blair Hoeft, who invited the lads to their farm for hay and water, before we reached the town of Pilot Rock.