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The Wagonteamster Channel has it’s first video production - Journey To the Valley Of the Wild Horses

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Into the Pines


8/12/12, Battle Mt. Summit, OR - It’s been a while since I’ve been shaded by a cool mountain forest or let the team graze on high mountain grass, but we’re back and happy to be there.  The trek to reach this fortress of green involved climbing through dry canyon sides, crossing a wind swept plateau and snaking are way up the side of a mountain. However difficult the journey, the reward justifies the means.

Shortly after sunrise, I had all three boys in harness and hitched.  In order to reach our mountain fastness, we had to climb an additional 2000 feet in elevation. Traffic was very light and it was a pleasant drive.  In spite of the low volume of cars, many stopped to chat and take pictures.  I really wasn’t in a big hurry, so I took the time to really talk with people.

The canyon was loaded with whitetail deer which moved off when the wagon to to within two or three hundred yards (I can usually drive to within 30 yards of mule deer).

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Stopping for a break on the side of the road.

In midmorning, we topped off on a plateau. One side of the road looked like it had always been used for ranching, while the other side appeared to have been once planted, then left fallow under the government CRP program.  The pictures below tell the story of how the land looks once the native grasses have been tilled under.

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The ranchland with native grasses looks dry and barren, but is actually covered with sturdy native grass that is drought resistant and makes fine winter pasture.

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The plowed over ground that is left fallow looks lush, but is actually covered with Crested Wheat which is not palatable to stock. It’s nearly worthless as a pasture.

For the few miles we spent crossing the plateau, I broke Doc off the front and put him behind the trailer (it only takes five or ten minutes to go from a 2 to a 3 horse hitch or vice versa).  The unicorn hitch is great for traveling up hills or on the flat, but is much more unstable going downhill.

Before starting up the side of Battle Mountain, on the far side of the plateau, I put Doc back in the lead position. A couple of miles short of the summit, I met the Villarreal family, which included young ‘Cooper’, his mom and grandparents.  For the last couple of miles, Cooper and his grandma rode along in the wagon.

The Villarreal’s brought a couple of large bales of good hay and some water for the horses - Thank You!


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After the harsh glare of the treeless lowlands, the first glimpse of close up pine trees was soothing to the eyes.

An accomplished horseman, Cooper was a lot of help working with and driving the horses.  With a couple of little line slaps he had the boys toeing the line!

When I made camp at the summit, Cooper was a great help unharnessing the horses and putting up the electric fence.

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I’ve always found farm and ranch kids very comfortable and competent working with large stock.

At 4270 feet above sea level, the temperature up here is about 10 to 15 degrees cooler than it was yesterday in Pilot Rock.  With a gentle breeze, cooler temperature and some shade from the trees it’s quite pleasant.

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I guess if I was a horse I would also be pretty happy about reaching the top.

Tonight, we’re camped in a nice grassy glade of Ponderosa pine right on the summit of the mountain.  Thanks to a nice neighbor, the boys have plenty of water, good grass and a great place to relax.

In fact, this is such a nice place, I’ve decided to spend an extra day up here and take a day off.

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B.O.B. - “Even though the ‘Ol Teamster is always slapping me on the butt and tell me to ‘get-up’, I forgive him - as long as he keeps scoring good places to camp like this!”

I could best sum this day up by saying a line from Tony the Tiger - ‘It’s Great!”