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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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Last of the Oregon Forest


8/22/12, Devine Ridge Summit, OR, Coord. N. 43 deg, 47.968 min., W. 118 deg. 59.570 min.  (By the way, these coordinates allow Barry Rayburn, keeper of the Google Maps Section, to pin my location to within just a few feet. There’s no hiding from Big Brother, or Barry for that matter).

I spent the early part of the morning traveling through the Silvie Hay Farm. It took about 2 1/2 hours to leave behind the hay barns and ‘No Trespassing’ signs that were designed on Fifth Avenue in New York.

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You would think that such a barn would house third cutting alfalfa or clover - nope, it’s just plain old grass hay.

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There are some that would disagree with me; but, I consider wallpapered ‘No Trespassing’ signs distasteful and unneighborly (even with a cute little brand symbol on the sign).

Leaving the south end of the Silvie River Valley, the lads and I made our way up Trout Creek, towards the National Forest.

When I got to the base of the hill leading towards the 5300 feet summit, I stopped and broke the team out for lunch.

After feeding the lads, I figured it would be a good time to take a little nap myself. Well, B.O.B, had other ideas.  He thought some tiny little flies on his back were monsters, so he stomped and pulled on the wagon so much with his lead rope, I never did catch any ‘Z’s’.

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Bob and Doc, pulling up Trout Creek on the south side of the valley.

Since internet access has been tough to come by, I didn’t know how steep was the hill to the summit.  I erred on the side of caution and reconfigured the lads for a unicorn before I rehitched them from lunch.  Most of the pull wasn’t too bad and Doc pulled the wagon by himself. As an explanation - When all three are hitched up and the grade is less than 4%, Doc usually won’t let the others pull.  He has a 4 1/2 to 5 mph walk that leaves the others trotting to catch up. If I pull back on his lines, he just gets hard in the mouth and takes the weight of the wagon anyway.

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This should be the last time I enter a National Forest until I’m down near Lake Tahoe, CA.

Just below the summit of Devine Ridge, I turned into a campground to get some water. The campground was completely empty. The high heat and lack of rain has pretty well burnt up the forest and the Ponderosa Pines in the campground are distressed and in a dormant stage.

Spying a well house, I drove the lads over and set about getting some water. The water spigot was probably the slowest I’ve ever seen.  I child with a straw could probably draw water as fast as that delivered by this faucet.

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Pulled up at the well house for water. I’ll show a close up picture later, but you can get an idea on how dry it is by the state of the normally green Ponderosa Pines.

While I was waiting on the faucet to deliver some water, I broke Doc off the front of the hitch and drank a cocktail (how’s that for multitasking?)

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I finally found another use for my ‘Bob Stick’ (other than poking it’s namesake in the rear end).

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Even with foliage this dry, the Forest Service is still allowing campfires inside the fire rings of the campgrounds. I guess they’re worried about not getting the $8 fee from the campers in the campground. It’s so dry, I even cautioned the lads about which way to point their hind ends when they’re expelling gas!

It was a short drive to the summit from the campground.  After only a half mile, you can see that a slight shift in past available moisture has made a huge difference on the state of the pine trees. By and large, those trees, only a few hundred yards away were largely unstressed.

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5340 Feet - that’s as high as we’ll be in quite a while.

Just past the summit was an entrance to another campground.  And, amazingly enough, I saw a nice meadow of mostly green orchard grass. With a “Hi-oh Silver” I spun the wagon into position and went about setting up camp.

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Now, there are some happy boys.

In the picture below, you can see how I set up two separate enclosures for the night. One fence is powered from the front fence controller, the other from the rear. That way, if one fence goes down, it’s more likely that the other horse(s) will stick around.  Also, I’ll have a horse to chase the other(s) with.  On that note - twice on this trip I’ve found a section of the fence laying down in the morning. In both instances, the horses honored the ‘threat’ posed by the down fence and stayed in the enclosure.

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Because he does the most work, Doc get the enclosure with the best grass.  I also tend to give him more oats and an extra flake of hay or two.  Somehow, B.O.B. seems to maintain his wait well without any special additions to his diet?

Tomorrow, I have a 17 mile downhill pull to the City of Burns. If I can find a place to rest the team for a couple of days, that would be great.  For the trip down to Lakeview, at the southern part of the state, I have to stock up on enough hay, grain and food to last for 140 miles.  Once we get rolling on this section of the trip it will be nonstop.