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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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Like Eating An Elephant



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5/26/12. Dutch John, UT - Today was short, but difficult and fairly fun. Throughout the day, there were obstacles to overcome for both myself and the team.  When faced with a challenge, I would look for a success path, then set myself and the boys in that direction.

We had only descended two miles on the day’s journey when he hit a real barrier. There was a large cattle guard placed across the road and no apparent go-around gate.  Finally, on the right side of the road, I saw a gap in the split rail fence, 200 feet from the road bed.  There was no way I was going to drive the wagon down the hill, so my only option was to unhitch the team, drive and lead them all through the gate, bring the wagon across the cattle guard, rehitch them and get underway.

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There’s probably not a lot of horse and wagon traffic across the Flaming Gorge Dam, so the road construction people didn’t opt for the added expense of putting in a go-around gate next to the cattle guard.

After setting both parking brakes and chocking a wheel on the wagon. I unhitched the team, drove them back up the road 200 yards (where I could get down the hill) drove them 100 yards ahead of the wagon and tied them to some trees. Then, I went and led (herd sour) B.O.B. the same way.  The road was slanted downhill, so I used the brakes to nudge the wagon forward. Just when I was trying to figure out how to get the tongue over the grate, a lady jogger showed up and lent a helping hand by holding up the tongue. This is another case whereby someone shows up at just the right time. I didn’t see another walker all day long.

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On the center-left, you can see what passes for a go-around gate in Utah.

After rehitching the team and fetching B.O.B., we were only delayed about 45 minutes. If there had not been a go-around gate in the fence, one would have magically appeared in my wake.

Another obstacle in our path was the rather steep descent to the surface of the reservoir. For 5 miles the roadbed descended at an 8% grade.  This is where the dual brake systems came in handy.

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A portion of the reservoir visible off Doc’s nose.

The next challenge the team and I had to face was a large cable stay bridge across an inlet to the reservoir.  This would normally be no problem, but the bridge made a hollow thunking noise when there hooves hit it. With a little smooth talk from me, they walked right across.

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I can just read Bill’s thoughts, ‘What, are you crazy?’

Traveling along in the wagon for the two miles before the dam was Shirrina (SP?).  She was visiting Flaming Gorge with her cousin and asked, “How much for a ride?”

I replied, “It’s free, if you’re good company to ride with.”

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After making it down the hill, I thought it was a good time for a glass of wine. It wasn’t noon, but the old British custom of waiting until after lunch is not appropriate for all occasions.

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Looking rather cool as they crossed this beautiful bridge.

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Most of that smile didn’t originate in my wine glass, I was having a great time!

I stopped for an early lunch in the Visitor Center parking lot.  While I was there, a few kids had to try Doc out for size.  Doc didn’t really think of this as a challenge; more like a perk!

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Doc, up to his old tricks again. If the gypsies can’t lure away all of the kiddies, he thinks he can.

Our next challenge was the Dam itself. Just after pulling on to the dam, a whole line of traffic showed up.  So I pulled over and let 6 trucks and 20 cars go by.  I hadn’t seen a truck all morning, so it was only natural that they would all show up just as I was starting to cross the dam.

As far as the horses were concerned, the dam was just another road to walk on. It was several hundred feet down to the gorge below, but I’ve never owned a horse that was scared of heights.

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Starting across the dam.

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If you look closely, you can see the support for the roadbed cut in the side of the cliff.

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The river in the gorge below the dam.  I had the side window closed as the wind was gusting to 50 mph.

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Not long after getting off the dam, I stopped to let traffic by and shot this picture of the top part of the dam.

Our last big obstacle for the day was the steep climb up to the town of Dutch John.  My ace team of Doc and Bill put their shoulders to it and did a great job.

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This is the view looking back as we started our climb out.

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“No Doc, those hills are for tomorrow.”

When faced with a series of obstacles in life or when trying to achieve a goal, it best to treat them like you would if you were trying to ‘eat and elephant’.  Take it one bite at a time!

Tomorrow morning we begin a dry 64 mile trek to the City of Rock Springs, WY.  There really isn’t anything between here and there. But, we’ll just gnaw on that chuck of meat - one bite at a time!