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Meeting Lee the Horselogger

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1/3/12 - Missouri Valley, IA - Today, I had the pleasure of meeting Lee the Horselogger. Lee has the distinction of continuously driving a horse-drawn wagon around America since 2006. After having the family ranch (and his residence) sold out from under him, Lee hit the road with his pair of Suffolk horses and started across country.  To complicate matters, he had recently been diagnosed with a severe form of cancer.  Undeterred, Lee successfully treated his cancer with herbal medicine and continued east to Massachusetts, from his previous home in Montana.  Since that time, hes managed to crisscross all over the country spreading a lot of goodness; and currently has no symptoms of cancer.

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Chatting with Lee at his camp in Palmer Lake, CO.

In 2008, before setting off on my own adventure, the tale of Lees journey was one of the primary things that made believe it was possible to do what I do.

When I checked his website this weekend, I saw he would be traveling just north of Colorado Springs at the same time that Sandy and I were traveling through this town on our way back to Nebraska - I couldnt pass up the opportunity!

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I borrowed this photo from his website, as it shows Lees old stallion (Tom) pulling in the right-lead position.  Sadly, last week, while traveling through Denver, Lee lost this great horse to colic.  He had faithfully pulled Lee for thousands of miles.

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The Suffolk Punch horse is one of the really great draft horse breeds. This mare, who has been with Lee for several years is typical of the breed. A compact, old-style horse that is: well proportioned, strong, willing, and just a darn good pulling horse.

Lee is heading east for a horse-logging job in Massachusetts.  Tonight, hes camped in the midst of Colorado Springs and heading south for Pueblo, CO.  When he gets there, Lee is turning East down the Arkansas River and US Route 50 for his trip across the prairie. With hay in short supply and the worst of winter yet to come, this is a very sensible route.  There are four major river systems that flow east out of the Rockies: the Missouri River, the Platte River, the Arkansas River and the Rio Grande.  The Arkansas is the southern most river that pretty much flows due east, and in the direction he wishes to travel. Journeying on this route hell find fairly mild weather and enough feed to see him through.

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The team all harnessed up and ready to be hitched (as soon as I quit chatting and burning up his daylight).  Lee is currently driving a 4-Up with one ponied off the back.  As soon as he stops at the feed store, hell pick up the pins he needs to convert to 5-Up (3 at the wheel and 2 in the lead). When you have 11,000 pounds of wagon and trailers, you need every horse pulling.

Tonight, Sandy and I are back in Missouri Valley.  Tomorrow afternoon Im back to work (at least for another five weeks). Then, Im back to Colorado to prepare for my next journey.

Happy New Years Everyone!