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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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Mesas and Water


5/28/12, A Mesa South of Rock Springs, WY- I’m currently 27 miles from Rock Springs and about 20 miles south of I-80.  Descending off ‘Little’ mountain, we walked downhill until reaching a valley bottom at lunchtime. From there, it was a difficult ascent of over a 1000 feet in elevation to the top of a large mesa.  Currently, we’re still on top of the mesa, several miles from where we first topped off.

The big news for the day is that I was able to refill the empty water containers at a pond near the road.

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This is Katie. She’s traveling to a new home in Northern California and joined me at morning break time for a cup of coffee.

Eight miles from my starting point on the side of the mountain, I arrived at a spring fed pond that I had been told was near the road. I didn’t count on being able to obtain water there, as I didn’t know if it was reachable (within 150 feet) of the wagon.  This is how close I would have to be to pump the water up to the containers.  Otherwise, I was going to have to carry 60 pound jugs up steep hillside.  Fortunately, the pond was only 90 feet away. Even though my pump is only rated for a 25 feet head, I was able to pump the water up a 30 to 35 foot high hill.

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I thought this was the only chance for water on the road to Rock Springs, but there was also a small creek flowing near the road, a few miles farther down.

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B.O.B. was trying to help me with the water jugs too much, so he had to be moved to the side of the wagon.

Filling up the empty water jugs really took the pressure off on making a speed run to Rock Springs. It is just over 60 miles from Flaming Gorge, and that is right at the maximum distance I can travel without a source of water.

All morning, we descended until the wagon came to a rest in the bottom of a valley for lunch.  Before tackling the big climb-out to the top of the mesa, I wanted a fresh team, still buzzing from the sugar of their lunchtime oats.  It was a good thing, because the hill turned out to be more than I bargained for.

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The wagon descended, then climbed out of this valley.

If I had known it was going to be such a climb (2 to 3 miles at an 8 to 10% grade) I would have hitched a third horse a lunch.  But, Doc and Bill were equal to the task and did a great job.

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A tired horse at the top of the hill.

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An un-tired horse, freegrazing on my alfalfa at the top of the hill.

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Bill is a strong, willing horse; but, he doesn’t have Doc’s stamina.

Tonight, we’re 20 miles further down the road, camped on top of a large mesa.  I set up separate electric fences on the front and back side of the wagon. At night, I’ll transfer the two Belgians to the rear pen, leaving Doc with the remaining grass at the front.

A couple of people have asked me about using plywood to cross cattle guards. At first, I thought it was a good idea, but then I played the ‘what if’ game.  If I used plywood and a horse side stepped even a foot, I would have to shoot a horse with a broken leg, two minutes later - guaranteed.  So, I’ll take the extra time and do things the way I am. I have enough tools to create a go-around gate if I have to.

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Wagonteamster Camp.  The grass is pretty good and the view is awesome.

It’s a long an arduous crossing from Flaming Gorge to Rock Springs, but we’re knocking it off, one piece at a time.

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For those of you that like butt shots of the boys, here’s a different perspective.