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Rider, Cheese, Kids & Hills

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6-22-12, Lamont, ID - Iím currently 9 1/2 miles north of the ID 33/ ID 32 junction, on state route 32. Today was a very fun and rewarding day, full of surprises, good people, beautiful country and challenging hills.

I was up and moving early this morning.  By 6:50 am, the team was hitched and on the road. To avoid the rush hour traffic on the highway, I stayed on the gravel frontage road until it ended at the edge of Driggs. By then, everyone was safely at work, logging on to Wagonteamser.com.

I stopped at the gas station to pick up some snacks and ended up talking to fellow teamster - Ron for about 20 minutes.  Ron has about 20 head of different types of draft horse and is what us teamsters would call, ďAn EnthusiastĒ.

My next stop was at the grain store where I me Kari, a fellow teamster that has been following my blog since Trip #1.

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Kari, loading his kids, nephews and nieces on Doc.

Stopping at ďCoryísĒ grain store I made an interesting discovery.  Either he is way too proud of his grain; or Obama has appointed a new Oat Czar who saw to an immediate price increase.  I limited myself to 4 bags, which should be enough to reach Bozeman if I canít get any grain in West Yellowstone.

I enjoyed being a passenger as Kari drove most of the four miles to his farm, north of Driggs. The Teton valley is full of driving enthusiasts and I met at least a half dozen teamsters while I was here.

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As is usual we ran out of small kids at Kariís farm before Doc ran out of back space. If you were ever wondering what a mean, cantankerous horse looks like - well, that ainít it!

Kariís dad milks three cows and makes fresh cheese nearly every day. The grandkids were lined up with their piece of paper towel, like chicks in a nest, waiting for grandpa to get all the whey out of the cheese so they could have a hunk of straight out of the pot. This morning, as I sat there with my paper towel in hand (and an open mouth) I was nothing but a chick in the nest! Thereís not much better eating than warm cheese, right out of the pot.

When I left the farm, I had a couple of packs of fresh mozzarella and some bacon and pork chops from a newly killed hog - thank you!

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Not far north of Kariís farm, some of the majesty of the Teton Mountains begins to reveal itself.

After turning north on State Highway 32, the wagon rolled across flat terrain for a few miles, before encountering some steep up and down hills. Normal 5 to 7 % grade hills are not that big of a deal, but a lot of these were sloped at about 10%. The two Belgians were hitched and even though Bob was pulling good, Billy was wearing out fast.

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After tackling 5 of these little 10% grade hills, Bill was thinking, ĎOh no, not anotherí.

From looking at Google Maps, I had my sight set on the creek in the picture below as a possible camping spot.  Kariís father said it was named after a female dog (not an ex-wife). Even after the roadbed was built up 50 feet over the creek, the 10 to 12% pitched hills leading to the creek revealed how it actually got itís name

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With no possible place to camp, I had to use the turnout (near the car) to swap Bill out for Doc.  The hill was over a mile long.  All during the climb, B.O.B. stayed even with Doc and pulled just as hard.

After reaching the top of the hill, the scenery was fantastic. I desperately looked for a place to camp, but a local farmer had plowed and planted his fields to include the highway right-of-way. Oh well, he has to make a living too.  And being nothing but a Free-Grazer, I have little room to complain.

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Now, ainít that a pretty sight!

On the other side of the hill (without a grand view) I found a nice piece of grass to camp on and graze the horses.

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Some really nice grass and a few aspen to scratch on isnít a bad deal.

According to Google Maps, the lads have about 7 or 8 miles of hills to climb up and down in the morning, before the land starts flattening out as we get closer to Ashton.  Iíll have Doc and Bill up to face the challenge.