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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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Teton Valley


6/15 & 6/16/12 - Victor, ID - After pulling Pine Pass, the lads and I made the Teton Valley, ID, on the west side of the Teton Range. After driving a couple of miles past the town of Victor, I received an offer to stop and rest the team for a few days on some good grass. It was a great offer and the lads needed some R & R on grass, so we did an about-face and marched a couple of miles back to the northern side of Victor.

6/15/12 - After packing up my beautiful camp alongside Pine Creek, I hitched up the Belgians to start the day. For the first few miles, the uphill grade was gradual and since I didn’t feel like unpacking the trailer to get out the third harness, I hoped I could do the hill with only two horses.

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First morning break -  A cup of coffee, a ham and cheese omelet and some of the best nature has to offer.

For the first two hours, the going was pretty good.  The uphill grade was pretty consistent at 4 to 5% and the Belgians made short work of it.  This was followed by a 1/2 mile of 7 to 8% slope.  When I could see a long stretch of at least a 10% grade slope ahead, I pulled over and reached for the big gun - Doc’s harness, it was time to hook the ‘Gray Pulling Machine’ out front.

Now, Doc is a very proud horse when pulling out in front of the two Belgians.  He leans forward into the harness, his feet start slamming into the pavement, and I swear I can hear him humming ‘Hi-ho, Hi-ho, the seven dwarf’s marching song.  Bill works hard, B.O.B. can be persuaded to work hard, but Doc is a machine and easily out-pulls both the Belgians combined. If the going gets really rough, he leans so far into his harness I worry his belly may scrape the pavement.  And to think, I once gave this horse up for adoption because I didn’t think he would stay sound pulling a wagon down the road!

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If I wasn’t busy holding the camera in one hand and four lines in the other, I would be poking B.O.B, in the butt with the “Bob Stick”. This usually does the trick and gets him pulling good for a few minutes. For years, I carried a good hickory Bob Stick poker that I got in Illinois.  Lately I have to cut a new one out of willow every couple of weeks.

I broke the lads out for an early lunch on top of the pass.  Bill was pooped out, so I packed Doc’s harness away, put Bill’s harness on Doc and put Bill behind the trailer. One of the really nice things about traveling like I do with three horses is the versatility.   I can add or take away horsepower quickly and swap out a tired or sore horse when needed. A long time ago, I learned the meaning of the old statement: “Don’t beat a dead horse”. If I have a tired horse, I try to take the time to put a fresh one out front.  It makes all the difference in the world.

With Bob and Doc out front, I started the descent into the Teton Valley. The Teton Range is one of the most spectacular in the world when viewed from the east.  Incredible granite peaks rise from the valley floor and offer a view like few others.  From the west, the range is much less impressive. A long foothill obscures all but the peaks of the highest mountains.


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The Grand Teton and a couple of it’s minions poking their noses above the foothills on the west side of the range. This is the view shortly after leaving the top of Pine Creek Pass.

A few miles after hitting the floor of the Teton Valley, I came to the town of Victor.  Whenever I hit a town, I usually need a few supplies so I grabbed what I could.

I was about 2 miles north of Victor, headed for Driggs, when I stopped and talked with Deb.  She graciously offered me a place to let the team rest for a few days.  The timing was perfect, as the horses have now been out for slightly more than six weeks and have covered over 700 miles.  After a normal day off, they no longer have that well-rested look in their eyes, so I knew they need more time to eat and relax. So off to Deb and Garry’s place we went.

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The horses have been demolishing all of the good brome grass they can eat. They were looking pretty good, so we threw saddles on Doc and Bill, took Bob under lead and headed out on a little 14 mile ride to the mountains.  This may not seem like rest to most, but for horses used to pulling a 6000 pound wagon, 20 miles a day; a 14 mile horseback ride over level ground - is a day off.

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Deb holding Doc. Doc is a professional landscaper and takes a lawn mowing job seriously.  Since the lawn tractor is not currently running, he was more than happy to fill in while it’s getting repaired.  “Now, that’s a good work ethic!”

For the next few days, the major emphasis will be on fun and relaxation, with a minor in wagon maintenance and chores. I’ll continue to blog, but maybe not every night.