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The Big Sky State


6/26/12, Targhee Pass, MT - This afternoon, I crossed back to the east side of the Continental Divide and entered the State of Montana.  Iím currently seven miles west of the town of West Yellowstone. To sum up the day, I could say that it was real pleasant, full of nice people and beautiful scenery.

My day started in the Forest Service Campground. Cindy and Mike, whom I met the previous night stopped by bringing apples for the horses and a couple of breakfast sandwiches for me.  Cindy accepted my offer to ride along for a couple of hours. Sheís a great conversationalist and we had a very nice time as I merrily drove the team down the road.

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My rider is a school teacher, that has homes in Utah and here in Island Park, ID.

After Mike picked up his wife, I continued on another 4 miles before stopping for lunch. I chose to break the team out for their noontime meal at an RV Park/Laundromat. My dirty clothes bag was starting to get a little bulky, so I figured this would be a good time to combine lunch and laundry.

The guests and owners were really great. The lads got fed a few handfuls of horse treats and got a lot of attention.  While my clothes were drying, I checked the horsesí shoes and found that Doc had one that need to be replaced.  I presented the worn out shoe to the owners and they were kind enough to let me use their air compressor to fill up the wagon tires.  This was a great lunchtime!

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Bill had to do a little work at lunch, but I donít think he minded too much.

In the afternoon, I started up Targhee Pass. As a pass that crosses the Continental Divide, itís pretty wimpy. I doubt I gained more than 500 feet in elevation. Doc was in his Hi-ho, Hi-ho mood and wouldnít let B.O.B. pull. Doc wanted to conquer the Continental Divide on his own (it was on his Bucket List!)

At the top of the pass, I left the great state of Idaho behind and entered Montana. Iíll cross back into Northern Idaho on my way to Washington State, but not for another 4 weeks. This is the 21st State the I have traveled in by horse and wagon. By the time this trip is over, the lads and I will have visited 26 separate States.

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B.O.B. wasnít sure what to make of the Montana State sign. No dinosaurs, bucking horses or even a patriotic red, white and blue; it was kind of psychedelic.

A mile and a half into Montana, I pulled the lads over on a Forest Service road and set up camp about 300 yards from the highway.  This close to Jellystone Park there is a lot of grizzly bear activity, so I set up my ďYogi and Booboo deterrent systemĒ for the night. With two fence controllers and enough posts and electric rope for two electric fences it only takes a few moments to throw together.  The fences also act as a double barrier to keep the horses enclosed if they accidentally knock down the inside fence.  And, with a 5,000 to 10,000 output from the fence controllers, it would probably have Yogi the Bear running for Ranger Rick.

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With an electric fence enclosing the horses, and another one around the inside fence and the wagon, thereís not much chance of a Ďfurry pigí wandering into camp.

The other night, when I was camped at Swan Lake, I forgot to mention some visitors I had.  Just at dusk, 15 elk came down to the lake to drink.  They waded out into chest deep water, past the aquatic plants that were in shallow water. Not long after they were in the water, something up on the road spooked them and they all charged to shore.  It looked like a solid wall of water spray, about 75 feet across! Itís too bad I didnít have enough light to shoot pictures.

Tomorrow, Iím going to pick up some supplies in West Yellowstone, then head north out of town on US-191, towards the Gallatin River. I heard there wasnít a feed store in West Yellowstone, but since I paid Beverly Hills prices for oats in Driggs, I should have enough to reach Three Forks, MT.