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The Wagonteamster Channel has itís first video production - Journey To the Valley Of the Wild Horses

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Up the Hill & On the Ranch


8/21/12, S. of Seneca, OR (Coord, N.44 deg. 00.626 min., W. 118 deg. 55.443 min.)

Right off the bat, the lads had a large hill to climb. In 3 1/2 miles they climbed over a thousand feet at a grade of 8 to 10%. With a fresh team and all three of the guys pulling it wasnít too bad (but then again I was sitting in the wagon seat, not leaning into a collar!)

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Fortunately, this section of US-395 has very little traffic and low curve speed limits.  There were several curves where the forward visibility was less than 100 feet.

I kept the team fresh by taking short breaks every half mile.  So by the time we got to the top, 2 hours later, they were in pretty good shape.

Just before reaching the top, I ran into what I initially thought was a tough obstacle.  Placed across the road was a large cattle guard.  For two minutes I looked in vain for a go around gate. Then, I reached out and slapped myself.  This particular cattle guard was set up for nearsighted cows.  Everything was set up like a normal cattle guard; but, instead of a grate of pipes across the road, there was nothing but some white painted lines.  I had run across the white painted lines before, but never were all of the other pieces and parts in place. So, it fooled me (and the cows) but not my eagle eyed horses.  They never gave it a separate glance when they walked across the lines.

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Hey, you would have been fooled too (for at least a split second)!

The guys let out a sigh of relief when we reached the top (well, B.O.B. grunted).  While they were resting, I put Doc behind the trailer and reconfigured for a two horse pull.

Right after I started, I young mother with three kids came out of the campground to see the horses.  The two younger ones were too cautious to pet them, but not the oldest - he had no problem sitting up on Billís Back

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This is two thousand feet higher than the City of John Day, which we passed through yesterday.

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Even in the middle of the woods, Doc can find kids to sit on his back,

I stopped for an early lunch just before we exited the National Forest.  At that time, I did a harness swap and put Bill and Doc out front with B.O.B. in the rear.

The town of Seneca, which was eight miles further down the road wasnít much to speak of. There was one under-stocked convenience store and that was about it.  This is another town that was once thriving with a large sawmill. Unfortunately, the mill closed a few years ago and there now isnít much work in the area.

Originally, I planned on only going a few miles past Seneca and finding a place to camp. But, I couldnít find a place so I kept driving down the road.  Little did I know, but the Silvies Ranch occupies the entire valley that I was now entering.  I drove about 10 of the 20 mile length of the valley before I found a poor place to camp on some BLM that happened to touch the road.

The Silvies Ranch doesnít appear to run any stock and seems to be a large hay farm, not a ranch. Every few miles the floor of the valley would be home to a large designer hay barn, complete with three cupolas.  There were about an equal number of designer ranch houses. Every few hundred feet there were designer ĎNo Trespassingí signs hung on everything.  Somehow, the ranch (hay farm) didnít seem very western to me.

Tomorrow, I have about another 10 miles of hay farm to travel through before I once again enter the National Forest. The lads and I will have to climb up to a 5300 feet summit before starting a long downhill to the City of Burns.

Even though I got last nightís blog published in Seneca, I donít have any internet service tonight.  As Iím headed back into the Forest, it doesnít seem likely that Iíll have service tomorrow, but Iíve been fooled before.