By Patty Wilber
Over Labor Day weekend 2013, the Back Country Horsemen of New Mexico, Pecos Chapter did repair and refurbishing of a bridge near Beatty’s Cabin in the Pecos Wilderness. For Labor Day 2014, almost the exact same crew (- Cathy, + Laurie) completed two more!
We, being back country HORSEmen rode in and packed our gear and supplies. I did not get a picture of Belle packing 2 x 12 boards! That was the most challenging load for sure.
Lacey carried two 50 pound sacks of feed, four cans of paint and a propane canister. One hundred and sixty four pounds. No problem.
Penny was my lead horse. She did a lot of back country work as a three-year-old, but most recently, she has spent two seasons as a Show Girl with Sydney. Penny did not miss a beat heading back to the back woods!
Lacey got her shot at Lead Horse, too. She ponied (BIG) John, who was carrying paint and tools, from the cabin to our bridge. She did not handle it quite as nonchalantly as Penny. But hey, John is about twice the size of Lacey and despite Lacey’s parade prance through the meadow, her mouth is not gapping at the bit!
There were two people crews, one for each of the two bridges.
Our bridge needed new railings, one new tread board down the middle, refurbished approaches, and paint.
Peter (pictured above), and Keith did most of the rail carpentry.
Richard and I worked on the approaches. I also drilled a lot of holes through rough cut 2 x 12 with a hand drill. I weighted the drill to help the bit bite by leaning on it with my sternum. I bruised that bone!
Richard, our fearless leader, reset the face boards (using my lovely pre-drilled nail holes) and moved A LOT of rock (while supervising the entire project).
We can check the DONE box: Bridges complete. Check! Very satisfying!
We rode out in the late afternoon. That is such a quiet time to ride. The light is slanted gold and the day’s warmth is rising into the still-hidden stars. There is little need to talk. Just ride.
The trail passes through 2013’s Jaroso fire. Last Labor Day that section looked like this:
In 2014, the black is not as stark and there is more ground cover. Squirt’s butt is closer in 2014.
These last two pictures reminded me that there is a thankfulness challenge making the rounds of Facebook. I am thankful to have the opportunity to use my horses to make a positive difference in the Pecos Wilderness. I am thankful to be able to observe the land rebounding after the fire. (Rain sure does help!)
I think we have (literally) nailed (and bolted) the bridges. Next Labor Day we may work on the cabin itself. The Bridge Club can become the Cabin Club? And I can get a 2015 fire recovery picture!