Sep 052014
 

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!

Penny (in the back, June 2010, age three)

Penny, (in the back), June 2010, age three. Risa in the front.

Penny, 2014, age seven.  Same job, different partner.

Penny, 2014, age seven. Same job, different partner (Lacey).

 

Penny: “i like it out here! lots to see! r those cows?!”
Me: “Yep, but that is not our job today!” There is a grazing lease in this part of the Pecos, so cows are around!

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!

Lacey ponying John.  He is wearing a grazing muzzle, not a Hannibal Lecter anti- flesh-chomping-mask!

Lacey ponying John. He is wearing a grazing muzzle, not a Hannibal Lecter anti- flesh-chomping-mask!

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.

Old rail fail!

Old rail fail!

Rail repair crew to the rescue!

Rail repair crew to the rescue!

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).

You can see the one new tread board, and the newly painted face board for the approach.  Note how big the step is up on to the bridge.

Keith is securing a new railing.  You can see the one new tread board, and the newly painted face board for the approach. Note the unsafe gap at the base of the face board and the height of the step.

Gaposis is gone! John is heading to the cabin side of the bridge so we can finish painting. (The rail is done.)

Gaposis gone! John is heading to the cabin side of the bridge so we can finish painting.

Done!  We only had enohgh lates for the rail and the sides.  The tread is a darker oil based paint.  It is an artistic bridge job....

Done! We only had enough latex for the rails and the sides. The center tread is a darker oil based paint. It is an artistic bridge job… From back to front our bridge crew was:  Peter, Richard, Keith, Chuck (painter deluxe) and me. Fortunately, it is hard to see the ridiculous amount of paint that my shirt mysteriously accumulated! I don’t have a picture of the crew for bridge two, but they did very similar and, of course, outstanding work. Thanks Abby K. for taking this picture!!

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:

Jaroso Burn, Trail 25 Labor Day, 2013

Jaroso Burn, Trail 25, Labor Day, 2013

In 2014, the black is not as stark and there is more ground cover. Squirt’s butt is closer in 2014.

Jaroso Burn, Labor Day, 2014.

Jaroso Burn, Trail 25, Labor Day, 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Marilyn

    Sounds like an exciting weekend! BTW, I found a copy of the book on horse colors — fascinating!

  • Karen Denison

    Thank you for the work you do on trails!

  • Patty

    You are welcome. (But really, it is so much fun, it hardly feels like work!!)

  • Patty

    It was a fun trip! Nice on the book!!!

  • Sharon

    Which color book? I like them, too! My husband was also in BCH years ago and also worked on Beatty’s cabin. Sharon