Oct 192018
 

By Patty Wilber

Three forests, six horses, one week!

Last Monday, we returned from our hunting trip in the Carson National Forest in the Cruces Basin Wilderness.  Indy and Cometa went on that.  It was Indy’s first hunting trip and because she had Cometa, our old and very level-headed Spanish Barb as her companion, she really did well.  I have considered selling her, since she is currently relegated to a walk-trot horse due to her bone chip, but, well, not yet.

The habitat consists of meadows, some big like in the picture below. and some small.  The trees are mostly aspen and spruce.  The aspen was turning and the gold leaves are so stunning!

Last Friday, Mary Ann Ende and I went to the Santa Fe National Forest in the Pecos Wilderness to get trash, already bagged by other trail volunteers, from an abandoned camp near Stewart Lake.

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Oct 122018
 

By Patty Wilber

Jim had an elk tag and I have a license that I can use for grouse, so we took Indy and Cometa and went to the Cruces Basin to try our luck. This year it was Camp Wilberry and not Camp Kingsbury and we did miss the camaraderie and amenities of the amazing Camp Kingsbury!

On Friday, we loaded up, left our place, and  after four hours of travel, arrived at the last turnoff to the trailhead.  There we discovered that the door to the camper had popped open, probably somewhere on the 25 miles of dirt road we had just driven, and virtually all our food, wine that we had put in metal water bottles, our brand new Jet Boil stove, our water purified and my very best milk crate from my days as a wildlife major at Humboldt State University had ejected out the back.

We were so hosed.

Well, when life gives you lemons you can give up or you can regroup.  We turned around, drove an hour back out and went first to Tres Piedras (no food store) and then the other way into Antonito in Colorado to restock.  We even found a small stove, but the store did not have the proper fuel canisters for the model they stocked…

We finally made the trailhead by 5:30 pm.  Indy and Cometa had a fine bonding experience, but they were ready to get out of the trailer! They stayed overnight tied to the trailer that was hooked to the truck and they did not wiggle or mess with each other.

We were ready to drink the new bottle of wine we bought.

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Sep 282018
 

By Patty Wilber

In order to see if my body stays in shape using only horseback riding as exercise, I went backpacking for my birthday with the Spouse and Progeny #2.

We went to Rocky Mountain National Park. Rocky mountain high, a la John Denver.  (Which, since 2007, is one of the official state songs of Colorado. Click the link to hear it.)

My trip leaders billed this as a very leisurely 6 mile hike up Inlet Creek.  It turns out doing pretty much anything outdoors with that duo results in the Epic Dial being in play. And it was 7 miles.  Just saying.

Mark, me and Jim. Mark’s wife Erika, missed the fun. She is in Vancouver!

First off, we drove from Estes Park (the town) into the National park, and the park was spectacular!  We saw a huge bull elk, a huge dead bull elk, pronghorn and then I said, “I would sure like to see another moose” (having seen some in Alaska).  We turned the corner and there was a bull moose!

I then tried conjuring up a bear on the drive, but that did not work. (We were also bear-free out on the trail, which was fine with me.)

The hike in was uphill, but the grade was gradual, so while is was not “very leisurely”, it was not strenous.  Also, my pack was light (this being a one night excursion), so the hike (and a short-on purpose-freezing cold swim in the creek for Jim and Mark) went well.

We cleared a down tree, because, well, once a Back Country Horseman trail volunteer, always a  trail volunteer, even if your horses are at home. In truth, I directed and Jim did the work.

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Sep 212018
 

By Patty Wilber

This is the last chapter!  If you missed any of the past Chapters, the links are all here. Thanks for reading!

CALLIE’S STAR by Patty Wilber

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapters 5 and 6
Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13
Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18  Chapter 19 Chapter 20.

CHAPTER TWENTY ONE-CALLIE’S  STAR

“I couldn’t raise Mom on the radio,” Jeff said.

“What if she went to town and doesn’t return until late?” asked Callie. A touch of panic made her voice squeak.

“It’s already pretty late,” Uncle Bob reminded her. The shadows were getting long. “But don’t worry, Callie,” he added. “We’ll think of something.”

“We can’t put her back! She might get kicked again!” said Callie.

“You sound like a mother hen,” said Uncle Bob, patting her shoulder.

Callie looked at the filly who was standing quietly with her head hanging low, still feeling the effects of the tranquilizer, and ran the lead line back and forth through her hands.

“Why are you so worried?” asked Jeff.

Uncle Bob winked at Callie. “She’s got a new filly, and she wants to protect her.”

“You mean…?” said Luis.

Callie looked up and a smile stretched across her sun-browned face. She stood very straight and squared her shoulders.

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Sep 142018
 

By Patty Wilber

Callie’ Star Chapter 20 is posted.

+++++++++++

I have mentioned a few times that we have been having a long spell of dry weather in New Mexico.  Years.

We have had rains this monsoon season, so it seems like things have eased up some, but truthfully, we may be just getting adjusted to a new normal.  It has not been wet enough to turn the drought monitor map green.

The Forest Service has had reports that Spruce Spring in the Manzanos was not running. This is a developed spring, with a spring box and feeder hose the empties into a water tank.  Back Country horsemen packed in the current tank on Cheryl Nigg’s mule, Joker, many years ago, and we also fixed the spring in June 2017, when a tree had fallen on and crimped the feeder hose.

We were hoping the current problem was something like that, this go around.

Mary Ann and I left the Ponderosa Restaurant with our take-out hamburgers at 1:30 pm (Atti and I had played with cows in the morning, so this was the earliest I could go) and we headed to the Spruce Trail trailhead.

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Sep 092018
 

By Patty Wilber

To get every chapter as soon as they post, you can subscribe to the site!  If you missed any of the past Chapters, the links are all here. Thanks for reading!

CALLIE’S STAR by Patty Wilber

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapters 5 and 6
Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13
Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18  Chapter 19

CHAPTER 20 THE FILLY

It was late afternoon when the other groups began to ride in. They were trail worn and weary until they saw the corralled herd. Then the tiredness melted away like dirt removed with soap and water.

“Well, look at that!” said Mr. Sanchez, trotting his horse up to the fence. “There are some nice mares and babies in there.” He nodded with pleasure. The orphan filly rushed to the fence. “Looking for your mama?” he asked her gently. She sniffed his gelding’s nose and walking dejectedly away, crying out in disappointment.

“Her mother wasn’t captured,” explained Callie. She noticed that the filly’s patchy coat was beginning to darken with sweat.

Jo McCabe rode up to join them. “We thought they’d headed for greener pastures, and they’ve been here all the long!”

Callie, Luis and Jeff beamed like proud parents, but when the filly, hearing the new horse, spun around and whickered hopefully, Callie’s face fell.

Jo saw the distress in the girl’s eyes and said, “That’s a pretty little filly, Callie. Don’t worry about her. She’ll be fine.”

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Sep 072018
 

By Patty Wilber

For the last eon, the Pecos Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen has gone to Beatty’s Cabin in the Pecos Wilderness over Labor Day. If you click here, you can check out five years of Labor Day blogs.  I am sure there are more.

But this year, we went to the Manzanos to work on the Ox Canyon Trail.

We stayed in the Ox Canyon Campground.

Pretty ! Jim and Terri set up an electric pen. We highlined.

Here is a link to a topo map.  This is not a very well known campground and it was perfect for our bunch of horse trailers.  I think three other parties drove through over the weekend and because we had sort of taken over, they moved on.  It is a a dry campground, in that there are no water spigots, but there are nice tables, fire rings, and a decent outhouse!  There are good places to highline stock and plenty of trailer parking.

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Aug 312018
 

By Patty Wilber

To get every chapter as soon as they post, you can subscribe to the site!  If you missed any of the past Chapters, the links are all here. Thanks for reading!

CALLIE’S STAR by Patty Wilber

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapters 5 and 6
Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13
Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18

CHAPTER NINETEEN-CORRALLED

After the hard charge out of the little draw into the meadow, the band of mares and colts settled into a fast and somewhat skittish walk.  They didn’t care all that much for the people, but the confident demeanor of the rider’s horses gave them some comfort.  And some of them had been corralled in previous round-ups.

By the time they had neared the corral, things were going along pretty nicely and Callie said, “The others will be out all day and not find much more than prints,” She was feeling both extremely lucky and a teeny bit smug.

“They might find The Outlaw!” said Jeff, “But you can bet they never expected us to come back with the herd!”

“Don’t count your horses before they are corralled,” said Uncle Bob, sternly. “They will get nervous as we get closer to the corral, so stay alert. Rick, you take the left side as that is the way they will break.  Jeff, you go with him.  Luis, watch the right side, but be smooth and quiet. I will push from behind with Callie,” and he nodded at her.  “If any horses break out of the bunch, Rick and I will go after them, and Callie, you will keep working the herd forward.”

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Aug 242018
 

By Patty Wilber

To get every chapter as soon as they post, you can subscribe to the site!  If you missed any of the past Chapters, the links are all here. Thanks for reading!

CALLIE’S STAR by Patty Wilber

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapters 5 and 6
Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13
Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN-STAMPEDE

Everyone was mounted and gathered around Uncle Bob as he unfolded a piece of paper and read off  names.  He broke them into four parties. Mr. Sanchez, one of the storytellers from last night, headed up one group. Mr.Romero, Luis’s dad, had another and Ms. McCabe led the third.

“Where’s she from?” Callie whispered to Luis.

“She runs the Triple A Quarter Horse ranch,” he replied and Callie nodded. She knew of the Triple A because Uncle Bob sometimes did business there.

Uncle Bob’s voice broke into their conversation, “And I’ll take the fourth group. Jeff, Callie, Luis, and Roberto Sanchez’s son Rick, will go with me.”

“Where are we headed?” Callie asked.

“See that hill over there?” Rick said, pointing westward. “We’ll start near there.”

Callie felt her heart thump, and the butterflies in her stomach batted their wings wildly. That was near where Luis had seen the Outlaw and his mares yesterday.

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Aug 172018
 

By Patty Wilber

On Tuesday, we got up at 4 am to make our 5 am cast off for our fishing for silvers trip on the Kasilof River, on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska.  There was a bit of road construction so we called to alert our guides that we were running a few minutes late…and we found out that we were actually scheduled for Wednesday…We went ahead and got the lay of the launch site.

Then we went home, took a nap, ate, and went canoeing.

My sister and I hiked around the little lake, paddled around the little lake and practiced our air guitar.

On Wednesday, we got up at 4 am to to make our 5 am cast off for our fishing for silvers on the Kasilof River.  Only this time, we actually went. My sister Kathy, my brother Mike, me, and my niece Maryanne all went in one boat and Jim and our son-in-law, Rick, went with two other guys in another boat.

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