Monday, August 12, 2013

Family Pack Trip 2013!

This was the week of our annual Family Pack Trip!  We tried something we've never done before, and that is to take five horses and gear and ride, instead of our usual procedure, which has been to take llamas as pack animals and hike.

Stormy, pictured here, had a really hard time on the trailer ride up there, jumping all around and pushing on the other horses, etc. About two-thirds of the way through, we put the essential oil blend of Peace and Calming on his ears.  After that he calmed down, and whether it was the oil blend, or he was too tired and hurt to act up again, he was definitely more calm.

When we unloaded him, though, we could see that he had hurt himself in the trailer.  He had cuts on his right side, and his right back hoof was cut.  Oh, Stormy!  He was still walking, so we decided to put the lightest load on him and see if he could still hike.
Mary on Stormy

Peter on Zenos

Bruce saddling up Cookie

Bruce and Libby on Cookie

Loading up the horses took awhile, but we finally got them all loaded and were ready to head up the trail! 

We got about 1/4 - 1/2 mile up the trail, and Stormy just stopped.  Wouldn't move at all.  After some discussion, Bruce went on to Langer Lake with Libby, Peter, and the rest of the horses, and Mary and I stayed behind with Stormy.  Bruce said he would go to the Lake and then come back and get us.  Well, after sitting around for ten minutes or so, Mary and I decided that the only logical solution was for us to go back to the trailer with Stormy and take him home, and then come back later.  We left a note on the trail, with some stuff, so Bruce would find it, and then left.  We were able to get Stormy to move downhill!  We were very blessed to get him into the trailer.  I was worried about that, because he has a hard time getting in anyway, and after the trauma of the ride up, I wasn't at all sure that he would get in!  It took about five minutes and some pushing, pulling and shoving, but he finally got in. 
Back in the truck headed home.
Heavenly Father really helped me on that drive home to stay awake and make it without any problems.  I stewed all night about whether Bruce found the note or not.  I woke up at 4:47 am and decided the best thing to do was to leave Stormy, and hope his hoof would be all right, and head back up to the campsite.  Again - we were very blessed to make the drive without incident.
At the bottom of the trailhead

Mary and I with our packs ready to hike!
The hike in to Langer is about two miles, and I'm not sure of the elevation change, but it's significant!  At least in the first mile - it's up, up, up.  I had to stop often.  Mary was pretty patient!

Here is Mary on the famed "King Crack Rock".  It was supposed to be kind of sad that she had to take the picture by herself, because usually all the kids are in it, but Mary was actually kind of glad to be the "King of the Hill" and not have to fight for it!  Middle child syndrome.  :)
This is my favorite spot on the trail.  This creek is a heavenly spot!

And here we arrive at Langer Lake!

We headed to our regular campsite, and there was our camp, all set up at the base of "Big Rock Candy Mountain"! 
Strawberry was there by herself, all tangled around a tree.  She had been left behind when Bruce, Peter and Libby took the other three horses and went up to Ruffneck Peak.  Man, we were SO glad to be back in camp and be "reunited", so to speak!

How we missed our older kids, though!  There were gentle reminders all around...

The comforting thought was that at least Jesse and Josh will be able to come with us next summer, hopefully!

Mary did an awesome job starting the fire.  We made sure Libby learned how to build a fire on the last day, so that she could do it at Girl's Camp next year.  It's a sure-fire thing, that no girl from our family will go to Girl's Camp without knowing how to build a fire!

I kept thinking how these are the years of the pack trip that Peter and Libby are going to remember the most.  Peter wore this hat he got from Joseph for his birthday, and this flannel shirt that we found at Grandma and Grandpa's house in CO, and he wore them the whole time!  His cowboy boots and spurs came in handy with Zenos!

Peter also had his turn at fire-building.

Isn't that a classic picture of Peter, the one kneeling by the fire?  This is the prelude to his "Man From Snowy River" stunt that he pulled the next day...

All three kids (OK - and Bruce too) were really good at climbing straight up the face of Big Rock Candy Mountain.  This was named by our cousin Matt, who first came to Langer Lake with Uncle Curtis, Josh and Joseph years ago.

On their hike up to Ruffneck Peak on Thursday, Bruce was looking over and surveying the loss of the Big Scary Tree, when another dead tree decided to attack him!
It was a doozy of a cut.  He looked like he had try to do a piercing or something!  Thanks to Lavender essential oil, he's doing OK.
Here's our messer-mut that reminded us of someone else in our family eating!  (1/3 on their face...)
 In the campsite, someone previously had taken a big flat rock and leveled it out so it made for a perfect table for playing cards! 
We played a game of Rook on Thursday and Friday night.  Mary won the first night, and I won the second night.  Ya, baby!

Every night and morning, Bruce and the kids would move the horses from our campsite over to where there was more grass to munch on.  They rode bareback.

On Friday morning we ate breakfast (hashbrowns, bacon, eggs and French Toast), and then saddled up the horses to ride up to Ruffneck Peak. (The second time for Bruce, Peter and Libby).
We had four horses and five of us, so one person took a turn hiking.  Bruce, Libby and I all took turns on the way up.  Peter never did because he had to ride Zenos - she takes some special handling! 
The hike up to Ruffneck is challenging - and it was for the horses too.  They were out of shape.  They had to stop just as much as we did!
This is the meadow where we have taken family pictures in the past.  Remember the smiling llama picture?  ha ha!
When we got to the final stretch, Mary took off up the hill on the shortcut through the rocks!  Libby took the shortcut the day before.  Peter had to stay with the horses.
We made it to the Lookout!

This is a small portion of the AWESOME view from Ruffneck Peak!
Lookout Rusty took this picture for us.

So when we got down to the saddleback, there are some steep switchbacks that look kind of like this:
Peter was riding Zenos.
He was trying to get her to go around the switchback, but all of a sudden, she just took off straight down the mountain!  Peter yelled, "Ohhh!  We're doin' Man From Snowy River here!  Watch out!"  He managed to get her on the trail again, sneaking in between Libby on Mackee and Bruce on Strawberry.  Wow!  It was really something to watch - seriously reminiscent of Jim Craig style.  I was laughing so hard when it was over!  Go Peter!

Josh, Joseph and Jesse - you'll be sad to know that Big Scary Tree is GONE!  A fire went through that area last year, and it must have just taken the whole thing down.  We went down and tried to find where the roots were, and thought we might have found it.  Here are the remains!
We did find another tree though, and Mary named it Tall Scary Tree!
We couldn't pass up Muscle Rock without some pictures.
When we got to camp and Mary was taking Cookie back to the grazing area, she had a run in with a burnt out log!  Libby fell off of Mackee too. I heard Peter say, "Libby, how are you even doing that?"

Morning on Langer Lake.  The best!!
Sleepy River McGee (aka Mackee) in the morning sun
After breakfast and scripture study on top of Big Rock Candy Mountain, we broke camp and headed out.  Is this an awesome hiker or what?
Libby and I hiked all the way out on foot.
Here are the kids on King Crack Rock again!

And the final stretch...

And thus ends another successful Family Pack Trip!

PS Just as a follow-up, when we drove in to our driveway at home, Stormy was running around the pasture.  His hoof is fine and the other cuts are healing as well.  Yeah!