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Wagonteamster

Shakedown In the Mountains

5/23/14, Valley Falls, OR - With a little over a week to go before the start of the trip, we took the horses and wagon up into the mountains for shakedown cruise and a little relaxation. Traveling into the hills can be a little arduous, as there are ten cattle guards to navigate around between the house and our destination, Mill Flat Lake. Six of the cattle guards are fairly easy as there is a path that I can drive the wagon through a go-around gate.  The other four are a little more difficult as I have to unhitch the team, drive them through the bypass gate, then tow the wagon across the cattle guard before I rehitch the lads to the wagon.  But, were getting good at this, so the lads still managed to get to the lake by 4:30 pm.

Bob and Doc just about to enter the forest, four mile short of our destination.

We allowed three days for the trip.  Most of the first day was traveling to the mountains. The second day was for relaxation, while the final day was spent going home.

Camped on the lake shore.  The grass was sweet and the lads spent most of their time grazing.

The fishing was only moderately good, but there were plenty of fun things to do; including, horseback riding, hiking, crayfish fishing and sitting around the campfire and enjoying some good company. Our friends Garen and Candice camped with us one night and we had a great crawfish boil.

In my hurry to pack for the trip, I forgot to throw a saddle on the wagon. Gone are the days when I throw myself on top of a bareback, 18 hand horse. Nowadays, I find a convenient hill or stump to give me a little height advantage. But Doc is a comfortable ride, so it was a good time. However, he does like to move out, so I have to stay on the reins to keep him from prancing too much.

The new solid front to the wagon works out great.  Thanks to Jacquie, we now also have satellite radio.

This is the view from the front of the wagon with the windows up for the night. 

The creek below the lake is full of crayfish, so Garen and I armed ourselves with some fishing poles and chicken livers for bait and caught a pail full for a crawfish boil on the second night.  With some rice and beans on the side, it make a real tasty supper.

This is part of the grazing allotment that Garen leases in the summer for his cattle.  As he spends a good deal of the summer, riding these hills and meadows, moving cattle, he has a good idea where to find the good fishing and crayfish holes. From his posture, you can see that crayfishing in a mountain stream on a warm day is not exactly a strenuous activity.

While they are eaten and taste similar to lobster, it takes quite a few more to make a meal. 80 to 100 crayfish were just about right for 4 people.

Tuesday, we leave on a three day trip in the car to explore our route for Trip #5. I already know that i have to make some changes in the original route. High traffic and a couple of long tunnels will keep us from traveling down the northern half of the Oregon coast.  Instead, well probably travel south from Portland down the Willamette River valley before we turn west to the coast.  Ill have a much better idea next week at this time.  Currently, I plan on setting out on the trip with the horses and wagon on Tuesday, June 3rd.

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