Hi Cowgirls,
hier ist die Dominique. Wenn ich mal einige ruhige fünf Minuten habe überlege ich mir was für einen Artikel... Ich habe hier erst mal einen Artikel für Euch, von einem amerikanischen Gast geschrieben, die dieses Jahr einen Oregon Trail mit uns gemacht hat... und bei den "City Slickers" berichten Chris und Moni von einem unserer Ritte.
Later, Dominique

Oregon Odyssee

Saturday 8/7

Looking for the scruffiest person at the Portland airport, we zeroed right in on Dominique Bowers. Dominique, a transplanted German, would be in charge of the horses and us for the next two weeks.

Her husband, a grizzled ole American cowpoke, would be in charge of the grub and camp. We liked

Dominique immediately. Her down- to-earth manner suited us just fine and we quickly realized we would follow wherever she led. To test us, she took us to a sushi bar. Wolfgang, a 31 year old Austrian truck driver was with us. It was 7 p.m.. Wolfram and Günther, the final two of our six guests, were to arrive at 10:30. We were killing time 'till then.

Lois and Jen's repeated assurance that, "Some ice cream would be fine", led to naught. Straight into the sushi bar she marched us. Around and around the oval counter in front of our stools went a model train pulling cars loaded with various types of sushi. In the middle of the oval college kids, trying to look Japanese, busily prepared more delicacies. The place had the atmosphere of an old diner full of yuppies and aging hippies. To set the tone, we immediately began taking pictures. To our amazement Wolfgang was matching us picture for picture. But he was a roockie. This early sprint quickly did him in. In the days to come his camera barely broke a sweat. We know we were in for a marathon. (Final count - with four cameras and three photographers - over 700 pictures).

Taking notes of all these observations as we walked through Portland I foresaw the difficulty of getting this all down while riding. I flashed on reins in the teeth as I scribbled away.

Günther, a 43 year old German, special education teacher arrived at 10:30. But Wolfram was now coming in at 1:00 A.M.. Dominique offered to put us up in a motel for the night. Or she could drive us to camp and come right back. A three our drive she would try do in two in a half... Alright, we'll all just wait. Though the guys had just completed trans Atlantic flights, the guys sat up with Dominique and Jennifer to wait for 1:00. Lois and I bowed to our old age and dug out our sleeping bags to get some shut eye in the van.

Hour later everyone reappeared with Wolfram, a 41 year old German Industrial engineer. Through the dark drive east we strained to make out the majestic (we have been told) Columbia Gorge. That it was 3 A.M. did not deter Lois and I when Dominique stopped for gas. Though I noted, "I feel I've been rode hard and put up wet", I managed to find some post cards.

Sunday 8/8 --- 10 miles riding, camp: Gibson Prairie, 4200'

Sunrise found us crawling out of our tents after a brief but luxurious nights sleep on three inch thick foam mattresses in roomy four men tents. Only took me half of the trip and a couple of uneven tent sites to learn you won't slip off if you sleep cloth side up. Duh.)

In the hour before breakfast we cruised about camp. This site, Gibson Prairie, at 4200 feet was the highest we would have. A minute from the tents I found a small ecosystem packed with wildflowers of the Break (Northern/ Canadian) forest: the exotic and poisonous green hellebore, western prince pine, twin flower, wintergreen and a horde of others that quickly overwhelmed Jennifer. We moved on to a more prosaic venue- the outhouses. Nothing like an old time pit toilet to encourage a bear into the woods.

Sybil was hauling water and feed to the horses. Sibyl was a 26 year old Swiss girl who had done the ride last year. She came back this summer to ride and help with the horses. Ron was rustlin' up breakfast. We got him talking about squirly horses (Jackpot - the gelding Dominique would ride) and sorry weather, so that he forgot the coffee. " Coffee is done. Probably boiled slap over."

Breakfast piled up on the picnic table. Standard operating procedure on an adventure vacation is, "Eat early, eat often."If you don't know when or what your next meal will be but there are miles between you and it, a big breakfast is critical. I've hit the wall more than once when breakfast came up short, so I proceeded to round out breakfast with two Nutella (german chocolate peanut butter) covered pancakes,, one syrup pancake, sausage ans two huge glasses of orange juice.

Took till 12:30 to get us sorted out, paired up with the horses, and mounted. Off we rode through the woods to view MT. Hood, the highest mountain in Oregon at 11,235 feet.. Bit hot, bit dusty. We would get used to that. Managed to stay on my horse though I spent the whole time studying the passing flora and making Sibyl, who was riding sweep, learn their English names. Lunch at a scenic outlook.

" A modern 'Chuck Wagon' provides us with wash facilities". Words that make me untack fast. What it boiled down to was a huge long horse trailer which Ron somehow squeezed into each of our camps. The front half was converted into living quarters where Ron an Dominique camped. There was a bed, sink, refrigerator, cupboards, and YES!! a shower. Water was pumped from an refillable tank in the back of the truck, heated and voila - a hot shower. Slightly (okay, a lot) more cramped than home, but unbelievable luxury. After dinner hike to the ridgeline and a marshmallow roast over the campfire.

Monday 8/9 --- 15 miles riding, camp Knebal Springs 3900'

Spent most of the day riding through hot, dry, dusty pine woods. This turned out to be fairly typical of the ride. Generally the temperature was 75 to 85 degrees. The trails were typically multi-use, set for hikers, mountain bikers, and horses. The loose, dry, dusty soil was easily stirred up by the lead horses and hung in the still air for the rest of the group to ride through. Except for one (beautiful) site that is a relatively unused hunters camp, we stayed in government parks. Maybe half the parks were horse camps, featuring nice pine log corrals and neighbors who didn't mind the smell.

Already we were settling into our horses. Jennifer was on Red, a pacer. Instead of a trot, Red paces. The right front and right rear legs forward then left front and rear. Makes for a smooth ride. Red also liked to lead and go fast. He disdained the walk as only fit for mortal horses. He also liked to keep his nose in contact with the rump in front of him. None of the horses liked it and consequently Red was an outcast. Alabaz, Dominique's Arabian stallion, was the only one that, for some unknown reason, liked Red.

Lois was on Kotton Kandy, an Arabian. Kotton Kandy was a most inquisite horse. She was constantly looking around at the scenery. I was following Lois, and more than once almost fell off my horse laughing when KK stopped dead on the trail to look back at me. She even managed to knock her head on a tree she was so busy looking around.

My usual whining and pleading for the best behaved horse "that does not know what bucking is" had gotten me Stevie. Stevie, a mix of mustang and quarter horse, was wise beyond his four years. Though his mood changed from day to day -some days he wanted to be in front (but not in the lead), and some days he saw horse eating rocks all around, but in general he was happy to be a steady, reliable follower. Not in any particular hurry to get anywhere, but perfectly willing to move out if asked.

Stevies plodding style saved my joints and bottom the first two/three days. Dominique was in the lead on Jackpot. Jackpot has long legs and likes to move out. The rest of the group did a lot of catch up trotting. Walk a bit, trot a bit. The hardest kind of riding.

Stevie and I would just let them go ahead and eventually do some catch up canter. I'm getting too old for this riding once a year stuff.... The first day the inside of my knees were bruised. By the second day my feet were going numb. Took 'em out of the stirrups and my butt protested. Feet back in. Everything gets to share the agony.

Evening campfire chitchat. Günther was the only one of the guys who was married. Someone asked him why his wife didn't come. He responded, "She doesn't ride anymore. Her horse died." Lois noted "Well, that's a good reason not to ride ......at least not that horse."

Tuesday 8/10 --- 22 miles riding, camp Jordan Creek, 3800'

It's 7:30 A.M. and Ron just got up to start breakfast. The German guys are getting the handle on the camp routine. They've already got their bags packed and their tents down. I love a group that's more obsessive / compulsive than I am.

A busy day for Ron, and he was off to town before breakfast. Long ride through the woods to our new camp. Had two long canters on the narrow winding trails. You had to be ready to go in any direction. The turns came up quick, and I couldn't see much with my eyes closed from the dust. I kept reminding Stevie he was a mustang. Long runs on rocky trails filled with roots should be nothing to him. Some of the other horses might have, as Ron phrased it, " Brad Pitt syndrome. Dumber than a bucket of mud...but gorgeous." With Stevie's big angular head and (slightly) weak neck he had to be smart.

Puppy, Dominique's big old dog, was along for the trip. Puppy had never been on this ride before but was friendly as could be and good company for Ron while we were off riding. About ten miles into today's twenty plus miles, Ron caught up to us on his way to the next camp. He quickly put the group into a tizzy reporting, "Puppy ran off". When Ron was about to break camp he untied Puppy. Next time he looked around, Puppy was gone and nowhere to be found. Options were discussed. In the end we rode on, Ron took the trailer to the next camp, and after minimal setup, headed back to camp, where, everyone assumed, Puppy would head back to. Five miles later, when Puppy caught up with us, we discovered different.

He had followed our sent fifteen miles on a trail he had never done before. Now, his age and arthritis kicked back in. Half the group elected to walk the rest of the trail. Jennifer and the two Germans on eager horses got directions to camp and took off. They may have had a nice canter, but we got to see the bear. Ten minutes from camp, on a clear cut with masses of ripened, wild strawberries, was a big black bear. For the rest of the ride and several days after, there were regular "bear stump" sightings.

The riders were at camp, Puppy was at camp, but Ron was out driving around in the truck. Those who paid close attention earlier will realize this meant he had the water source for the shower. This was one afternoon bathing meant, "Into the creek!". Flowing right by camp was the prettiest stream of freshly melted snow you could ask for. It was like running into a brick wall. Wham! In seconds body parts were going numb. You hear how if you go in the water in the arctic you only have about three minutes to live. Sitting on the couch at home this seems like poppycock. Get into the water and it seems about two minutes too long.

Wednesday 8/11 --- 8 to 10 miles riding, same day: Jordan Creek

Up and back ride on paved and gravel roads to a working fire tower. The woodland trails in this area haven't been cleared in a few years. Only takes a year of fallen uncleared trees to make a trail almost impassable. With government cutbacks, lots of trails are only open if volunteers go out and do it. If they don't you end up riding roads.

Spent two nights at Jordan Creek, a beautiful spot. Jordan Creek was the hunters camp, a clearing amidst towering pines. You felt really isolated, because you were. The water source was the stream. Ron set up a portable chemical toilet in the back of the trailer. As near as I can tell the only ones to use it were chipmunks that liked the toilet papers. The woods were just fine and less congested.

With no corrals, we "high lined" the horses. A rope ran from tree to tree well above the horses heads. The horses were tied at intervals to the "high line". They got just enough rope to reach the ground (and their hay) but not enough to get tangled up. Jake, our Yellowstone outfitter, had some unkind thoughts on this technique. He would hobble or stake the (two) horses and the loose mules stayed with the horses. In our two weeks, Dominique had some/all of the horses high lined almost every night and there was never any problem. Just had to know who gets along with who.

Since sighting a bear just down the road, Sybil was a bit concerned about the prospect of bears in camp. Our usual tack when someone expresses such reservations is to confirm and magnify every little fear. But we were feeling mellow. I mentioned how the night we had a griz by camp in Yellowstone, Jake had tied the horses by each tent. "We'll be okay. If there's any problem the horses will let us know. " Ron confirmed that's how to tell when there's a predator around at night. "If the horses are just nickering a bit there's something around they are curious about. If they're all going crazy and it sounds like they're going to tear the forest down, you better get up and take a look."

Thursday 8/12 --- 20 miles riding, camp: Bonnie Crossing

** If you are hell bent for leather, you'll get where you are going **
Camp moving day. Leftover "Mexican Pancakes" from dinner for breakfast. A simple but tasty treat:
Heat tortilla in a skillet with butter. Extra butter on top. Sprinkle top with sugar and cinnamon. Roll up. Eat. Leftovers can be reheated or eaten cold.

Started off the ride with some horseback bushwacking. Kinda made up the trail for a while. One particular spot was a steep uphill covered with downed pine trees. The footing was bad- very soft. The horses had to step between trees, then their feet would sink in, all while trying to get up the hill. We proceeded up, one at a time, with varying degrees of difficulties.

Dominique went first and had to dismount half way up. This certainly made me nervous. Jen and Lois made it up without too much difficulty. Okay. Doesn't look so bad. Then Günther on Casper got half way up to come skidding sideways back down. Günther was rather tall and Casper rather small. Once they got off balance Casper just kept slipping til Günther fell off. Fortunately my nervousness at this point ment nothing to Stevie. He proceeded to eat his way up the hill.

Already in the ride Stevie had come up with several horse behaviors unknown to me. Dominique assured me they were not that startling. When I would say, "Guess what Stevie did now!" Dominique would say "Uh huh." You may notice a common thread in some of these:
In the middle of a mile plus canter - horses in front of us, horses behind us - Stevie pulled up. I thought something was wrong. He just wanted to take a poop, and we cantered on. I lifted Stevie's back leg to clean his hoof. Droppings from above immediately came flying by narrowly missing my head. Cinching the girth is generally a contest of wills requiring speed, timing, trickery, and strength. Stevie never blew himself up, leaving me to cinch up at my leisure.

The group pulled up to let some of us use the bushes. Stevie and I were nose to nose. As soon as he heared the sound of running water he added to the stream.
And the most amazing behaviour of all: We were cantering down a gravel road. Alabaz came flying past heading for camp. Stevie didn't twitch No grabbing the bit. No, "I'm going too!" No, "It's a horse race!" I heaped praise on him for five minutes. Back on the farm, riding Nicky meant getting run away with.
Just to keep me alert, Stevie would occasionally point out a horse-eating-rock. At this point on the trail we had passed hundreds of boulders, but somehow he knew when one was untrustworthy. We were walking along and Stevie was eying one of those suspect rocks when Dominique sneezed. Now Stevie had a sneezing, horse-eating rock. Zoom, we were on the other side of the road.

Since we hadn't done anything to amuse the group for at least five minutes, at lunch break I started smelling trees. Didn't take long before the guys were deep into tree sniffing. Now this is not as odd as it may sound. It is a known fact which Ron (How do you know when a Cowboy is lying? His lips are moving.) confirmed later: Ponderosa pines smell like vanilla.

Ponderosa were my favorite tree. Not only do they smell good if you shove your nose deep into the bark, but the bark is shaped like a jigsaw puzzle pieces fitted and layered together.

After an hour of riding uphill, we commenced an hour and a half of skidding downhill. We were passing out of the eastern edge of the cascades into the high prarie. The mountains form a weather barrier. Clouds drop their rain and have nothing left for the region. For two hundred miles east scrub oak, scrawny pines, tumbleweed and dust predominate. The boreal forests of the cascades give way to misery. Lois, Dominique and I were plodding along through the heat and dust. Just ahead Jennifer was riding her prancing horse. Dominique remarked, "Jennifer looks really good." I had to brag, "Yeah. Lois throws good fillies."

Friday 8/13 --- 10 miles riding, same camp: Bonney Crossing.

** If you take life at a gallop, you miss a lot of scenery**
My least favorite day of riding. Road riding to Rock Creek reservoir. Everybody took swim suits but it was so cold, cloudy and windy even Lois didn't want to go in. The horses made sure we stayed alert. Stevie was having one of his horse-eating -rock days. Kotton Kandy's head tossing was getting out of control, so Lois was working on that. And Jennifer was concentrating on riding Cztar, which hadn't been ridden for a while and was full of vim and vigor. But enough riding. We were going to the Rodeo! Anticipation was in the air.

The excitement had been building all week. The Germans were intensely curious about all things American. To the guys, the rodeo was the epitome of their American Cowboy experience. They had a long discussion on what to wear. Everyone lined up for a shower. The Rodeo was to start at 7:30. By 5:30 everyone was duded up and ready to go. After making Günther change his white socks and Birkenstocks for riding boots, we were off.

The complete lack of horses and riders at the fairgrounds was a dead give away. We knew it was going to be a small Rodeo, but really....... Drove into town where we attempted to drown our sorrow in Pepsi and hamburger. So this was the dress rehearsal. It was, as Jennifer said, "Like going to the prom....Your hopes are so high......"

Saturday 8/14 --- No riding, same camp: Bonnie Crossing

Spent the morning on a mad dash through the Columbia Gorge. Rodeo wasn't till 1:00 so we did some sightseeing. We can now report that the gorge is impressive in the daylight, too. Dominique drove, at her typical breakneck pace, west through the gorge almost to Portland. We were heading for Multnomah Fall.

After an hour and a half of flying down the road, we screeched to a halt and Dominique announced, "You have 20 minutes to see the falls. That's more than enough time." In twenty minutes we ran up all the tiers of the falls, got pictures, hit the information booth, scooped up all their brochures, and bought some souvenirs at the gift shop. We could easily have spent another hour.

Back down the road to the rodeo, with a stop at Taco Bell for lunch. Made it to the Rodeo as the national anthem was being sung. Dominique deposited us at the top of the bleachers where Wolgang, Wolfram, Günther, Sybil, and for most part, Jennifer stayed put. Lois and I had ants in our pants. All the typical Rodeo events. Mutton busting for the kids, bareback bronc, saddle bronc, team roping, barrel racing, and for the real locos - bull riding. Patience was rewarded and everyone had fun.

Sunday 8/15 --- 20 miles riding, camp: white river, 3000'

** Many are called, but few get up.**
Another long day of riding followed by a couple hour exploring the new camp. At campfire time, when we would sit down and catch up on the day's notes, Lois sighed, "I'm tired. I'm just writing : got up, rode horses, went to bed." I thought about it and wrote, "See Lois' notes."

Must have been chasing Jen's horse that wore us out. She got as far as putting on the saddle blanket when Red worked loose and had a fine time running around visiting the other horses. Eventually, being less fearful of being trampled than I, Lois caught him. This made twice Red had escaped. Sad thing is Jennifer is the one who taught us how to tie a horse.

Our first few miles retraced the asphalt road to Rock Creek Reservoir. The camping area at the reservoir was one of the few places in the two weeks that we passed many people. Another three or four miles of cross country riding brought us to Barlow road. Barlow road was one of the final sections of the Oregon Trail.

During the 1849 California goldrush, Oregon was discovered. In 1859 the rush to Oregon started. Settlers started in Missouri and traveled to the Pacific. After crossing thousands of miles they had possibly the most difficult obstacle yet to overcome: the Cascades. After seeing the steep heavily wooded mountains they had to cross you cunderstand covering a mile an hour was racing. It was virtually incomprehensible that they could have gotten their wagons over them at all.

Knowing an opportunity when he saw it, Barlow bought a hunk of the trail. He cut down the trees, maintianed the trail, then charged a toll to use it: $5 per wagon, $1.25 horse and rider, 10 cents per cow, and 5 cents per sheep. IIt sounds like highway robbery, but it was worth it to have a cleared path. Late as 1915-1920 Barlow was stil collecting tolls.

Once we hit the Barlow road the trail was spectacular: tall, tall Douglas firs and Ponderosa pine. We did a fair amount of trotting on the packed dirt road. The gang of three (Jen, Wolfgang, Wolfram) on their fast horses would tend to lead us flying down the road.So Dominique told Wolfram to trot. Wolfram planted Sneakers in the lead and proceeded to trot for miles. Everybody else was in a gang behind him cantering. Wolfram didn't have a clue. In front of us he bounced, shoulder square, he didn't look back or around, just trotted and trotted. Every now and then Sneakers would break into a canter. Sneakers knew everybody was canterin. But Wolfram pulled him back down and continued his stoic, jarring way down the road.

Also learned that Stevie had been abused as a child. Dominique rescued him from a sand lot where he hadn't been given much to eat. Dominique elucidated, "He pooped sand for a week."

Monday 8/16 --- 10 miles of riding, camp: Devil's Half Acre, 3500'

During the morning hike Lois and I found what, by process of elimination (and our imagination) could have only be an elk's jaw. I spend these trips in search for the perfect souvenir. Now we just had to them out of the jaw. Lois used half of Ron's extensive tool box to hack, saw, and hammer the teeth out. Voila!

Short but picturesque ride to our new camp. Dirt and gravel roads, towering pines, babbling brooks, yada, yada, yada.

The Fir Mountain website noted, "Please let us know of any food preferences." Okay. Pepsi and granola bars. Ice cold Pepsi has been waiting for us at the end of each day's hot, dusty ride. The granola bars were in with the kitchen supplies and each day Lois, Jen and I would grab a few for snacks or with lunch. At first we ate them furtively. Then we became brazen and allowed the Germans to glimps the wrappers. They had evidently come to regard this mystery food as something only american could stomach. After a week and a half, in a weak moment filled with bonhomme, I passed out snippets. They were skeptical and nibbled delicately.... Hmmm... There goes our granola bars.

Made camp by 2:30. Plenty of time for a mushroom hike. It seems to be a genetic thing that Germans like to gather wild mushrooms and can tell edible from dubious. Off we go. What we didn't know was that Dominique hikes like she drives, and the happy mushroom hunting ground was miles away and at the top of a mountain.Up the mountain we sped. My camera clutched helplessly I hurried on.... I would photograph while they picked. At the ridge line theforest changed. Evidently mushrooms refuse to grow except in dust and pine trees. Commandeering Lois, who ows me big time for organizing these trips, we deserted the mushroomers and leisurely back tracked, chatting, photographing, and murdering mosquitoes. We were sorely missed. A final mushroom count- zero.

Later that evening, after a typical banquet: spare ribs, baked potatoes with all the trimmings, and tossed salad, Lois announced a pre-bed star hike. "This is not like a mushroom hike. We're going to see stars...." Finally hunkered down in my sleeping bag I listened to the sounds of the night. Our tent was ten feet from the high line and Alabaz danced near our heads. Deer mingled with the horses searching for unclaimed hay and grain. To the sound of their gentle snorting I drefted off.

Tuesday 8/17 --- 20 miles riding, same camp: Devil's Half Acre

As I had listened to the sounds of the camp going to sleep, I listened to the cacophony as it woke. The horses moving about, softly at first then with anxiety and nickering as Sibyl rolls out and heads for the feed. The gentle sounds of Cztar landing a good kick on Kotton Kandy. An air horn...no, Wolfram blowing his nose. Horses relieving themselves. People relieving themselves. Lois counting her clean underwear. And in the background the creek ripples by.

Today's ride to Timberline lodge and back was far away my favorite. Saw some spectacular country. Rode two plus hours uphill to Timberline Lodge - known worldwide as the hotel in "The Shining". Rode the Pacific Crest Trail part of the way to the lodge. The Pacific Crest Trail is like the Appalachian trail. It runs from Mexico, up the Cascade Range, to Canada. Thru-hikers, folks with a perverted sense of fun, pack up their backpacks, start at one end, and keep walking to the other. We met Arthur James, his wife and two dogs; "The James Gang". They've been hiking trails for three years. Firstthey did the Appalachian trail, then some other trail, and now they're on the Pacific Crest. After this they start on the east-west trails. With these credentials they would appear to know what they're doing. But the biggest packs I have ever seen. I swear they must have had TV's in there. He was 75 pounds overweight and she was smoking.

Lois grilled them on the joys of thru-hiking: What did they eat? Had they read" A walk in the woods" by Bill Bryson? (Appalachian hiker) And were they having fun? Per Art: "We eat a lot of noodle, tortillas and peanut butter. The 'walk in the woods' book is pretty accurate. The whole thing is misery. It is not fun. It's day after day suffering." Well, sign me up.

Staying with our horses, we ascended through lush pine forests up Mt. Hood. The higher we went the more new flowers we found. I was in my glory. As we neared the timberline at 5970' we hit fields of blooming bear grass. Three foot high spikes came out of foot high mounds of grass. The spikes terminated in a fuzzy plume of small white flowers. At the tree line the bear grass gave way to lupine and asters. When Dominique had come through three weekls earlier the entire area was still under snow.

The cascades were formed by the earth's plates rising up each other. The earth being pushed up was originally volcanic. Mt Hood is now eroding away and the 'soil' we were riding through was gritty and sandy. The stark beauty of the snow splotched rock rising up another 5000+ feet stirred my flatlander's heart.

With" You have an hour and a half to tour the lodge. More then enough time," Dominique sent us off. Through the lodge we sped looking for locations in "The Shining". We opened all the doors marked" Guests only", searching for a hall photo that wouldn't have a maid's cart. Eventually we chilled enough to sit through fifteen minutes of construction documentary, glanced at the museum, dashed to the gift shop, then ran back to the horses.

Two hours of doggedly downhill to get back to camp. My poor feet. Numb. To distract me. Stevie fidgeted and jumped, annoyed out of his comlacency by biting flies.

After being skunked on yesterday's hike, Dominique kept a sharp eye out andbrought home one huge mushroom. The pile of thin slices was fried up and scrambled with a couple eggs. A worthy feast.Last night's deer came back this evening with some friends. As we ate dinner an eight point buck walked into camp not twenty feet from us. As the night came and we moved over to the campfire we could still hear snorting and catch gleaming eyes.

Heading for bed we noticed Casper and Red were lying down. Horses are perfectly comfortable sleeping either standing up or lying down. Mostly they don't seem to bother laying down. This occasioned a picture. Blinded by the flash, poor Red had his ears up for the first time.

Wednesday 8/18 --- 22 miles of riding, camp: Jo Graham

Full days ride, from 9:45 to 4:00. Even though this seems like plenty of riding to me, Ron had mentioned we're getting into camp an hour or two earlier than most rides. Lois thinks it's because the other groups are better behaved and follow slowly and calmly behind Dominique. Sometimes after the first five minutes our group decided Dominique didn't have to lead.....and we didn't have to walk. Or maybe Dominique doesn't always do as much trotting and cantering. Or maybe we just get off earlier than most.

Everybody makes a point of getting ready quickly and then pitching in with the camp work.

Rode the Pacific Crest trail with sightseeing stop at Little Crater Lake. As we were on the Pacific Crest Trail, for the first time we had mile markers. After a couple hours riding we saw the first sign, "Little Crater Lake - 7 miles." On we rode and soon passed, "Little Crater Lake - 4 miles." Then "Little Crater Lake - 3 miles." Approximately six miles later (the group consensus) we passed "Little Crater Lake - 2 1/2 miles." From there on Little Crater Lake kept moving farther backwards. Two long trot/canters ate up some of the miles. One was especially notable in that the mountain went straight up on the left and straight down on the right. Of all the things that make me nervous, this isn't one of them.

Stevie is amazingly nimble at avoiding rocks, holes, and roots while cantering. Besides there isn't time to worry about it Just do it. Little Crater lake was a startling tiny, deep, azure spot of water. An artesian spring had carved out a hole forty five feet deep. Through the clear aqua water you could see whole pine trees lying in the frigid pool.

One long pine went from shore two-thirds of the way across the water and floated on top. Lois took this as a challenge. Out she tiptoed to balance (repeatedly) on one foot for photographers. Günther could take it no more. "Your poor husband. He knows about these actions?"

Our group of nine people, ten horses, one dog, one van, one truck and one huge horse trailer were allotted a campsite intended for two horses, their people and equipment. Which meant we couldn't be real picky about where we put our tent. It rested on the most severe downhill. There was now an ongoing debate occasioned by each new campsite. Head by the door or head by the back? Should we just sleep sideways? Jen and I were in real danger of sliding out the door or at least waking up on top of each other.

This comradery had us already reminiscing as we prepared for bed. Jen, " One thing I won't miss is the tooth flossing." (Laughter from the neighboring tent.) I nodded sagely. Yeah, she probably won't miss the used floss by the door in the morning, either.

Thursday 8/19 --- No riding, same camp: Jo Graham Horse Camp

**For every mile of bad road you travel, there're two miles of ditches you're staying out of.**
Six A.M. and Jackpot, who was highlined ten feet from our tent, hed been digging for gold for over an hour. Each pounding of the earth reverberated up the slippery slope of our tent. Jen was half way off her matress. I was at the foot of mine. Thoughtful Lois grabbed some hay for Jackpot to quiet him down. Then soft-hearted Lois couldn't bear the starving looks from Jackpots fellows. And everyone knows hay makes thirsty. Took half an hour to get off on our hike.

Joe Graham Horse Camp was a high faultin' place. The facilities were of the highest standards. Actually, other than the corrals, the toilets were the only facilities there were. But they were tip top. In our two weeks we had tested the gamut in pit toilets. They varied from purely utilitarian to the brand new, fance schmancy models that looked like a small wood cabin complete with a tin chimney pipe. The chimney pipe is actually part of a very efficient septic system. They were remarkably pleasant. Somewhere you could take a newspaper. But regardless of how dressed up they made 'em, the working parts were still the same. A deep hole under the seat.

There is a constand sense of foreboding around that hole. If you aren't ever vigilant things, your flashlight, camera, clothing parts, could disappear forever.

A fine day for a car ride. Off to Warm Springs Indian Museum we go. The first bit of road was through heavily forested section of Indian reservation. Dominique's skillful maneuvering down the twisting mountain road had us grabbing leather worse than a down hill trot.The forest gave way to the high desert: hot, dry land mostly filled with rocks, tumble weed and a few scrub pine.

Dominique turned us loose at the Warm Springs Museum. against all our natural tendencies, we went and learned something. In 1805 Lewis and Clark came down the Columbia river. Between 1840 and 1860, 250,000 people took the Oregon Trail from Missouri to the Columbia rive. By 1855 the Warm Springs Indians had been forced onto a reservation.

After an hour of gavaged learning, Dominique reclaimed us and rewarded uswith Indian fry bred. Really good fry bred covered with chili and cheese and salsa on the side. I was beginning to feel tick like, but couldn't stop eating.

Back home to camp where everybody else took the horses and went to the lake to swim. I walked over to the historic ranger station and spent an hour talking flowers and trees with the historic, and slightly eccentric, ranger.

Back to camp and the nightly campfire. It will be noted that those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Heading for bed one night in Iceland I told the teenage German girls, "Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite." That elicited a ten minute explanation involving mosquitoes and totally mystifying the girls. This time I said'"Time for bed. We're going to turn into pumpkins." Fortunately everyone knew the Cindarella story. But my succinct and lucid explanations were still not getting through. I gave up, "Peek in later. We be pumpkins."

Friday 8/20 --- 15 miles riding, same camp: Joe Graham Horse Camp

** There's nothing like a good long walk. Especially if it's taken by somebody you'd like to get rid off.** Up for 6:30 hike around the meadow. Heard and saw a Sandhill crane. Lois knew what it was. The rest of us just knew it was big. Hard to believe a five foot tall bird can stay in the air. But they migrate thousands of miles.

Final ride. Fifteen miles around Timothy Lake. Lunch stop included swimming the horses. Lois and Jen rode various horses out into the lake and swam around. I had to be boosted on and Jen led the horse into the water.

Final leg of the ride gave way to a marathon canter. Per Dominique's objective measure it was good two miles. The trail zig zagged through the woods, up and down hills, on we flew. Ikept reminding Stevie he is a mustang and sure of foot. I also mentioned I would prefer more than six inches between us and sneakers. I was overruled.

Toward the end of the ride we had to cross a three foot wide raised wooden bridge/path. The kind they have in the wetlandsso you don't have to walk in the water. No sides, and the horses made aspooky clumping sound. We hadridden it the day before and knew the horses didn't like it. Just our luck, a hiker was starting to cross towards us. When the horses came alongside, he tried to stnad aside. Jen went by first and noted, "That isn't a good place to stand." I came up with stevie prancing a bit and added, "The sound makes the horses nervous." Lois practically trampled that guy. Kotton Kandy slipped and one leg went off into space. The hiker ran back off the bridgein terror. We thought we added to his day.

A sad evening around the campfire. We all had a great trip and though we missed our families, nobody wanted it to end. We passed on a few recommendations for Dominique and Ron for the future. Most of their clients come through a German travel agency specializing in riding vacations. The company rates rides in terms of difficulty. Anywhere from one to six horseshoes, six being the extremely taxing in one way or another. This ride got two horseshoes in riding ability- fifty hours of riding recommended with no advanced skills necessary. Four horseshoes in the "ambiance" category.

"Eliminate the shower. That should get you another horseshoe," I suggested. "And don't serve Nutella. That'll shake out the weaklings." We hate for our rides to be too luxurious.

The ride was over. And Dominique was my new role model. Not once in the two weeks did we ruffle her composure. She handled horses and people with equal aplomb. And her crowning achievment, in my skewed view of the world, was that she did it in the same outfit. As Dominique waved goodby in the airport she was wearing the same jeans/overall outfit she had layered on and off the whole two weeks. Iknow no one else with the mental toughness to so defy convention.

And so to Jennifer's ringing pronouncment, "This was our best trip!!" we reluctantly headed home.

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