Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Woke up at 5:45am. Decided to skip breakfast and head out after letting the horse graze. While the horses were grazing, we heard some movement on the other side of the river where the trail went through. The horses let us know that someone or something was there. We figured that it was probably one of the Rock Creek packers that we passed yesterday. After saddling the boys, we headed out. As we headed up the trail we came to a spot were the trail forked. When we came in on DAY ONE, we had come down the high trail, so we took the lower trail heading out of the wilderness. When we got to the top of the recess and headed up the mountain, we noticed there were some old tracks of one horse ahead of us. The guys did awesome going up the pass. They didn't want to stop and rest so we had to make them. Belle was following along peacefully now and Kate was leading the way. We came out of the trees at the bottom of the trail. As we neared the top of the pass close to Summit Lake, we heard a whistle. We turned around to see a man on a big chesnut gelding coming up behind us. He asked if we saw any tracks ahead of us and we told him that there was the old tracks for one horse. He said that he was tracking some lost stock and had been tracking us for the last couple of hours.
When we reached the top of the pass it was freezing! There was a cold breeze blowing and our jackets were back with our gear at Wilbur May Lake, so we put on our drovers that we had straped behind our saddles. When we reached the summit, I got off and led Coal all the way down to the truck. I'll tell you what...that truck and trailer never looked so good. We hit the truck at 10:59am. Even though we had to leave Maggey behind, we had fun and don't regret going. We just know that it was a part of life that we had to deal with. Tony

Woke up at 5:45am and fed the horses. We were saddling up the horses when we heard a nicker from a passing horse. Tony thought it was one of the pack trains heading up to Mono Pass. We were on the trail by 7:00am. I was watching the trail ahead of me and thought that only one horse had come through. This time we took the lower trail that ran along the creek bed. It was steeper and rockier than the upper trail, but it was a short cut. At the creek where the two trails came back to one, we crossed the creek and started our climb to Mono Pass. We rested the horses in a pasture just before the switchbacks started, it was the same pasture where we stopped on DAY ONE on the way down and adjusted the packs on the girls. The whole morning the sun was chasing us as we walked up the east side of the mountain. And now we had a cold wind blowing down on us. It felt like the jet stream had lowered to the mountaintops. The trek up to Trail Lake was tough. Cahlibur was getting a little winded so I tried to give him a break, but he did not want to stop. He would stop when I asked, but for only a couple seconds and then he would start going again. Just before we reached Trail Lake, a rider came up from behind and asked if we had any "fresh tracks" ahead of us. Since I was in front I already knew the answer to that question, which was "No". He said that he was looing for some pack horses that had gotten loose in the night and he had been tracking us all morning, then he turned around and left. A couple minutes later we where at Trail Lake. We rested a bit, watered the horses, and then headed on up to Mono Pass. We passed through Mono Pass at a slow walk. Shortly after heading down, the horses started moving faster. We came down the switchback just above the Ruby Lake trailhead, passing four groups of hikers. After the trailhead, the trail was littered with hikers. Katy did real good passing them, she just stayed on the trail. As we came out of the trailhead at Mosquito Flats, the truck and trailer looked awful good. I held Coal and Belle while Tony hooked up the trailer. We unsaddled without taking anything off the saddles because we were blocking the road. When I was putting my saddle up in the loft of the trailer, the stem of my pocket watch broke off, effectively stopping my watch at 10:59am; the time the trip ended. Travis

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