Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gros Ventre 2~ same place new stories :)

Gros Ventre~ Take 2

After last weekend’s adventures apparently I hadn’t had enough self-torture. I started planning to head back into elk camp again next weekend. Well, as the week went on, Dad was planning on me staying to finish out the season. Hmmm….somehow that idea didn’t sound that appealing but I have a freakishly overwhelming desire to not let my Dad down. (I will deny that when asked) Anyway, I decided to tie up some loose ends at home & J2 and I would go in next weekend. The cool thing about going in with J2 you have a security blanket,….haha (insert evil laugh), he has to be back to school on Monday. Via the foster care system, some nice kids came to stay at Dad’s for a little while. The oldest, Junior, is 11. We were talking about going in & how cool it would be for Junior and J2 to come in for the weekend. Alright, plan…..Go in Friday after J2 gets out of school. Plan, plan, prepare, prepare, procrastinate…..hmmmm! Friday evening rolls around and I’m not ready to go in. We have to come back out in the morning to meet Rita, who is coming up from Utah & Hadley who can’t come until Saturday morning. Well, if Rita can leave at midnight to get there in time….I can certainly leave the house by 5 am.

Just for the record, I was driving by 4:59! ……AND………Getting Up Before 11 Makes for a Long Day! ~Hoggan Family Motto

Rita gets there before me, and I will probably never hear the end of. I will spare you the tedious details of the drive and Rita & I bickering before we finally got headed into the Gros Ventre. J2 & Junior had made the trip in the night before with our friend Mike. The snow had melted so much that snow machines could no longer make the trip in. Mike drove back out & picked up Rita, her friend Andy, Hadley Hoggan, (cousins), and myself.

On the drive in I actually thought to myself that there would be little to tell about this weekend because….same elk & hay bales….different day. Been there, done that. : ) This thought passed quickly! We are driving along, Big beautiful Bald Eagle! We all are looking…..wham! The side of the road sucks us in & the next thing we know we are stuck! The snow on the mountain side is real real deep. The front passenger can’t even open his door. We all pile out. The shoveling begins. (Oscar, my cute shaggy pup, is exhausted just watching all the Shoveling - pictured to right)

Shovel, shovel, shovel….no luck the wheels on the road side just keep spinning on the ice. The engineer in the group in the sets out to work, bringing back loose rocks to put under the tires for traction. Making a little progress, the rest of us start hunting more rocks. This process goes on for over an hour. Making some progress but the rut just keeps us sucked down. Rita brings more logs for traction & the plight continues. Thank the good Lord above that it was a beautiful warm sun shining day! Finally, Rita volunteers to jog to the cabin & bring back a snow machine to go get a tractor with. Kuddos to Rita, the cabin was a little over a mile away & she made it in 20 minutes round trip! Atta girl, Brahmer, you rock!

Not 10 minutes later, Mike was made a big enough path that he finally gets backed up & out of the rut and on the road! Yay! Cheers from the crowd!


~ What was I thinking, Never a dull moment where the Hoggans are involved : )

Nathan, J2, & Junior were actually out feeding a load with the team & SAW RITA running to camp. Ya….saw her & made NO attempt to even see what was happening…..saw someone take their snowmachine….just thought someone was out for a Saturday run……honestly! (moving on…just saying….if you are stranded & those 3 are around….you’re still stranded)

Time to feed elk…..or imaginary elk atleast. The feed ground is completely empty. We ran two teams again this weekend. I drove one and Nathan drove one. The snow had melted so much it was wicked tough going. Our Haflinger team, Nip & Tuck, who had pulled 30 bales last weekend were now scratching to get 15 bales out of the bare ground of the stack yards. I almost scratched them coming back up a bare hill empty. Those lil buggers are All Heart!

Other than that, the day was filled with the regular Hoggan kids & crew antics. Rita & I argue. J2 is funny. Hadley is a rock star! Andy did super good too! Junior, J2, Nathan, everybody was super awesome, tough, and made 200 bales fly by. That’s right, 200 bales fed & not a single elk. Finally at 3 pm a small group started to trail down into the feed grounds and from that it turned into a steady stream across the horizon of elk single file making their way eat.

Insert pictures of elk trailing in

Once again, a huge atta boy to the whole crew! Everybody was awesome! One of the funnest lines had to be by Nathan & J2. For some reason, while loading a sleigh with hay bales, the topic of me & Rita's dating life came up. Nathan was saying....we are us girls are just SO SPECIAL that there is just going to be that 1 special guy out there for us....(it was hilarious) I'm thinking to myself "Ya, specail kind of guy that can put up with our special kind of bs" ;) .......J2 chimes in, ever so seriously, ....."I wonder who it will be?"........Brothers contemplating who you will marry.....priceless!

INSERT pics of boys on Nip & Tuck

J2 & Junior riding Nip & Tuck back to the barn to unharness.

There is now only 1 snow machine running....out of tons. There are 7 of us to freight up to the cabin for dinner. Nathan was going to make trips with 3 at a time. he & the little boys run to Alkali to feed the team at that feed ground. The rest of us stayed & cleaned up the elk cabin. (Or Hadley & I....thanks Had, you rock! ) When the boys get back from feeding, Nathan has the bright idea to hook the cargo trailer to the snow machine & haul us all at once. Great idea...if you are Rita & Nathan riding on the snow machine. Andy, J2, Junior, Hadley, & I all pile on the trailer. Soon Oscar is in the mix & standing on my head....Rita's favorite part is me screaming "Get the Dog off! "Get the Dog off!" Oscar didn't even make it to the barn before his riding priveledges were revoked! Keep in mind that it is a muddy mess! Barely enough snow to sled & we are getting splashed with mud and water as we all cling to each other to stay on! (sounds funny...but not can laugh...I know you already are) We arrive in 1 piece, soaked & dirty cussing Nathan & Rita. Moving on.

J2 actually provided much of the entertainment for the evening. We were sitting around the living room. There is a big warm fire roaring in the fireplace. The boys have packed in a big pile of wood to keep it warm thru the night. There are some small strips of kindling sitting by the wall. I look over just in time to see J2 lift a piece up above his head......& proceed to pull it down with both hands, full force....right over the top of his head! Quickly OOOOOOooooouch! It was HILARIOUS!!! I am laughing so hard I'm crying! He was trying to break the sticks over his head....similar to a martial artist that you would see on tv. I point it out to the rest of the room & he gives it another try!.......SERIOUSLY! Funny every time! I caught it on film this time.

Junior joins in & the crashing sticks over your head begins. This only to be made funnier by Nathan coaching them....."Get mad! When you feel the pain just put it away &......AAAAAA! Get mad! push thru it!".....Hilarious! Laughiing again just thinking about it! I was worried I'd have no new stories...hahaha! (there is video on Rita's Facebook but I don't know how to link it)

Sunday, March 14th, 2010
Sunday morning, we thought we were off to a great start....until Casey informed us that it was daylight savings & we'd actually lost an hour! Dang it! I miss the college days when whether you spring ahead or fall back you spending that exrta hour losing sleep out on the town! Dang it! Nathan drove the team up to get us this morning. Much better alternative, I thought. We stopped over to show Andy Mike's awesome pad. Here are some pictures J2 took while Hadley & I waited with the team.

The Team ~ Legend & Bug (or Legend & Ary, as Rita likes to call them)
Hadley & I rockin the bomber hats, chillin on the sled with Oscar & his Dad Rocky
We only ran 1 sled Sunday. Fed 150 bales & then worked on getting everyone packed up to go. Nathan showed me the ropes for running the snow machine & sent J2, Junior & I to feed the horses at Alkali. Sounds simple enough....this is the part of the weekend where the boys lives would flash before their lives. He head out of the feed grounds. It's going pretty well. Real muddy, but were ok. I haven't drove a snow machine by myself very much & never started one. The mud is hard going it jerks you around. The boys are coaching me as we go. We finally make it to Alkali......whew! J2 exclaims that "I'm a crazy driver" as he gets off the sled. We were going all over the place. I thought it was on purpose at first but you're a crazy driver! Haha, ya, I couldn't disagree with that. We get watered, fed, & put the big mares up. This is where is starts to get interesting. The sled started easily before. Now....1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, arms getting tired. Re-group.....pull, pull, pull.....finally we got it started, hop on & take off. Everything is going good. No snow but we're going.....HOLY CRAP....rut.....something....I don't know......WE ARE SIDEWAYS!!!.....Seriously running on our side.....HOLY CRAP! I just kept on the gas & pretty soon we are back down. I didn't even loose the they stayed on...I'll never know!, if they weren't scared before...we all were now! hahaha

We made it back to the elk cabin safe & sound. Mike headed back to Jackson with everyone. Don't worry, the boys told Dad as soon as they met up with him in Jackson about our little sledding adventure!

Hmmm, well, home, alone. Dad will be in soon I'm sure so I just stay at the elk cabin. Clean what I can, nap for awhile, twittle my thumbs......hmmm. It's 6 o'clock. Looks like I'm going to have to brave the snow machine again & drive up to the cabin. Wedge a box of Captain Crunch in the back rack & rig the other supplies to hopefully stay in. Starts good. I'm headed out! Real muddy, trying to stay on snow. Oscar is following behind & tell him to jump on as I'm driving but ....shocking....he can't stay on with my driving ;) As we come up over the hill there is couple hundred elk spread out on both sides of the road. I better get Oscar loaded up before he decides giving the elk an afternoon jog would be a good idea. This time I have him job on while I'm driving.....but in front of! Ya, that's I'm driving 1 handed thru a herd of elk holding a dog on the front of my snow mobile. I didn't even do any stunt driving this time. Whew, I was soo so happy to shut that engine off when I reached the cabin.

Hmmm, home alone. Don't worry numerous times throughout the day I was cussing Dad for leaving me in there but Monday would make up for it all!

More stories coming soon!

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