Monday, February 28, 2011

Gros Ventre with Brittani

This weekend I was honored to have Ms Brittani Brusett come visit! She is AMAZING and one of the best friends a girl could ask for! So THANKFUL that she came down and we were able to go on a wild adventure!

Thursday Brittani arrives from Montana and we load up for our Gros Ventre Adventure! Rexburg for some groceries and down the road we go. Roads are a little sketchy by the time we reach Jackson Pass but we made it to the trailhead safe and sound. THANK YOU to Dad & Mike for snow machining out to get us. Dad & I followed in the back of the caravan. Through the blowing snow the tail lights of the sled in front of us looked like flames dancing on the trail. By the time we reach Mike’s it is closer to 9 o’clock than not. Whip up some delicious Ham & Cheese Croissants for dinner and settle in for the night.

Meeting the morning with an enthusiastic smile, we are off and running! Breakfast in our bellies and ready to buck some hay! Kent, Dad, Brit, and I are the feed crew so we are going to run two teams of horses. I remembered a little better how to hook the horses this time. (Don’t worry, I still suck…but slowly but surely making improvements; )

Buckin hay bales, driving teams, feeding hay, and trying to avoid small farm accidents consumed most of the day. Brittani is AWESOME!!!! So glad that she came in to feed elk! THANK YOU to Dad and Kent for helping us load us sleighs and being patient with us.

Some of the highlights…or low lights….seems the wrecks always make for a better story ; )

  • 250 Bales Friday. 320 Saturday. About 2,800 head of elk at the cabin feed ground.

Elk at the Cabin Feed Ground

  • Jackknifed – We were all loading the big team. I had parked the small team right behind them so we could load them next. Well, they got impatient and started messing around. Dad looked over just in time to see them jackknifed and on the verge of a big ol’ wreck! I hoped off the stack and ran over to their sleigh. Kent was close behind and got my reins straight. Side stepping the horses over and away we went. Lined out and turned around, I parked behind the big team but I didn’t leave them on auto pilot this time ; )

This little wreck would lead to an adventure later in the day. We had the opportunity to fix the sleigh….because I’d broke part of the running gear in the little jack knife adventure.

That wasn’t the only mechanicing we would get in on. Our snow machine was only running on one spark plug. The other one had broke off inside the connector thingy. Yes, thingy was the real technical term used in our mechanicing.

  • Wolves – A set of domestic wolves live at the home where we stayed. In the morning the wolves would be looking in the window of the bed room while we were getting ready. Brit was pretty sure that wolves watching us from our bed would be the least believe able part of the weekend.

We were like gold fish in their own personal aquarium ; )

  • THANK YOU to Kent for a Meal fit for Kings! Grilled Lamb Chops that were DELICIOUS!!! (Even if we hadn’t fed 250 bales, I think they’d still tasted good)

Day 2

  • Teamster – Brittani drove the big team on two loads while I fed. She is awesome! What a hand. School teacher, handy, and such a quick learner! She looked like she’d been behind the reins her whole life. She’s a Teamster Rockstar!

The 1 st time Dad gave Brit the reins to drive, one of the mares lines was hooked on something. I went down to fix it and the mare reached back to bite me. I could barely reach the rein because they are so tall. On my tippy toes and still unsure if I was gonna get it. I wanted to go in between them. Dad says something about ….Ya, get right up where both those “Bitin Bitches” can get a hold of you. Brit thought this was hilarious! From that point on she was pretty sure that was that teams names. Bitin’ & Bitches.

Brittani ~ the Teamster!

  • Wolf Tracks – There were fresh wolf tracks right outside of the hay shed! Man, those are big dogs!
  • While we were out feeding with the big team, the guys got the little team stuck in a big drift in the stack yard. Shoveling for a little bit, then they unhooked and used the big team to jerk the loaded sleigh out of the drift. Seeing those big ol mares pull that wagon out was awesome!

Tiny & Tammy are stuck in the stack yard.
Walking over to relieve Dad from shoveling duty.
(Normally I wouldn't be a fan of sportin' the a picture with my back side but after watching those big strong solid built mares work...I'm ok with it ;)

Kent switching teams

Hooking the Big Mares (aka Bitin' & Bitches) up to the stuck sleigh

I'm driving Tiny Charger & Tammy over to hook back on to the sleigh after the big team jerked it out of the snow drift.

Smoking – Returning to the stack after feeding the last big load of bales, Dad tells us, “It’s a good thing you too aren’t Smokers!” What? , we reply. You’re so slow if you were Smokers you’d never got done!

If I was wittier, I would have replied…Smoke’em if you gottem Dad ; )

Dad & Kent heading out to the feed grounds

  • Sledding Out- Earlier I mentioned that they’d worked on our snow machine….atleast twice while we there. Well, we get ready to sled out and our sled is not running very good. Brit takes the drivers seat and Woodrow and I hop on behind for the wild ride. At full throttle we can’t get above 40 mph. That’s fine but if we have to slow down the sled starts sputtering and giving dying fits.

We are getting it limped out of the 17 mile trek to the trailhead but tourists where just about are demise. We come up on a snow machine tour of tourists on the trail. We try to ease by them best we can. Half get over, a few stragglers are in the middle of the trail going much much slower than our sled will run at. One close collision call and Brit has us maneuvered through! Almost on the home stretch, 2 set s of cross country skiers and 1 little dog in a jacket! The skiers move over, but the dog is standing right in front of us load and proud in his little Christmas sweater! Luckily his self preservation kicked in and he moved over as our sled sputtered by.

  • THANK YOU to Mike for following us out to the trailhead to make sure we made it ok and for letting us stay at his home! THANK YOU to Regg for starting a fire for us to come home too. (It was 38 degrees in the house when he got there) THANK YOU to Dad & Kent for EVERYTHING! THANK YOU to Ms Brittani Brusett for making the trip down to come feed elk! I had a great time! So privileged to call you a friend!

Photos Courtesy of Brittani Brusett

THANK YOU for Reading!!!

See you down the Trail


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  1. LOVE LOVE LOVED the photos! the domestic wolves we're stunning! LOVE the T-shirt and gloves! CUTE!

  2. Thanks Sadie! It was so much fun to spend a few days with Brit!

  3. lovely pics...the wolves are awesome...can I have one? ;-) pretty and cool as that's too danged cold! I was dying when my house was 54 when I'd get up...38 is NOT an inside temp (or a nice outside one for that matter)...

    love seeing you guys in pics, but I think I need to put a parka on now! ;-)

  4. Rainey, It was actually really nice the whole time we were in there. ....It also helps that I am very very out of pretty easy to work up a sweat ;)