She's my hero!
Once Upon a Time in the Gros Ventre.....
After feeding a couple hundred hay bales and few thousands head of elk, Jay sends Rita to go take care of the workhorse team at the Fish Creek feed ground. There are 3 feed grounds. Fish Creek is the farthest away and about a 7 mile snow machine ride. Most of the elk are down at the Cabin feed ground but there is still a team of horses there that need to be fed and watered.
Once you get to Fish Creek, you halter one of the horses and lead them down to the creek to water. The feed grounds are up on a bench so you lead the horses down off the bench, across a flat and down to the creek. It is froze over solid enough that you can lead the horses out on the frozen ice. A big wood door covers a hole broke through in the ice for the horses to water out of. There is a trusty bar & shovel on the bank to break open the ice if it freezes over.
Rita heads out with the team. The snow is DEEP! The snow packed trail that had once existed is hard to find because of the blowing and drifting snow. The horse she is leading is having a hard time following. Deciding to take the horses back and then break a trail for them to follow.
Great idea….until she gets stuck. She is STUCK real bad! Digging, digging, and digging some more, she gets dug out, makes it about three feet and is buried again. 6 HOURS later, she is still digging! (6 hours…seriously….I would have amped out by now) 6 HOURS later and no one had came looking of her! She finally decided to go get the team and use one of the horses to pull her out. This thought had crossed her mind earlier, as she had HOURS to reflect on the situation but she didn’t have a chain. Finally she decided she would harness a horse and rig it up to get her out. (When asked if she was afraid wolves would come? She replied, No, I wanted them to come! I'd fight them like Jeremiah Johnson!!!)
She heads back to get the horses. The snow is really really deep! After about 3 steps …ugg…getting tired! She decides that Rolling would be a more efficient. For the record, Rolling…especially uphill is not a more efficient use of your energy!
Finally she gets the horse harnessed and they head back to the stranded snow machine. Leading the harnessed horse and the other horse following along, they make the trek back thru the deep snow. Eventually her horse won’t lead anymore. The snow is too deep and he mutinies. They come to a stand still. Pretty soon the loose horse leaves them, walks over about 10 feet , the snow isn’t deep and she walks along just fine! The snow didn’t look any different at all!!! Rita and her horse back up and follow horse on the good ground.
They keep walking and come to another deep deep spot. Her horse stops again. He looks at her. She looks at him. He looks over at a patch of snow. She walks to where he points…to good ground and they make their way across the snow covered country. (Mom says, “Usually you whisper to your horse. In this case he was whispering to you”)
In all this time, they had sent someone to check on Rita. J2, yes, the 11 year old that is the size of a 7 year old! Well as J2 makes the 7 mile trek through the middle of nowhere….he gets stuck!!! Rita had lost a glove, he stopped to pick it up for her and gets stuck in the process. (Actually, he ran into river bank…he told Rita…I was looking at your glove…You’re dang glove!) Luckily some tourists from New York came along and helped him. He told Rita later…I would’ve kept coming to help you….but they turned my sled around the other direction so I figured I better go get Dad!
Dad and J2 both arrive at Fish Creek to see Rita, Gun strapped to her back, Team horse harnessed and getting ready to hook up to her sled!
The first thing he does is…Yell at her for not having a bit in the horses mouth!!! (At this point, I would have had a complete and total come-apart…regardless if I was in the right or wrong)
It was probably good that Dad showed up when he did. They get a bridle on the horse and get the sled jerked out ….but it spooked the horse…and could’ve been a big wreck if they didn’t have a bridle on him.I asked WHY…Dad hadn’t came to help her sooner…??? She told me “So They Could LEARN Something” Them she chimed in… J2 learned to get stuck on the main trail where tourists can save you!
Aww, the events that make life exciting!
My lil' sister rocks!!!
Thank You all so much for reading.
See you down the trail!
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