Friday, February 15, 2013

Elk Feeding Adventures with Dad and Rita

Elk Feeding Adventures in the Gros Venture!  My Dad and baby sister, Rita, have been feeding elk in the Gros Venture area since December.  Since day one, it has been a pretty wild ride and every phone call has SEVERAL stories that leave you laughing until you are crying!  I've been meaning to jot them down for quite some time so here goes!  
(**** Details maybe revised after visiting with them again to double check stories but this is a start)

January 3, 2013
Conversation while unhooking the Mules at Elk Camp.
Rita: "I don't want anything to do with the Mules!
I hate Mules!"
Dad: "Don't say that! They'll kill us!" Stories from a phone call with MargaRita Hoggan! More stories coming soon!

January 6, 2013
Gros Ventre 2013 Story Teasers ~ Dad got ran over by the mules..... Rita breaking a hole in the ice with her head......tipping sleighs....runaway collisions and more.....this week. ~

*I asked Dad what he was doing & he said ...gonna eat some dinner & go to bed. He sounds beat. Poor lil' fella. Wolves were right in camp this morning I guess. Just down at the horse corrals

*Dad and Rita are having a discussion.  He asks her if she wants to drive the Mules to the sleigh or be in front leading them.  (Rita does not particularly care for the mules) She will drive them.  Dad is in front leading them.  He is lecturing her about keeping a tight hold of the mules.  Before they make it there.....The Mules RUN OVER Dad.   Rita, whom is quite strong, has a hold of the mules for about 2 seconds after that, holding as tight as she can.....before they bolt away! 

Later, I was spoke to Dad on the phone and made some snide comment about the Mules and if he was ready to give them away.  He said No! I LOVE My MULES!  Best Mules in the Country!  How's that I ask?  They ran over me and never touched me!.......hahahaha Only Dad! 

January 10, 2013
 ""Do you know how to stop a team of horses when one of them has rubbed his bridal off? .....You don't. You just hold on.". Jay Hoggan (thanks for sharing MargaRita Hoggan)

****Must ask Rita to tell the story again about loading 10 bales, team running away in stack yard, flipping sleigh, hurting ankle***********

*A friend has came in and is going to help Dad and Rita feed up at the top feed ground.  They only have 2 sleds so he is riding one and Rita and Dad are on the other sled.  There are a couple of ways to get to the upper feed ground.  One of those is go the opposite direction, cross a bridge and back up the other side of the creek.  Another option is cross the creek, a ways up above the cabin.  They decide on the 2nd option but it's early in the season and the water isn't all the way frozen yet so they will have to get across the water. 
(I should mention, Dad is a big guy and when you ride behind him, you can't really see past him.  You just hold on)
The friend carefully surveys the area and finds a good place to cross.  Dad, however, does not cross in the same spot.  He takes another route, Rita is completely unaware of what is about to happen.  Dad has chosen a spot that has a hump they will have to jump to get over the running water.   He takes the jump and THROW RITA OFF!  She doesn't see it coming at all.  She HITS the ICE HEAD FIRST, like a dart being shot into a target!  Head 1st,  her skull crashes through the frozen ice!  She is dazed and not quite she what has happened. Wet and now on her hands and knees, shaking her head confused.  Luckily, she did not fall all the way through the ice. 
As far as I know, they continued on with the days tasks and got all the feeding done.  Rita's head throbbed pretty bad for days.  She went by a few days later and took a picture of the open hole still remaining in the ice from where her head had plummeted through.  

***Ask Dad the Story of Getting Kicked

January 14, 2013

Phone Call with Friend Asking if they should "Rent a Snow Machine" to go into the Gros Ventre.....I told her Yes, I would. (Thinking about all the times Dad's sled had broke down and were un reliable) I told Rita about the conversation....Rita replies....Ya, you should tell her Ya, as we sister's sled is broke down and she is walking 5 miles back to wolf tracks!

******DIFFERENT STORY about walking home.....Ask Rita details to write up 

Even better, Dad was mad at her when she got back to camp for taking so long and was certain that she should've been able to fix the sled.  Upon further investigation....he would learn it was not a mechanical failure that could be fixed on the trail. 

This has to be my favorite story ever! 

Dad and Rita have a new saddle set of horses they are hooking.  One is an outlaw saddle horse that came from a cowboy on a ranch in Utah.  These horses don't really know how to pull yet so they have been taking small 10 bale loads with them.  ( A regular team would pull about 50 bales a load.  Even the Hauflinger teams easily pull 30 bales)   Dad has the team hooked to the sleigh, EMPTY, no bales are loaded.  They are just getting hooked up over in the parking spot by the corrals.  When you park the teams, you pull right up to the corrals at night.  When they go to leave in the morning, they have to step to the side to miss hitting the corrals. There is also a sleigh parked nearby so when pulling out, you kind of "shoot the gap" towards the stack yard.

Dad CAN NOT get this team to leave.  He tells Rita to get up on the sleigh and drive.  He is going to get them going from the ground.  (I'm not sure how long this has been going on but Dad is on the verge of being really mad)

The Utah outlaw, is sour and sulking.  He has now laid down.  Dad is getting even madder and his brain has pretty much rolled over.  Rita switches him and gives a try at getting them going.  The horse on the other side sincerely wants to go but can't pull the sleigh and the sulking horse.  Dad finally gets fed up enough that he decides to unhook the willing horse and go get one of the seasoned horses to hook. 

As they go to lead the other horse away, the sulker steps across the tonuge of the sleigh.  Keep in mind that he is STILL Hooked to the sleigh.  Rita goes to grab him but Dad says he is fine and to leave him.  (Dad still has steam rolling out of his ears)   They are headed towards the horse pen when the Sulker starts FOLLOWING them!  Not long after, he realizes that the Sleigh is following him!  He takes off running from the sleigh (which is hooked to him) and still FOLLOWING Dad, Rita, and the other horse.  He is spooked and they don't know which way he will go so they are RUNNING IN CIRCLES  and circles trying to stay in front of the Runaway Sulker!  Finally they have to pitch the lead to the horse they have.  It takes off bucking away from them and the other horse finally untracks. 

HAHAHAHA.....I was crying picturing them ALL (especailly Dad) RUNNING in CIRCLES!

February 14, 2013
 Phone call from Rita....

Driving the Team over to hook them up to the sleigh.  Something was hooked up starts gaining speed....Rita is baring down and saying WHOA!  Before she knows it, she is sliding on her butt behind them and trying to get them stopped.  Dad shows up right as the wreck is beginning.  She hollers to him ...DAD MAKE THEM STOP as she is sliding by.  Finally gets one rein pulled around and gets them circled up. .......She is my hero!  (hahaha....but it does make me giggle to picture her sliding by on the ground)

WOLVES ~ Had wolves RIGHT ON the feed ground this morning.  One was sitting right out there laying on a pile of hay! 

This is just a few of the many many many stories that have drifted out of camp this season.  I hope to update and edit soon. 
Happy Trails,


  1. Oh my Gosh Mindy - I am still shaking, crying and laughing after reading this!!! Since I have been there - I can fully appreciate everything you wrote. I would love to hear about all the **** you have yet to complete. The circle running is my favorite. :))))Cindy B

    1. Cindy, I think Pam is coming in next weekend. Are you guys coming down too?