Monday, September 7, 2009


16 Dangerous Hot Flashes - Well, 3 of us were not there yet. Grace set up the trip and she and my sis Trisha came up with the name so we could have matching T-shirts. I still think we should be the WY Halter Mares.
Steff-F, Cathy, Nancy, Dana, Dawn, Purple-Steph, Grace, Linda, Kristi, Tami, Denise, Trisha, Marcia, Carla/Chrissie, Marianne, and Jill. Trisha, Dawn, Dana, Stephanie and I arrived in Jackson Hole on Sat. afternoon and met Grace, Carla, Tami, Jill, and Denise for a little pre-trip sight-seeing. We gathered in Duboise, WY where Grace has a beautiful WY style home; Marianne and Marcia live in Dubois too. Nancy is from CO, Linda from Ohio, Jill from Boston, and Kristie from CA. Trisha is from FLA, Dawn from TX and the rest of us live in OK.
Trisha brought Gator meat and Avocados from FLA for our Sunday evening dinner before the big trip into the mountains. So, early Monday morning on Aug. 24, we headed west to the Turpin Meadow Ranch headquarters for a great breakfast and to settle the logistics. Casey, the trail boss, assigned our horses and we saddled up and headed out.

Our route was along the South Buffalo. We rode into the mountains on fabulous draft cross (mostly) horses well trained for their mission; i.e., to carry fearful passengers up and down ridiculously steep terrain...

for a long time.... We had a 5 hour ride with a 1/2 hour picnic lunch stop. The scenery was spectacular - when we had the nerve to look at it. We lunched in a mountain meadow along a mountain stream and saw the pack-mule train (carrying all our stuff and provisions) pass us by. By the time we got to Lower Pendergraft Meadow (our base camp), we were all ready for assisted dismounts - but we were still 20 min away (wrangler time); our tents were already set up halfway down the meadow. A beautiful meadow complete with the South Buffalo flowing along between Terrace Mountain to the north and Angle Mountain to the south.

Our 'wranglers' were all YOUNG, PROFESSIONAL, and FUN. Casey - the trail boss, Rick - Cook/Chef, Troy, Dan, and Andrea - wranglers and expert horsemen/women, and Mike - fly fishing guide. 16 on a pack trip was a Turpin Meadow's record - and 16-women only...... When Casey told Grace he could take 18, he imagined 8 at most. The Turpin Meadow's crew took good care of us and helped make the trip a great success. (l-r are Dan, Casey, Andrea, Troy, Mike, and Rick)

Rick can whip up Good Eats on a campfire using traditional cast iron cookware. Treats included pancakes, eggs (with the toppings of choice), oatmeal, bbq chicken, camp stew, and steak as well as apple crisp and peach cobbler - yummy. Lunches were make-your-own sandwich fixings to take on the trail or enjoy in camp with very good bread. Water was available in camp - filtered from the camp spring and Rick made gallons of camp coffee every morning to wake everyone up. Evenings around the campfire usually started with a campfire game led by Rick - guess your occupation or favorite movie and movie scene. Then talk and Laugh time before heading to our tents. Tents for 2 or 3 included a therm-a-rest and sleeping bag - some of us had an extra pool-type air mattresses brought by Trisha. The ground was hard and lumpy and the nights got VERY COLD. It could be that I am OLD....

So, each morning in camp, we had to option to ride into the mountains. On Tuesday, the riders went to South Fork Falls and met the hiking party at the falls for our picnic lunch. On Wed., riders went out on the Cub Trail to lunch in a meadow before returning to camp and on Thurs., riders went to a beautiful cliff meadow on the way to Nolin Meadows. BEAUTIFUL and way fun. Meanwhile, non-riders could hang in camp, hike or rock climb, or go fishing with Hiker Mike. Mike is an expert fly fisherman who will do anything to avoid getting on a horse - including hiking 12 miles, uphill, backwards, through mud and snow, fending off bears and wolves. OK, maybe no snow and no backwards and no bears....

Now, about my horse. She was the best mare ever (for packing up and down mountains with a heights phobic rider). My mount started with the name Thunder but she is a now Percheron cross that earned some additions to her name. By the end of our adventure, I called her "Majestic, Magnificent, Marvelous, Mystic, Magic, Midnight Thunder Mountain." She never put a foot wrong no matter how much I twisted around trying to get a good picture or how rough or steep the trail. By the end of my time with her, I was comfortable riding along the very edge of the cliff trails and going up or down the steepest terrain. In fact, I could ride closer to an edge than I could walk along on my own two klutzy feet.
The Buffalo is teaming with fish - easily caught by Hiker-Mike. The area is the only home for the famous Cutthroat Trout but also has Brook and Brown trout in abundance. I tried fly fishing and caught myself - twice. It was fun, but Horsing around is way more fun - and safer for me. I am sure that the scene of me hooking my face would have been worthy of America's Funniest as I floundered on the slippery rocks in the swift stream in funky waders and boots, but, luckily, that was not documented on film. Several other fishing attempts by OTHERS were more successful and we got to sample Brook Trout cooked over an open fire.

Our last morning in camp (Fri) was a flurry of packing - our duffels were needed in the packing area by 7:30am... We had breakfast and loaded our ponies to head out of the wilderness with a couple of wranglers, the rest loaded up the mules. Our ride out was about an hour faster since the horses know they are going home - but we stopped for lunch near the pack bridge to break up the trip.

We got back to Turpin Meadows base camp before the pack mules which gave us time to get branded and get a few sodas with ice.

We were all sad to end the trip even as we looked forward to showers and Linda's Amish wedding chicken. But, Linda got a new grandbaby while we were in the wilderness and headed back to Ohio early Sat morning. She left her secret ingredients and we ate great chicken and got to have Joe's presentation on Indian culture. Look at those great models! We all want to ride again but have requested cabins.... Thanks to Grace, Turpin Meadows Ranch and my Hot Flash and Not Flash Sista's - all YaYa's in spirit.

For more pictures, check out the WHF Shutterfly site:


1 comment:

  1. Oh Cathy, what beautiful pictures of your Wyoming trip!!! How fun! I enjoyed reading through this post and wish I could have gone on the trip with you too! ...but my school district would have fired me if I was out the first week of school without a serious doctor's excuse!
    Kathy C.