Saturday, September 07, 2013

Unbranded: The Last Stretch

Westernhorseman Blog - Full Story

Nearing the finish: Four men, 13 Mustangs and more than 3,000 miles.

We just got finished with the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, a 2.5-million-acre roadless area south of Glacier National Park. Two big fires, the Damnation and Red Shale, threw a wrench into our plans and forced us into a huge reroute to steer clear of the spreading forest fires. Our original route took us through remote but easy trails through the center of the “Bob.” The reroute forced us east into the Sawtooth Range, well named for its lack of plateaus, ridges and large drainages. The Sawtooths aren’t that tall but they make up for height in huge elevation changes, massive rock faces and a lack of grazing meadows. The views are stunning, but the going was slow and it often took twenty miles of trail travel to traverse 5 miles of straight line travel. Our horses, as well as we, had Canada on our mind and it was agonizing to accomplish so little distance with so much effort.

We’re currently five days and about 100 miles from the Canadian Border. Excited is an understatement! All that remains of our journey are seven 9,000-foot passes, 100 miles of cliff face switchbacks exposed to the forecasted afternoon thunderstorms, and possibly the most incredible scenery in the Lower 48, Glacier National Park. The Canadian Border has been a vague dream of ours for the past six months and as we get closer reality has begun to set in that the adventure will be drawing to a close. It’s a bittersweet feeling, I’m ready to get to that border, but it’ll be a hard transition from such a carefree way of living...

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