2015

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Annual Gate Closing Ride
November 28

A few brave souls endured the cold today for the Back Country Horseman end of the year Gate Closing FUN Ride up Asotin Creek. It was ten degrees at the trail head. Those surviving the days ride were Rod Parks, Mark Bogar, Billie Havens, Jerry and Linda Lane, Jan Garritson, and Matt Bake. Thanks to Karen Parks for staying at the trailers and having the delicious chilli and hot cider ready for us when we returned. Nobody died. Not from the chilli, but from the ride in the cold. We rode in the sun all morning and were pretty warm until the fog moved in. We got cold again by the time we got back to the trailhead. The highlights of the ride were several groups of deer, a herd of elk, and the warm fire and food ready when we got back.

Green Gulch Work Project
November 22

Nov. 22 saw five of us at Green Gulch trailhead at 9:00 am enjoying the brisk 21 degrees. The eighty some elk we saw as we headed to the trailhead made us forget about the cold for a few minutes.

We had two eight foot 4X4 posts and tools to plant the new signs in the ground. Rod Parks loaded the posts and tools on the dependable horse that Tony Hepburn gave him. Mike Welling packed the signs and the rest of the items we needed. We headed up the canyon and all celebrated when we got out of the canyon and into the sun. The day was beautiful!

We saw several deer and more elk as we rode. Bill Correll made two signs earlier this year to install so the public could find the trail from Green Gulch to the top of the road above Rogersburg. This section of old stock trail needed marked better. WDFW gave us permission to install t-posts to delineate the trail. The materials were taken from an old fence in the area. We rolled up the wire and hauled to the top of the ridge to be hauled out later and drove t-posts to mark the trail. We did not finish marking the entire length, so have plans to go back later and finish.

This route makes a nice loop ride starting at Green Gulch Trailhead crossing over to the top of the hill above Rogersburg and then riding this road down to the Rogersburg Access Road and on to the Grande Ronde River Bridge where there is a wide area to park. There is a 3.5 mile shuffle of vehicles if you want to make the entire loop.

Thanks to everyone that were not intimidated by the weather and came along to work. Everyone agreed that it was a beautiful day for riding and enjoying the wildlife.

Ten Mile Trail Clearing Project
August 1-6

This project was held August 1-6 for the Red River Rd. Jerry Lane was trail boss and he did a great job of picking us a trail with lots of work. Jerry and Linda went up two weeks before and cut out the motorized section of the trail and scouted the area.

The Ten Mile Trail is twelve miles long with ten of them being in the Gospel Hump Wilderness. We came prepared with three crosscut saws, axes, and lots of wedges. Rod & Ardel walked the motorized section and removed a stump and new trees down before everyone else arrived.

Day one was Jerry, Linda, Ardel Petz, and Rod Parks with Doug Olive (FS) joining us in the afternoon. Doug showed up just in time as Rod was dragging his butt with the 95 degree weather. Day two Jim White and Matt Bake joined in with the fun. Turn after turn in the trail we came to multiple trees across the trail. Our goal was to get the trail cut out to Ten Mile Meadows and move camp the next day to the meadows. We did not make it! Day three we loaded up the animals and gear and headed out for Ten Mile Meadows cutting our way as we went. We finally made it about two in the afternoon. We set up camp and took a well deserved rest that afternoon. Day four we headed out again and cut until four in the afternoon and headed back to camp. Day five, we celebrated when we got to the end of the trail shortly after noon. It was nice to have a short day. Day six we leisurely packed up camp and headed back to the trailhead, loaded our vehicles and stock and headed for home.

We had a great work crew to get the entire trail cleared in the time we had. Doug Olive’s sharp axe and expert advice on how to attack many of the trees was a real asset to accomplishing the task.

Weitas Creek Weed Spraying Pack Project
North Fork District, NezPerce-Clearwater NF
June 26-June 30

Rod & Billie next moved down Kelly Cr on the 26th to Bungalow and loaded their gear and packed in to Weitas Guard Station for the night. Kearstin Edwards, from the FS started ahead of us clearing Trail #17. We all arrived at the guard station together and met Katie Howisey with a pickup full of more supplies.

The next day we hauled hay six miles up the creek and dropped them off, then up the creek another mile and sprayed weeds for a few hours and back to the guard station, a long day. Rod used the recently acquired horseback sprayer along the trail and Kearstin and Billie used back pack sprayers. The 28th Katie had to leave. The rest of us loaded up our gear and moved camp to where we dropped off the hay and then up the trail again to spray weeds. Rod got so involved with the spraying that he did not keep a good eye on the load of spray and spun the load on his horse. This was the new horse that he got from Tony Hepburn last year and lucky for him and Rod he does not get excited with anything he has put on him. Rod walked him off the hill with the tank under his belly and tied him up so he could reload him.

We went back down the trail to set up camp and then Rod & Billie took a very rewarding dip in the creek as the temperature was in the mid nineties and there was no shade where we were spraying. It was real heaven laying in the creek and cooling off. The 29th we headed six miles up the creek and sprayed weeds in another meadow and returned back to camp for another dip in the creek. Kearstin had to go back to Weitas Guard Station to work on the water system. The next morning we loaded up camp and rode the sixteen miles back to Bungalow Junction, piled our gear in our pickups and headed for home. Some real pretty country to ride in and for the week, we did ride just a few miles.

All of the three trips went without any problems other than rolling the horseback sprayer once. We tentatively plan to return next year and do some more spraying. The Weitas Cr Bridge should be repaired so the pack in will be much shorter.

Great Burn Study Group Pack Support
North Fork District, NezPerce-Clearwater NF
June 25

Rod, Billie, and Linda loaded seven pack animals with gear for two employees from the Great Burn Study Group and packed them ten miles up Kelly Cr to Hanson Meadows. We were asked to help them set up the wall tent. We had to use poles to make the frame and it took all five of us to get it standing. Rod put it on upside down first, so that did not help getting the task done.

The crew will be surveying exotic plans,  noxious weed spraying and other tasks. The Great Burn Area is a proposed Wilderness area. The Palouse Chapter will pack them out on August 22.

Cayuse Cr. Packing Project
 North Fork District, NezPerce-Clearwater NF
June 16 & June 24

Jim White and Matt Bake packed four animal loads of FS Trail Crew supplies on June 16 to the mouth of Cayuse Cr from Kelly Cr Trailhead and one more load on the 17th. On the 24th Billie Havens and Rod Parks packed four culverts into Cayuse Creek and five loads out of their camp and hauled them to the Kelly Creek Trailhead. We did not haul out some hand tools as they were not with the other gear. We found out they wanted them out, so we hauled out two rock bars, a shovel, axe, and polaski on our return trip from Hanson Meadow packing the next day. The forest service trail crew did a great job widening the trail tread and turnpiking several sections over boggy areas. The trail looks the best it has in years.

Kids Kamp 2015
June 16

June 16 twenty five youths between the ages of eight and seventeen arrived at the Smoothing Iron Ranch with their horses for five days of fun, education, and trail rides. Smoothing Iron Ranch is owned by Washington State Dept. of Fish & Wildlife located about 25 miles southwest of Clarkston, WA. Wall tents were set up for the kids.

Every year we cover Leave No Trace topics and try to instill responsibility with daily duties. In the field during the daily trail rides they had training on stock containment with portable electric fences, hobbles, highline, and picket ropes, human waste containment and use of cat holes and discussions on litter and keeping a clean camp. The kids have to wash all their own dishes, keep water in the stock pens, clean pens daily and feed their own stock, so it was not all fun and games. We had a great kitchen staff that used the farm house to prepare and serve meals.

We always try to have some outside topics that may interest the kids. This year Asotin County Sheriff K-9 Unit came and presented drug awareness, and covered the many talents that his dog “Olie” has such as house searches, seeking people, evidence, and drugs.
The other speaker trained them on archery target shooting safety and let them all shoot at targets. In our area there are archery target shooting classes in almost all the local schools. They took 142 kids to the state meet last year.

Every day elk were spotted during the rides. Water balloon fights is always popular, and other games to entertain them.

The last day this year they demonstrated to their parents how to set up a highline, portable electric fence and knots that they were taught. We are already making plans for next year.

Charlie Creek Signs

Dave Woodall, Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, asked if we would make and install a sign on the Zig Zag Trail. The Zig Zag Trail is a road dozed from the top of the north ridge to the bottom of Charlie Creek. Bill Correll has been our professional sign manufacturer using old barn boards for the signs and free handing the lettering. He does a pretty good job for being 89 years old. June 29th, his birthday, Bill and other members rode up Charlie Creek, a drainage off Asotin Creek, and installed a sign on the Elk fence on the top of the road and one at the bottom of the road to a tree. After the work, we stopped for lunch. Before we had finished eating and relaxing a thunder storm had some of us heading for shelter under trees until we got our slickers on. Some of the tougher ones mounted up and headed down the creek in the rain. Charlie Creek is a nice place to ride year around, less than a half hour drive from Asotin, WA.

Smoothing Iron Ride
May 20

Six of us met at Bogars’ and then headed up to the Umatilla NF. Riding and clearing some of the routes we ride for Kid’s Kamp was our plan. Some of these trails are on the national forest and some is on Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife land.

It is a beautiful time of year to ride, as the grass is about a foot tall and real green. As we rode across the fields and into the canyon, it did not take long to come across a big tree across the trail. As we rode, it just kept getting worse. It was easier to walk the trail with the saw and cut out trees rather than riding to the next problem tree and dismounting. The first two miles was the worst, then it was just a tree every once in a while. Some cut brush while the others worked on removing the trees. We ate lunch by a creek and then continued our ride back to the trailers.

We found some morel mushrooms, which Billie Havens could not pass up. About two minutes later, she had a gallon ziplock bag almost full. On the drive up, members saw a herd of elk and on the way home, elk and big horn sheep were spotted. We saw at least one real small lamb. Another beautiful day to be riding and escaping the real world!

Wilderness Gateway Campground Project
Lochsa District, NezPerce-Clearwater NF
May 16-17

The work consisted of spring cleaning in Loop D, the stock campground. There was a large pile of debris at loop 4 that we cleaned up and spread out to level the area after debris was left from tree thinning in the campground last year. We cleared the horse trail in the campground from camp to the Lochsa River Bridge. After the work, we took about a four hour ride up the Lochsa Peak trail. It rained almost all Friday night and most of the day on Saturday, so we rode in the rain. We had a great potluck when we got back and all went to bed early.  Sunday, we rode from camp on the Down River trail to the Lochsa Historical Station, Then Rod took the wrong trail and we rode up the Grouse Ridge Trail, rather than Fish Creek where we were supposed to go. Was a new trail for all of us and went up and up and up until it just dead ended, so back to camp we went.

Dough Creek Cabin Work/Play Project
May 9-11

This project was to create a permanent fire break around the Dough Creek Cabin located on the Craig Mountains on Idaho Fish & Game land. We were very lucky that the cabin was fire wrapped during the 2014 Cougar Creek fire. Two other cabins burned during that fire.

Saturday the supplies were packed down by pack animals. We used string trimmers to mow the grass around the cabin, outhouse and hitchrails. Then ground steriline and Roundup were sprayed around the cabin and outhouse to remove all vegetation. We packed two 30’x 7.5’ pieces of Potlatch felt paper and laid down on the North and East side of the cabin and a strip in front of the outhouse. The deck was stained again and the cabin was cleaned.

Sunday, some of us went for a fun ride to Frye Point. Then on Monday, using two SXS UTV’s we hauled 4 cu.yds. of gravel and put over the felt paper so during inclement weather it would not be muddy to enter the cabin. Let’s all hope that our efforts are effective during the next fire on the Craig Mountains.

Thank you to everyone that help get the work done and thanks to IDFG for providing the tools and supplies to create the fire break.

Cummings Creek Chapter Ride
April 19

This ride was on Washington Fish & Wildlife property and Umatilla NF about 45 miles from Lewiston. What a beautiful day, the first opportunity for some of us to get sunburned.

Larry Taylor did his usual getting lost on the drive there, but he lucked out and had a local get him headed the right direction. We started the ride with nine of us, but we lost Linda and Jerry Lane. Linda had dental surgery and was not as tough as she pretends to be and had to return back for more pain medication. They instead took a nice drive up the Tucannon River to check out the Panjab Stock Trailhead.

The ride was scheduled as a fun ride, but there was a major fire in the area several years back and the trees are really coming down. We spent a good share of the ride cutting trees out across the trail. Rod had big plans of going farther up the trail than last time. People wanted to stop and eat, so he said we would go as far as we could without cutting any trees and we made it a whole 200 yards farther.We stopped for a nice lunch and rest. Then we picked up some trash from an old camp and packed it out.

This trail is an old roadbed closed to motorized use and a very safe trail for training purposes. There are lots of small streams to cross early in the year. FYI the trail is only open April 1st to November 31, An access parking pass is required to use the area from Washington State.

Primeland
March 14

A little rain did not damper the enthusiasm for the kids to ride the horses and mules. I think we had six different animals to rotate in and out of the round pen and a never ending selection of kids. Four members provided samples of their Dutch Oven dishes to the public, a popular area also.  There was a lot of interest in Dutch Oven cooking and informational handouts were handed out. The dog races drew the largest crowd, with over 45 dogs entered. There was a good variety of vendors. Primeland provided a face painting booth and a gentleman making things out of balloons for the kids.

Thanks to Carl Paulson for heading up the crew from TRBCH. The support from the members was fantastic with almost twenty members helping where they were needed.

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Halsey Homestead/WDFW

Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife, with some TRBCH members support, made parking lot improvements and added signing, a non-motorized access gate, and a hitchrail to make the trailhead more user friendly for non-motorized users.

The ride is a nice loop that is around ten - twelve miles long. This area is similar to Redbird Ride in Idaho where often the area is open to ride year around. The trail has an area about three miles long that is very rocky, so you will need to decide whether to get your stock shod or not. Remember a Discover Pass is required to use any Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Property.

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Annual Chili Ride
February 15

Our heads are off to Bob Kuther and Lorelei McNamee for selecting such a beautiful day for the ride. There were twenty riders eager and ready to ride on this sunny winter day.

Bob gave us direction for a different route this year. Rod Parks was the only one that was told the route, which was a mistake, as he can’t remember anything other than he likes to ride. Luckily Lorelei knew some of the area and directed Rod in the right direction before he got everyone trapped in a fence corner.

The views from the top of the ridges were awesome and the trail through the canyons was great conditioning for our stock that has been cooped up for the winter.

The usual potluck was a feast for everyone that came to the shop to socialize and fill up their bellies. Thanks to Karen Parks for the Taco Soup main dish and a special thanks to Bob Kuther for allowing all of us to enjoy a great ride on his farm.

We only had one Pizza Event when a sweaty horse decided to roll with the rider mounted which resulted in a dismount. Anytime you end Thanks Sam!

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