July 31, 2012. I set up my tent, happy to be in my bug free zone. I missed hearing Taboona munching in the night but she was in the high canary and the horse tail and was doing very well on the rope now, so I trusted she would be OK for a while! The full moon was coming up big out of Swale canyon but I slept well and had an interesting dream that I could not recall.
08-01-2012. I got up at four am and started packing ; When I brought Taboona over I noticed she had not gotten tangled up all night! I harnessed her up and hooked up the cart and we were on the road by six! The air was still cool and the morning stars were huge and bright!
A skunk crossed our path just as we started to climb the grade but it was not a bad omen, Taboona pulled the Horse Shoe Bend Grade and that was quite a feat for any horse, I was proud of her Mustang heritage! I made a rough estimate that she was literally pulling her own weight! That the fully loaded cart weighed as much as she did, about a thousand pounds!? We stopped to rest twice; she got warm but never broke a sweat…
It was beautiful, coming up the canyon wall seeing Mt.Hood poke its head through and Mt Adams looming near by. I searched the rock faces for the “interesting “art work that Reed and Molly had told me about but saw nothing? There was no water in the creek like earlier in the year but on up the road there was a reservoir so I hauled her some water from there. When we got to the very top of the grade we rested in the shade of some pine trees and it looked like this might be the last shade for a while.
It is a very different world up here compared to the other side, the west side of the Klickitat. It is openspaces here and dryer. We have left the fir trees to the draws that flow into the Little Klickitat; out here it’s the locust trees that seem to be the main survivors. After the second 90 degree turn and heading east now we pass a couple of well established ponds so my fear of no water has been quenched! We go a long ways until we pull into an old abandoned homestead and rest in the shade of some Locust trees.
I don’t think Taboona benefited much from the view but for me it was quit grand; Mt Rainer was framed between Mt Adams and Grey Back Mountain, and just to the right of that was a full view of the Goat Rocks and a full length view of the Simcoes. I pulled out my Metzger map and studied the place names and noticed where the old eel trail went through a pass between Kaiser Butte and Potato Butte.
I noticed the right side tire was going flat so I dug out my compressed air can of “fix a flat” and carefully followed the directions! It seemed to work! After an hour or so we press on. Because I did not walk this road but stuck to the trees when I hiked this route I did not take into account the many hills Taboona would have to pull, one after another! I realized this was a big mistake on my part and Taboona was the one to take the brunt of it! We rested again in an old orchard that needed more water and we got some grazing there. But Taboona wanted to “get somewhere” so we pressed on. It was really feeling like a forced march at this point. I had given her the last of our water a while back so I picked a farm to pull into and luckily found someone home; Dean. He was a nice guy and gave Taboona all she would drink. He said he had given up horses because he did not want to be tied down.
I was getting tired also and was kind of hoping he would offer us a place to camp for the rest of the day and night but it was not going to happen and I did not want to impose.