After being run off the mountain by an on-coming storm on Saturday, we returned to conquer. Again we trailered to the Pigeon Water Spring area, continuing another couple of miles up the road this time, to just past the second section of tribal land. On the way, as we were passing an area along Pigeon Water Creek, a porcupine crossed the road right in front of us and scrambled up the opposite bank. I never imagined a porcupine could move that fast. It was funny to watch. Wish I’d had the camera at the ready.
We arrived at the trailhead before 9AM and were on our way by 9:15. We were able to follow an aspen-shaded road that improved into a 2 track and finally into a mere path by the time we reached its end at Fence Spring. This spring produces several pools and a tiny running creek. From there, we went trailless up a steep slope to the Dry Ridge Road. The trailless part wasn’t too bad, mostly through aspen. We did end up getting off and leading the horses the last few hundred yards when the forest became mostly spruce. That part had thick growth, blowdown, and was pretty steep.
Dry Ridge Road was rocky as it ascended. We’d anticipated that and had booted up the boys in their Easy Boot Bares. As we neared the top of the ridge, the road became more alluvial and the views were lovely. The weather held out, too. (For once the meteorologists got it right.) A few puffy high clouds, but otherwise nothing but blue sky. We saw lupine and yarrow and sticky aster along the forest trails. Up high was more of the same plus Indian paintbrush and showy green gentian that was offering its unusual blooms.
We also saw some wild raspberries and mountain prickly currant (red bristly berries), also called mountain gooseberry, on the ridge. The trees up high were spruce, fir, lodgepole, and an occasional limber pine.
There were plenty of open sections, too. We had a clear view of Duck Mountain from a beautiful meadow.
We traveled up to a high lookout point before heading on back down. We found an elk path to follow instead of the steep trailless section we trekked on the way up. That made the downhill trip shorter and easier.
We found a trough on the way down and stopped to give the horses a drink. Water was pouring out of a spigot and Mischief kept backing away from that side. I made him go up anyway because Boss was hogging the other side. Mischief finally stuck his nose in the pouring water and started lapping and slurping it up. I don't know if he'd ever had his own drinking fountain before but he seemed to like it.
Daisy found another tasty deer leg when we reached the trailer. She chewed on it while we unsaddled and loaded the boys. Fortunately, this time Daisy didn't try to get in the truck with her prize. She jumped in the truck without.
Overall, we went 16 miles and 2900 feet vertical in just under 5 hours of travelling time. Mischief and I are a little tired…