Published by caribou creek on 15 Jun 2009 at 03:55 am
As we grow up in life .From the day we are born to the day we die .We find that life comes to full circle.
In my youth things were hard . my fathers lack of work, h]Heavy drinker .My parents couldnt afford to keep me at home. Plus i ran away from home at early age to keep from being beat by my drunk father . I ran away to alaska .Places where there were no maps . Places yet mapped only seen by natives and gold miners of old .
I had worked with horse all my life .You could say from ground up !My aunt and uncle raised appalossa horses and cattle in southern arizona ,I worked hard from sun up to sun down .We worked cattle around Bisbee, Douglas and Tomstone .Chaseing cattle back acrossed the border from mexico picking up a few donkeys along the away . Even today you will see wild donkeys in area watering with the wild life. The ranch is gone now ,So my stories starts from there . These are my roots.
I ran away to alaska very young .I found myself working in fall months for guides and spring/summer in construction .I lived out of town .building a life for myself with only trade i knew –Horses ! I had collected a good string of horses and mules All giving me good service .I packed in supplies for guides and miners .Mostly guides. I could work my horses all fall packing .
I had 23 horses and 2 jenny mules Each horse knew it’s job . My mare would lead out the string . All would follow . What a life for a young man with horse ‘s .Free and easy !
This one time i had packed in my horses and two hunters for guide i worked for . Into area known as the Wood river .Deep in the alaska range .Horse back only area . Great hunting for moose ,caribou and sheep . Late fall would be best time for my hunters .
We rode into area .Set up camp .Very long day . Rideing was hard on horses also .I hobbled out horses . letting my mules range free that night. Knowing they would stay close . Also they would make lots of noises if bears were close .
My one jenny was in heat . I didnt feel it was going to effect our trip the way it did. The first morning up with the sun . looking out the tent .I see a large bull moose . Hey guys ! Who wants this moose ? My jenny had a boy friend she brought him home to meet dad.Hunter had his moose .Now we needed one more moose .
Camp fire .open fire meal .good stroies told .Horse tied out for the night ,All was well . Alaska can be beautiful in the fall .fall colors .night lights .Sounds of wolves howling .Day was done
Next morning up again with the sun Out the wall tent was another bull moose .With my jenny mule ! Just a bit futher away out this time .Maybe gun shy by this time . My judas mule had another boy friend .The other hunter filled his tag . Boy ! Iam thinking this is an easy hunt .I could be home early and ready for two more hunters .Outfitting can be good money .You most work all you can in fall .Or money can be short and winters long .
W e hunt the next day for caribou and filling both tags .I had left a few horses in camp with my mules .when we got back to camp my jenny was gone .I walked out to find her . She had yet another boy friend .She couldnt be caught this time , Not even grain !. Look at it this way your daughter comes home with new boy freind and he gets shot .she wouldnt bring home any more to meet ole dad !
We packed up leaving for the road .My mule was still there left behind .she would not follow the rest . At the road i left meat and supplies with old sourdough with message to catch my mule and call me to pick her up .
Fall season was a pretty good one .I had plenty of work.The horses were tired and needed winter pastures. I loaded up 3 good horses and headed back to hunt for my winter meat supplies and wanting to catch my mule .I trailed into an old hunting camp site .looking for my lost mule .I found the signs –The writing was on the walls .I would miss her.I found what was left of her .wolves had cleaned up the remains .I would miss her .I never did ever buy another mule to replace her ,some things are just left alone .Time moves on .I left for the service .Leaving my horse in good hands .I was dicharged early and came home to the same way of life .Only this time i would have a pilots license and aviation mechical experiance.I work winters as turbine mech and fall as outfitter. I homesteaded 160 acres and got married .Not bad way of life for a runaway boy with only a dream to come to alaska .
One day i was watching my horses feed in the fields These horses are in better shape than my family . They were better cared for .So i sold them all and moved to town . My horse days were over ! It was a good life. Some times like now .I look back at the youth of my past. I can see myself packing over the mountain passes fresh snow . …..Iam older now maybe wiser …My youth is gone .My spirit Is still stronger with my age .Weather beaten hands ,skin baked in the sun .I wear a rain slicker , And yes this old cowboy hat –But Iam not a cowboy .I just found the hat !
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