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Looking for current information on the status of the Great Western Trail

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    12-14-2012, 08:25 PM
  #41
Weanling
Spent most of November in Arizona with my parents. Dad and I were able to put some trail miles on the horses. Thought I'd post a few pics. They are the area around Eagar, AZ, between about 4500' down on the Blue, to near 9,000' just south of Eagar. Scared up several elk up in the higher elevations. Wasn't cold enough to drive them lower yet. We had exceptional weather the whole time, as you can tell.

Second to last photo shows some of the area that burned a couple years ago in the Chedeska/Rodeo fire. More than 550 square miles burned. Got right up to Eagar, but the town and much of the surrounding area was spared. Deer and elk are moving back into it now. It's actually kind of pretty riding through it, in spite of all the black toothpick-looking dead trees. Now you can actually see the topography and it's rather striking. Before all you could see was green boughs of the pines that were growing too close together to allow the trees to mature (since they cut off logging many years ago). In a few years it will be all meadows and bare hillsides for the most part, but it's recovering nicely.
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File Type: jpg 2012-11-13 13.20.34.jpg (77.5 KB, 54 views)
File Type: jpg 2012-11-13 13.21.28.jpg (67.6 KB, 53 views)
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    12-15-2012, 12:10 AM
  #42
Yearling
The ash is a pretty good fertilizer. So you get some great growth in the grasses and other plants that didn't do much in the shade of the mature forest. I find the elk and deer move back into a burn unit pretty much the next summer.

I love hunting those areas, the game animals seem to think they are in trees and forest and hidden, But we can look across canyons and see into the burn area, making it easier to see the animals.

It take a lot of years for those burnt trees to disappear. I was noticing in Yellowstone this summer how many blackened trees still stood from the fires of 1989, that's 23 years and they still stand. We see lots of signs at trail heads in areas that burnt warning to watch out above, The 15-20 years dead trees are starting to fall and topple in the wind and during storms.

Here is a view of the East Fork of the Bear River that burned in the mid 90's. Lots of new green growth has replaced the mature spruce and pine forest. Young Quaken Aspine are replacing the spruce trees. This has been 14-16 years since the fire.





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    12-18-2012, 09:30 AM
  #43
Weanling
This thread is excellent info for if we ever make it to the US.

Thenrie, I know you´re debating about the mule/horse choice for packing, but do you already have your riding horse pìcked out? (that little haffie is too cute for words, by the way). I thoroughly recommend starting your own conditioning as early as possible, and we´ve done pretty well with long slow riding for our horses - we are all flat where we keep them but on our recent trip they had no problems with three days of hills.
     
    12-18-2012, 02:05 PM
  #44
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnaHalford    
This thread is excellent info for if we ever make it to the US.

Thenrie, I know you´re debating about the mule/horse choice for packing, but do you already have your riding horse pìcked out? (that little haffie is too cute for words, by the way). I thoroughly recommend starting your own conditioning as early as possible, and we´ve done pretty well with long slow riding for our horses - we are all flat where we keep them but on our recent trip they had no problems with three days of hills.
Well, I'm trying. I hope to start in March 2015. I am working on a QH mare right now (the one in my avater), but I'm still not sure she's "the one" for the trip. The Halflinger is not mine. It belongs to my nephew. Problem with him is that he eats too much! Great horse, but for my trip I need an easier keeper. I am trying to decide whether to use horses to pack, or whether to use mules to pack and a saddle horse, or to just get three mules. As for getting me into shape...well, I can tell you that you are a lot younger than I, but I've spent a lot of time in the saddle during my time. I think I'll be ready. You and your boyfriend are welcome to join in for a bit if you're in the area
     
    12-19-2012, 08:10 PM
  #45
Foal
You should really think about starting a blog... That way others may live vicariously through you while only finding time for three or four miles a couple times a week in between kids and work. Lol... Thanks for sharing!
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    12-19-2012, 08:33 PM
  #46
Foal
That's a good idea. It could turn into a cool book with lots of amazing pictures, like the one Robert Redford did when he rode the outlaw trail.

FYI, I camped/rode on the GWT just outside Torrey, Utah. That stretch is quite fun. Depending on time of year, there is a short spur to an amazing and fairly unknown waterfall that is worth checking out.
     
    12-20-2012, 06:46 AM
  #47
Weanling
Actually, I am planning on starting a blog. In fact, I have been considering starting a full website for the trip. I am considering making it a benefit ride for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I thought having a website might help in getting sponsors to help with costs and bring in contributors for the JDRF, while also allowing others to enjoy the trip vicariously. I've even thought about inviting a videographer along to document the trip. As far as I've been able to find out, nobody has ridden the entire GWT in one trip before. There are a few that have traveled over the entire trail, I believe, but I can't find any information where anyone has made it in one trip. Because of that, there is no documentation I can find as to how far it really is to go from the Mexican border to the Canadian. I plan to take a GPS unit and document my route, travel times, etc, for the benefit of future riders.

However, with all these thoughts comes the realization that the more people I involve, the more complicated things become. I would really like to keep things as simple as possible. If the benefit and sponsorship thing becomes too burdensome, I won't do it. In all likelihood, if I want a videographer along, I'm going to have to hire one. I'm not sure I want to do that either.

So, it may just end up a blog and a bunch of pictures. We'll see as I get farther along in the planning.
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    12-20-2012, 08:13 AM
  #48
Foal
I am an amateur/hobbyist filmmaker/videographer, having gone to school for communications and worked as a professional photographer for a number of years....and I would be happy to help out any way I can:) I have been following this thread with interest as I have similar aspirations as far as long treks go...I am currently planning to backpack the 68 mile VA Highlands Horse Trail in the spring, along with my 2 Grayson Highlands ponies who will be accompanying me as pack animals.
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    12-20-2012, 09:22 PM
  #49
Foal
The website could also offer some advertising opportunities....
     
    12-20-2012, 09:42 PM
  #50
Weanling
Wow! What a fantastic goal.... I would die to do something like that!! Some of the scenery pics you guys posted is breath taking!
I was looking into doing something similar, though using the Trans American Trail which (when I read about it a number of years ago) was supposed to include horse trails...all I can find out about it now is it is mostly for off road motorcycles. I would still like to try to ride it though.
     

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