horses

Here is a good group of hard-working back country horsemen and women celebrating the good work we did on the Bearwalk Trail in September. 

I thank you all for helping our Teton Valley Back Country Horsemen Chapter get saddled and trail-ready.

We are now 68 members deep—with 103 devoted Facebook fans. Check it out. Thank you, Lacy Garton.

We took on four different trail projects and succeeded on all fronts: HAPI Trails trail clearing, a re-routing of the Bearwalk Trail, and two downfall clearing workdays, one on South Leigh Creek and the other on Moose Creek Trails. Big thanks to all who helped to make these trails more accessible to hikers and equestrians alike.

We also offered a Packing Clinic hosted by HAPI Trails that was well attended. Thank you, Julie Martin and HAPI Trails.

Our Vice President, Maggie Shaw, who tracks all of our work for the Idaho-BCH, reports that we recorded 282 hours of volunteer labor and we collectively rode 140 trail miles en route to our worksites over the course of the summer. (Maggie: Thank you for tracking all of this for us.)

Happily, we trotted out on various recreational back-country adventures as well: a lovely ride through the Targhee Forest, horse swimming at Hidden Lake, a leisurely ride on the Cowboy Trail, a sky-line panoramic ride via the Horseshoe Meadows Trailhead, a Snake River meander in Grand Teton National Park, a great picnic lunch ride on the South Leigh Creek Loop, and an attempt (we got close) to reach the trail-less Ranger Lake in Yellowstone National Park. (This last one demands another try…)

Next summer we will do more. Think about what trail ride you’d like to lead and we will get it on the calendar early. Also, consider what other wilderness trails will need our help. Several of you have mentioned that the Fox Creek Trail needs some serious work. Let me know if you have been up there recently and what you have found.

And if you were not able to join in on any of these activities, that is okay. Don’t give up or quit! As Thoreau said, “Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.” Your time will come sooner or later and you will find more time for going a-horseing or a-muleing. As well, tell your friends about our new chapter of the BCH and have them join up. We have all made more friends already just by what we have undertaken so far. This is good.

I am hopeful that this summer (given that the pandemic fizzles out) we can actually all get together in person for a party over here at Cross Creek. We’ll make it a pot-luck, and Joy and I will hire a band for some stomping on the deck. Anyone who rides over gets extra credit. That also gives me another idea: Riding under a full moon is always great. Let’s try to pull that off as well.

I close by enthusiastically thanking Maggie Shaw, Melissa Pangraze, Dennis Craig, Lacy Garton, and Jay Myers--and also Kevin and Deb Little and their proud workhorse Billy-- for their hard work and willingness to get our BCH chapter up and running. Please let us know whatever else we should be thinking about or working on as well look forward to 2021.

Michael K. Mulligan

President, Teton Valley Back Country Horsemen