Lake to Goddard Canyon: CCC Trail Crew Resupply
July 15-16, 2008
DJ Fiske and John Henry
NPS volunteers: Cristie and Scott
Horses: Little, Apache, Sooner, Preacher
Mules: Peggy Sue, Janet, Maggie, Maui, Wendell, Daniel, Tim, Woody,
Spot, Split, Deuce, and one more
Forest Service cabin on loan to the National Park Service. It stormed
the first afternoon, but
we were cozy around a fire in the cabin.
Tack Shed for making loads and packing mules
out on Apache: a very slow goer and not what Scott's used to
next on Little, DJ on Sooner with 6 mules.
John Henry is next with 6 mules.
of the trail were incredibly rough, rockey, steep, narrow .. ..
.. .. .. and at other times, we crossed streams in lovely meadows.
we rode into camp in a light rain, we were snug in our slickers
and warmed by the heat of hard-working horses.
It was still great to be greeted by an enthusiastic trail crew eager
for their new supplies and mail. They had a roaring fire,
and dinner cooking. We'd traveled 16 miles in just over 6 hours:
good time on these trails. We'd increased elevation 4,000'.
The stock was all unpacked and untacked, grained and left loose
to graze around camp for the night. Especially the mules
made themselves right at home around the fire and in the kitchen.
Around midnight, they had to charge through camp
behind bell-horse, Sooner.
We took the
same route out that we took in, although Sooner led the way out
much quicker pace than Apache, with empty packs. This
was the first of 3 bridges.
Much of the
trail was just too treacherous for picture-taking.
verdant meadow was a welcome relief from rocks and was the scene
of the Big Wreck, in 3 parts. It all began riding
through a herd of trail horses grazing loose in the meadow. As they
became more interested in us, they became emboldened,
down-right aggressive. At first they thought they might play, then
decided they could just as easily run us off. The bell-horse
got between the 2 strings of mules, getting a tree between 2 mules
in John Henry's string. As they sorted themselves out,
another horse got between Little and the last mule of John Henry's
string, Wendell, sending Wendell up behind Daniel.
Little thought he might just run off. While Wendell and Daniel were
sortng themselves out, another tree popped up in the middle
of the string and just wouldn't budge. This caused a broken halter
and now 2 short strings of mules, one of them loose.
John Henry, riding spooky Preacher, wisely decided it would be better
to ride Preacher and let go of his now short string.
DJ, who had been fairly oblivious to the fray, now realized that
there were mules running up beside him. He kicked up Sooner
to catch up, 6 mules in tow. DJ dropped the lead to good lead mule
Peggy Sue, who knew that her job was to just stand still
when her lead rope hit the ground. Fortunately, this didn't need
to be tested too long as the trail narrowed and nobody could
go anywhere. Broken halter repaired, mules back in order, and it
was like nothing had happened heading down the trail 5
minutes later. Did we mention the hikers with 2 little kids who
wouldn't step off the trail and sent everybody into uproar in the
first place? They sure found the enthusiasm to get out of the way
when things got a little western.
With Florence Lake in view, home is close: maybe 2 hours.
On sure footed
horses, clambering over steep rock steps got to be surprisingly
and easiest bridge. It's gently arched and has nice solid sides.
Notice that there are no photos of the middle bridge!
Our party was about 150' long.
Lake has a great little store in an 8-sided log cabin.
The dam is to the right, and is stunningly beautiful from below,
where the cabin awaits us. Just another hour or so to go.