This summer my buddy Shawn Lee talked about taking a 200-mile trip over a two week period of time. I reminded him that the last time we rode 20 miles in one day that it about killed all of us. Of course I was on a stud and a mare in front of me was in heat so it wasn't the smoothest ride. Then we lost the trail and had some rough riding for a while.
But back to this story. I'd just gotten out of the mountains backpacking with my daughter and Shawn wanted to go on a horse ride. I got packed and off we went. It was Shawn, Brian and me. I love backpacking. You're in the backcountry by yourself but on horses is even better. You can pack a few amenities to make yourself more comfortable.
Also while you're riding you have time to look around and enjoy the country more. Sure, when you're in tight spots brushing the side of the mountain on one side and looking straight down 300 feet on the other it can get intense but if you're on a good trail you can enjoy it a bit more than if you're hiking.
This was going to be a low-key event. Pack in, do a little fly fishing and have a good time. We had packed into this same spot before but wanted to go a few miles further this time. Last time we had packed in a guy from Boston that never had been on a horse or fly fishing. We had some super fishing the first day and got back to camp at dark. Shawn had supper whipped up so he told us to clean them and store them in the river for breakfast. That night a rotten little river otter found them and ate all of our fish so I cooked these tonight!
Right after we crawled into the bedrolls something spooked the horses and they broke the picket line so we had to gather them back up but the rest of the night went peacefully.
If you've never packed into the backcountry on horses you have to try it. The first few times take a good cowboy/cowgirl though because it's easy to have a rodeo. You'll need to learn how to tie down a pack and have good mountain horses that are surefooted and don't spook too easily and even then things can happen.
This trip as we were crossing the third and last creek Shawn's horse feet kicked out from under him and flipped on his side. So even if you know what you're doing and on a good horse things can happen but still, packing in on horses is the ultimate outdoor adventure.
Just because summer is coming to a close doesn't mean that it's too late. You still have a lot of options. You can pack in for a late summer fly fishing trip. In fact now is an excellent time. The rivers have dropped and fish are congregated in the bigger holes. They've been feeding all summer and you should be able to catch some bigger fish. Then hunting season is just starting. I'll be elk hunting in another week myself.
Well don't waste the last few seconds of summer. Get up in the mountains and have fun.