Bronze's Expedition Log

Expedition Log

Bears and Hardtack pt II

The week ends with moderate successes in the Mule Department. I returned Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday and have been able to execute the bodywork without any real difficulty. Bootsie is very responsive in our walks around the property, navigating with ease the various obstacles I arrange for her. My confidence in leading her is growing with each visit, but I work under the fear that a slight misstep on my part will undo any sense of trust or authority I have created. I am eager to get her out for a walk around the neighborhood.

While gaining in understanding of the mechanics of leading, I am still mystified by the subtle clues to her physical health. She seems to have some tenderness in one of her rear legs and under her belly. Is this just comparable to the knots in my back, or is it something to worry about? I do believe she is being fed too much hay—she is already looking a little rounder—so I am cutting back on that going forward. I have yet to find a proper veterinary dentist to take care of the teeth so that will be a top priority this week.

I put in a call to each national forest and BLM office through which my portion of the PCT travels and only one of them has an absolute requirement for bear-proof food canisters, though nearly every one of them highly recommend them. I like the idea of bear-proof panniers so I’m looking into their effectiveness this week. I’m not sure if the extra amount they weigh versus canvas panniers will be prohibitive. I hope to make a trip to Yucaipa this weekend to visit a tack shop—the owner seems to be highly knowledgeable in matters of mules and pack equipment and I plan on utilizing his expertise.

I cooked 4 days worth of hardtack this week, bringing my total rations up to 34 days. This chore became considerably more attention consuming when I discovered that my stove now only burns at 300° or 550°. I might as well be using a wood-fired kiln!

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