Trailhead Supply Blog

It's Supposed to be Fun!!!

There are those days I sit back and just shake my head… I hear these stories of pack trips and trail rides that just make you pour another cup of coffee, stare at the one telling you the play by play, and sit in disbelief. You can’t even bring yourself to ask “What in the hell were you thinking?” At Trailhead Supply, not only do we ride the trails, we are in constant communication with land managers, trying to keep up on trail conditions to give the most real-time updates as possible. This summer it has been tough due to fires and trail closures. Trails that should have been open months ago and cleared, have not even been looked at since the Forest Service has taken the trail crews and shuffled them over to fires.  Without fail every Monday morning I get the highlight real from the past weekend; this Monday was no exception.  These two guys have been planning their big summer adventure for months. As time grew near there was discussion of final travel routes and campsites. Then the Forest Service closed their trail of choice for safety reasons due to fire.  As these two shifted into panic mode in search for a plan B at the eleventh hour, they kept always coming back to that one lake.  I tried to tell them bad plan, the trail isn’t cut open. Multiple Trailhead Supply customers have tried, but fallen short and have fell prey to downed trees and deep river crossings, and had to turn back.  They just couldn’t let go of their vision of large hard fighting west slope cutthroat, screaming line from their reels at the speed of sound.  So, despite all the stories, facts, and reports, off they went. They loaded the pack animals and headed down the trail. They made it 6 miles when the trail gave way and the lead saddle horse rolled down a 200-foot side hill.  After hours of work they reunited the big banged up bay horse with the rest of the string…They would not let this minor setback take away anymore fishing time…They pushed on.  Trying to jump large wilderness blow downs they rolled a pack saddle, then another.  Too tired to go on, they remembered what I tell all those attending pack clinics I teach. Remember this is supposed to be fun!!! They looked at each other and decided a cold beer at the burger place down the road from the trail head would be great.  Seven hours into their week-long wilderness pack trip they were on their way home.  A little beat up, but alive. Time to start planning the next trip...Uneventful trips don’t have near the memories…

See you on the trail.

Andy

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Sitting Around the Coleman

A month ago, I stood in Trailhead Supply’s parking lot looking east at the tall jagged peaks marking the visible boundary of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Even as our customers walked across the parking lot every one of them would be looking to the left as they opened the door, then the first words out of their mouth would be is it ever going to melt??  I was excited to report in that I made it three miles from the trail head before snow turned me around the last week of June. Now, less than a month later, we are in stage two fire restrictions, NO CAMPFIRES!!! Last weekend we got to do a forty-mile pack trip in two days delivering supplies for the Forest Service.  Dry and dusty, but we did it and had a load of fun doing it.  Bud and I were up early as normal, coffee was already perking on a gas stove not the normal crackling fire we are used to but still hot, black and full of grounds like normal.  We sat there around that abandoned fire ring of rocks where we had sat so many time before watching the sunrise and revisiting past trips and started planning more adventures for the balance of this summer.  Do you really need a fire to enjoy a good cup of coffee? It helps I did have to change our normal dinner menu …there were no T-bones over the fire…Oh well we got out with the horses and mules we saw some great country and we solved all the world’s problems over a great cup of coffee and an empty rock fire ring. Get out and spend some time on the trail even if it’s hot and dusty it will be snowing again soon enough and then have a fire.

See you on the trail

Andy

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Fish On!

Summer is here and its hot way to hot!!!   But it’s never been too hot to fish. So, around the Trailhead Supply world famous coffee pot there has been well...Some pretty big fish stories lately. You what I’m talking about; the one that got away, the new state record, no one got a picture of etc. etc. etc.  I just got back from Alaska where fishing is in full swing, big fish and everyone one getting on the plane were checking ice chest full of fillets.  I got the chance of going with my oldest daughter subsistence fishing.  Here you wade out into the Kenai river with a five foot in diameter net on a 20-foot handle and dip salmon out of the river.  Fun times even there while having coffee by the fire we were trying to decide who dipped the fish. Mike was handing my daughter the net so he could take a break when “Fish On” a big Red hit the net so he grabbed the handle back and the two of them drug it up on shore together.  After much discussion, the verdict was reached …1/2 a fish each…I had to fly south before they decided how they will do a ½ fish on their punch cards.  This weekend I’m packing planks into the Bob Marshall Wilderness and I’m sure I’ll wet a line before I head home. There is nothing like fresh trout with lemon pepper over the fire…. So, have you had a chance to get out and hook the big one?  Let us know how you did. Almost better than catching the big one in watching the sunrise and enjoying a fresh hot cup.

See you on the trail.

Andy

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What’s with your cup???

We all have that favorite cup, you know the one you always reach for to pour that morning cup of coffee.  We all have the ones the kids made in school or bible camp some felt pen drawings and scribbles on them. The one mom gave you from her last trip to Disney world. They mean a lot but you don’t use them, they just sit in the cabinet. But there’s that one you use every day washed or not. What is the story behind that cup??  Why that cup???  Even here at Trailhead Supply the regulars come in and every time they grab the same cup off the hook… Some have brought their own cup in and use it religiously. The cup that gets used in all of our Coffee with Andy photos, is all bent on one side…I was hobbling “Chop,” my half draft mare, she was going to graze with the mules. I was going to enjoy a hot cup of coffee right off the fire and watch a breath-taking sunrise till she put her #3 shoe on my cup, then applied all 1450 pounds of her delicate girlish figure. So much for the coffee, but the sunrise was grand.  I have a cup I found hanging on a tree branch riding down Youngs Creek in the Bob Marshall Wilderness on my wife’s first pack trip.  The last ten years of my grandfather’s life he called me every morning at 6am sharp, so we can have coffee together via telephone every morning.  He drank his coffee every morning in a Yuban coffee cup…I still have that cup.  There is more to that cup of coffee…there’s the cup and the memories. Take the time have another cup and make some memories. The memories share and the cup your holding may live longer than you….

See you on the trail.

Andy

Coffee with Andy by Trailhead Supply a blog about your favorite coffee cup.

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Hay!!!



I don’t know what part of the country you are in, but here in NW Montana the red in my thermometer is banging the 100 mark. We all know what that means, it’s hay season.  That wonderful time of year you get to spend quality time outside in wide open fields picking up bales. You have a limited amount of days to buy the required amount of hay you can store to feed all the horses, mules, and assorted grass eaters hanging around the ranch for the upcoming year. If you are like me you are getting up way, way, earlier than normal and staying up later than normal to get that hay loaded and unloaded in those cooler hours of the day.  Somewhere in the middle of haying morning and night you still get to go to work so you can pay for all those overpriced grass clippings….

But it’s worth it….it really is! Watching the sunrise, working harder than you do the rest of the year. That sense of accomplishment when the barn is full is just about unmatched…Now that you are used to getting up before the alarm goes off you have time for an extra cup of coffee. Time to compare hay prices and grass verse grass alfalfa. Until next week, stay cool.

See you on the trail.

Andy

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