Trailhead Supply Blog / About Us
What a great day yesterday!!! Odie the shop dog and I took a road trip. Got out of the store for a day and out on the highway. We traveled over to Idaho to pick up a load of timbers we had custom cut for us. Once home, we then take these timbers cut them down again and then again, in our own shop, one step at a time to create the bars for Trailhead Supply’s own Decker pack saddles. One of the exciting things for me on the way back to Montana was that every time I stopped, let it be for coffee, snacks, or just stretch our legs, someone would point at the flatbed trailer I was pulling and say, “What are you building?” When I would reply back "pack saddles" you got the deer in the headlight look. I think they were expecting a new deck, or something along those lines. Then I would have to explain the whole process of building a saddle and how they are used on a horse or mule to transport gear and equipment in and out of the forest, etc. etc. etc. Then would continue with why my daughter and I started Trailhead Supply, over my fresh cup of coffee. While I tried to explain the whole saddle building thing to them, they would stop me and say “By hand?” “You do this all by hand? Yourself? You just don’t buy them, you build them yourself?” They’d ask. I would explain I did most of the tree construction and my son in law did most of the leather work, while my daughter fills and pushes us both along. Its truly rewarding to build a product by hand knowing is will last a lifetime while at the same time help people get out on the trails, live their dreams and keep their passion for the back country alive. Go pour another cup make some new friends along the way….
See you on the trail.
This has been a tough week, we all go through them. One of my oldest and closest friends came to visit, tossed on the rear bunk of a motor home for the journey. He has been fighting, a long, slow, debilitating, unknown, terminal disease. He has outlived what every doctor has predicted. He has the drive and determination not to give up; which in its self should be the lesson for all of us. But this trip was to say goodbye…….We had to have that talk about what he wants done after that final breath. He wants to be cremated, and his ashes scattered and for me to take him on one last pack trip.….. I asked him where……..He said “You pick, you have got to roam around, cover more ground than anyone I know, and I never got a chance to join you.” I told him, “I would be honored, but did I have to take his whinny ass sister along with me???” His reply was, “As much as I’d like to say yes, just to piss you both off one last time….No, not this time.”
Some of us will get called home way too early, some a physical thing that stops us from doing what we love to do. Most of us spend way too much time chasing the dollar $ign, trying to provide for you and the family. The best way to live for my friend Steve and when the time comes, remember Steve, is get out and enjoy life to the fullest; the lawn can wait to be mowed…..
I’ll close with a quote from Edward Abbey………….
“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”
I was having coffee this morning while chatting on the computer with a friend. When I happened to type my horses name ….The question was asked why did you name your horse Chop? So, I started to explain that when I got her, her name was Sundance princes of la dee da dee da……or something like that. But she was way over weight and as I went to load her to bring her home I said, come on Pork Chop, get in the trailer. In turn I shortened it to Chop.
My wife thinks it’s just horrible that I named her something that is based on her girth size…..Oh well it works, and everyone on the trail knows her by Chop. So, Chop it is. Once upon a time ago we breed horses, and yes, we tagged in all the lineage names, but like everyone does we called them something totally different. Then why not just put on the registration papers “CHOP?” Most horses and mules I own have a short easy name, but really they have several names depending on their daily attitude. Some names will change as owners change and what that animal is used for. If the horse was owned by a little girl chances are it has princess somewhere in there and I will take no princess in the back country. So, names change to reflect the toughness of the trail (for me anyways). I have a friend that’s an outfitter and he no longer names his stock, but numbers them for inventory and tax reasons. For example he rides 101. I’m not sure why horses have to be so tough to name when on the other hand dogs are so easy. Rex, Spot etc. The question I was asked over coffee this morning was… could I write a short blog about naming horses and how or why did you name your horse or mule what you did. So, there you have it, go ahead comment away….
PS Here’s a list of ours:
Mules: Margo, Molly, Lucy, Roger, and Abner.
Horses: Gus, Miss T, Angel, Jackie, Sis, Chop, and Cowboy.
Left to right: Miss T, Chop, Roger, Margo, Sis
Seems like not a day goes by that you don’t turn on your computer and there is at least one if not more folks pictured having a cup of coffee. My Facebook feed is full of them, all my friends, or want to be friends wanting to share that first cup of the day with me. I was talking with one of Trailhead Supply’s customers about this and I said I like it!!!
Not necessarily all these unknown random pics of folks drinking coffee, but the idea of it all. See back before there were Starbucks, or any Coffee Bar / Espresso Stands for that matter, I had coffee almost every morning with my Grandfather. The thing was he was 2000 miles away. It didn’t matter where I was traveling around the country for work or if I wanted to sleep in on a Sunday morning the phone rang at 6am. “Are you up?” was the greeting I heard 7 days a week on the phone. Back before cell phones and I was on the road or sitting in some airport waiting for a flight I would call him from some old pay phone. I can’t even begin to imagine how many cups of coffee I’ve drank in phone booths talking to him. My day started out the same everyday…. knowing he was ok and that was enough for me to have a good day.
As a bonus I also learned all the happenings in the entire family and everything happening in Moorpark, CA. For those of you that might care Moorpark spelled backwards is kraproom. Those days are long gone. Now, I drink coffee looking at pics of folks I really don’t know and reading texts from my kids. So, enjoy what you have, make the most of it…..we all know it won’t last forever. So, have another cup………….
Miss ya Reg………….
I’m often asked how did you go from the corporate guy to the packing guy? Why did you leave a successful company, big paychecks, corporate planes, and high blood pressure pills to the lonely solitary life of a packer? I tell everyone it’s the lifestyle not the paycheck that’s for sure. But I truthfully could never put my finger on the straw that broke the camel’s back; that caused me to walk out the door and never look back.
There comes a time, a point, sometime in all of our lives, where money means nothing, and passion for what you do is everything….It’s hard to explain till you’re there or after you’re there to realize the change. I found the camel breaking straw last night. Took me six years but when I saw it, I knew it. There it was lying in the bottom of a box in my shop at home.
Trailhead Supply took a huge step forward this month and we bought the pack saddle tree making equipment from a long time and well known, very respected pack saddle builder. I now have a 20’ stock trail stuffed with machinery and need to find a place to set up our new operation. My shop at home was volunteered, but like most of our shops and garages, they are full of stuff none of us use or need, mines no difference. So, the task to clean out the shop has started. As I sort, toss, and move everything in the designated area, I found a sealed box.
I cut open the box to find stuff from my desk that got dumped into this carton just before I slammed my office door shut for the last time. There in the bottom of this box, was an email to me, from my partner, framed behind glass. The email stated that I had bid a job for X-thousands of dollars, we had done the job and had billed correctly for the job but we were $4.37 short from hitting the company’s profit % goal. It went on to say how disappointed he was that I couldn’t find $4.37 somewhere. He even gave me suggestions to use in the future like short a contractor etc. to get the additional monies to hit those % goals. Nowhere in that email did he say that I ran the most profitable district, the largest grossing district in the company. There was never a mention of how many millions of dollars I put into the company’s bank account, just I was $4.37 short of my % goal.
So, for $4.37 I left a company that I started. A company, that put my kids through college. A company that I thought I could easily retire from, to pack and follow my dreams……Dreams do cost money just not percentages.