Trailhead Supply Blog / Coffee with Andy

The Truck Ride…Home

We were having coffee this morning around Trailhead’s coffee pot, when one story led to another. And we were told of this past weekend’s story of moving cows…to many cows into too small of pen, to be exact. Next thing the horse turned smashing our friend between the corral panel and the rear of the cow. At that point the pants got dropped to show off the new large purple bruise. That lead to the conversation about another friend’s shoulder now full of nails, screws and pins.

Then, everyone looked up at me and said “How’s the shoulder?”

Since it was rebuilt and now has its share of hardware, “Better” I said... “Well kinda, still can’t open a jar of pickles or beer bottle.”

Bucked off, fell off, kicked in the ribs it really doesn’t matter.  The cause, the reason, or where and why it all happened it’s all kinda the same, but slightly different. The one telling the story may throw in the weather to add some drama, but the one thing that’s a consent in every story was the truck ride back home.  You manage in your broken state to always take care of the animals, finish what you’re doing or watch a buddy finish what you’re doing, then you get in the truck and head to the barn. Something about the angle of the seat the steady bouncing on the never-ending gravel road, or the pressure of holding the steering wheel, you make it home just fine. You open the truck door and then…you just sit there nothing works you can’t move, you have set up!!!

Your spouse comes out asking “What’s up?”

“I can’t move!!!” 

Then comes the motivational speech we all have heard… “Let take you to the doctor.”

Then you’re able to move, not fast, but you can get the stock put away make it in the house, take a handful of some kind of outdated pain pills from that old shoulder surgery and wash it all down with a big sip of adult beverage.  And to the couch you go.  The next morning you’re at Trailhead Supply’s coffee pot or a similar spot in your home town, pulling up a chair, telling the story of the ride of the week, and the plans start for next weekend.   Just remember it doesn’t matter the amount of blood left behind or how much vet wrap it takes to seal it all back up. Rub some dirt on it, and get back out and ride.  

Pour another cup…I’ll see you on the trail.

Andy

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A Family or ….Two

We all have a family, whether we want to claim them or not is another issue. Your family starts with a biological set of parents, does it? Life starts with a set of biological parents a family starts with love!!! I was asked the other day does your whole family pack? (Which is a commonly asked question.) Then later that day I went to a very dear friend’s birthday party. Bud was celebrating his 74th trip around the sun. I pack with Bud every chance I get. I help Bud put up his hay, work around his place, care for his animals and he does the same for me, like family would. At some point during the celebration my son in law, calls everyone together and makes a toast. As he held his glass up and said a few very fitting words, he included thoughts and words about packing, friendship, and family. The next morning I was having coffee. I then phoned the gentlemen back who asked me just the day before, if my family packed. I asked him which family was he referring too?? The folks who raised me, the kids I raised, the wife I love and share all the joys and tears of life with? Or was he asking about my packing family…The handful of friends you share the campfire with on a cold rainy night. The one you risk your life with untangling a string of mules on a rocky cliff edge. The ones you ride out with in the dark so you can make it back to the family at home that has been feeding the animals and keeping life running normal at the ranch while keeping dinner warm until you safely arrive back home. As I poured another cup, I heard him say…So, you really have one big happy family and some do pack….I said “Yes, I do!!” Family doesn’t mean blood it means love.
See you on the trail.
Andy

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Tradition

First, it was the outfitters stopping by the store, stocking up on gear, to fulfill the dreams of the out of state hunters headed into the back country for that bucket list adventure; hoping to fill that high-priced tag with a big bull elk. Then came the bow hunters buying a new padded bow scabbard to protect their weapon of choice for filling their own freezer full of elk steaks. Finally, the rifle hunters, they are a hardy breed, big camps, wall tents, wood stoves, all the comforts of home piled on the long string of mule headed far into the outer reaches of the wilderness. They don’t care about the weather, or the depth of the snow, because they are prepared for whatever Mother nature throws their way!!!  They have all stopped by Trailhead Supply and shared stories of seasons past over a cup of coffee. Even the worst trips have a happy ending with enough coffee. As I talk with everyone, as they are picking up new tack, replacing that well-worn tack, that has seen better days, but has experience trips most of us have only dreamed about, one thing stands out. Everyone has traditions at hunting camp. These traditions run the gamut from food to camp placement. Even those that attend the sacred week in the hills becomes part of the tradition, and when one of those long-time hunting partners passes away it creates a void that’s hard to fill. Because its normally the camp cook and the rest of the gang is at a loss of what they are going to eat and everyone is scrambling on recreating the menu they have eaten for the last thirty years…Then there is the new guys, the first time to camp guys. They are easy to pick out first off, they brought the wrong type of adult beverage, and the rest of camp is complaining about that flavor regardless if they drink it or not.  But one thing is for sure, no matter how good or how bad the coffee is, no one complains as long as it’s hot and there are enough cups for everyone. 

Good luck to all the hunters out in the field this season. Get out make some good memories that will last a life time, those memories are the ones that becomes traditions and those are the traditions that will outlive you!!! 

No, I haven’t been out yet. It’s not -17 and the snow isn’t nearly deep enough to really complain yet…Be safe out there!!!

See you on the trail.

Andy

Remember to email us a picture of you hunt we would love to display your adventure at Trailhead Supply. 

info@trailheadsupply.com

Andy is second from the left, circa early 1990s.

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Road Trip!

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.

Andy

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The New Kid

Well I did it, as most of you already know if you follow Trailhead Supply on some sort of social media… I bought another mule. I had a good feeling about her, I trust the gentlemen I buy most of my mules from. Yet she’s young, but she’s big, and going to get bigger. She’s goofy at times although she is very calm and gentle. She is broke to drive, If I had a buggy that would be great but I’m a packer, I pack.  She has never been shod, I’ll let you know how that goes since Kate has an appointment with the farrier Thursday morning. She has never been in the mountains, yet that will change in a hurry, she came up from Arkansas. Best of all she is even the right color, Black!!! Despite all the great qualities, the breeding, the training, why was I still nervous at the trailhead?  I’ve done this thousands of times. As the sun was beginning to rise over the Great Bear Wilderness, I had and extra cup of coffee then another. Chuck said “Are you going to saddle?” “One more cup,” I said. Was it she was just to perfect? Am I getting to old to play tug a war with a 3 ½ year old?  Or maybe, just maybe, the coffee was just so damn good I needed an excuse to have another cup. I walked over to my new friend, Kate, looked her in those big gentle eyes and said I don’t put up with any shit on the trail.  I then placed the pad gently on her back, she just stood there. I stretched out my rebuilt shoulder and then swung that decker pack saddle up on her back, she stood there. I cinched it down, adjusted the breeching, and then the breast collar, and yep, she just stood there.  Chuck peeked around the back corner of the trailer and said “I don’t think you needed that last cup of coffee since your pep talk is working so well.”   I tied the string together walked them in a circle put my boot in the stirrup and swung into the saddle and said come on kids lets go.  We started up the first set of switch backs, Chuck looked down at me and before he could say a word I said “It’s going to be a great day…”  Get out there and build some trust with your stock even if it’s over a cup of coffee, watching the sunrise, you’ll be glad you did.

See you on the trail.

Andy

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