Ok folks, here it is! My tentative route. Starting in Delta, UT, moving through Southern Colorado and on to Kansas. Across there to either Missouri or Arkansas. At this point, Missouri is winning out over Arkansas due to the Mississippi River. I've found a Ferry crossing between Missouri and Kentucky, however if that doesn't work out then I believe it's going to either be hauling or police escort across the bridge. I won't know anything definite until I get to that point on the trail.
I'm calling this a tentative route simply because I'm not actually riding it at the moment. Anything can change while you're out there and even though I can be as ready for anything beforehand, it doesn't mean that that it's written in stone. I enjoy the detail part of the planning, although I have to say it is a bit fairy-tale-ish. Getting carried away in a wisp of dreamy trail riding, oh the adventures to be taken! The reality of it is, it's going to be a long, hard ride with many twists and turns along the way, and hopefully more enjoyable than dull. Then again... seeing the vast country side of all types of terrain that God created and man "manicured" will be so awesome. As well as meeting folks along the way.
While I take a long break from the routing, mostly because my brain and eyes can't take anymore right now, I'm going to concentrate on my lists. Lists of things to take. I am hoping by blogging about them, it will be much easier to sort them out rather than have 90 pages of paper with a bunch of scratched out lines on it. lol
Lists are an important part of any trip planning. They help you to remember the things you might otherwise forget, like your toothbrush.
I'm hoping to keep my lists to 2. One for the horses and one for the humans and divided into groups like bathroom items, sleeping and clothes. It sounds pretty simple right now, but I haven't even begun to delve into this. One thing I have to bear in mind is weight.
Keeping the weight down for both pack and ride horse is vital to the survival of the whole thing. If you put too much on your pack horse, it will wear them out and cause all kinds of problems especially on narrow winding trails. Dead weight is harder to carry than a rider. If your pack horse is worn out, you'll be laid up for a few days for them to recover so you can switch them from pack to ride. The same is true for your riding horse.
A list, or several smaller ones, will help keep those weights in check. It's also a good idea if you are planning a trip on horseback to make a list and include your saddle, bridle, saddle pad and saddlebags, water holders, etc. One of the best ways to find out how much something weighs is to find a local truck scale, or livestock scale. You can weigh your saddle, bridle, pads and bags all at one time, as well as items you're taking. Weigh your pack saddles and equipment by themselves, then add what you're taking with you and weigh it again. You can even weigh your horse to get an exact weight on them. I'd like to mention also that along the trip, your packs will lighten, and you and your horses will lose weight. You'll have to re-adjust your packs every time you break camp. Practicing this before you're out on the trail will help you determine if your packs are evenly weighted or not. Uneven pack saddles means slippage to one side or the other and that's a wreck waiting to happen.
This is a tentative list for the horses:
I have to decide on shoeing or taking boots or some type of glue on shoe. Which would be easier to deal with and which would be lighter in the long run? Let's consider this a moment.... Shoes are heavy, but they'll last a while unless one gets thrown. I could either take a few shoes, nails, hammer, nail clincher and rasp. or try to find a good local farrier in the nearest town. Finding a farrier would be my choice, simply because of weight. I may end up carrying a small rasp to keep the feet from overgrowing the shoes too much. Then there is the issue of boots. 4 horses means 16 boots plus an extra 1 or 2 in case one gets lost. Glue on shoes would be the same except I'd have to carry extra boots and adhesive. Going all barefoot is just not going to be an option. Even though the wild horses go their entire lives without shoes and have excellent feet, the different terrain, pavement and riding will wear their feet down to nothing in about 250-300 miles. No hoof, no horse.
So as I do some more research on shoes and boots, I'll begin to compile my lists and share them here. Maybe they'll be helpful for you if you decide to take an extended trail ride somewhere. :)
Thank you for checking out my blogs and following along on my dream ride. I appreciate all votes, comments, suggestions and ideas.