The Jump Creek 10

It turned out to be a beautiful day for the chapter’s fun ride in Owyhee’s Jump Creek Canyon.  Ten members of the Back Country Horseman of Idaho met at the trailhead ready to ride by 11:00 AM.

  My old, brittle pair of roping reins I won at an auction had finally given up the ghost and broke in two. Roger lent me a nice pair of marine-rope reins he had made and offered to repair my old set. I declined the repair offer – the reins were not worth fixing.

 Janine noticed I had acquired a rather annoying cough. Concerned for my health, she poured me a shot …I mean a measure of spirits she concocted; strictly for medicinal purposes, of course. Who am I to question?  Janine, after-all, is a medical professional! For fear my “cough” could be contracted by others in the group –Janine passed the bottle amongst those concerned for their health as well.

 Rob brought rides for Heather and Caius. Heather rode Willow and Caius rode Kestrel, a tough little mustang that could almost walk out from under Caius’s long legs. Rob rode his colt, Payette. Rob was NOT wearing his bright, lime-green jacket this trip. I sort of missed staring at the back of that eye-popping jacket. Roger rode a nicely put together bay gelding. Janine rode her big paint Two-Ton. The Chicks, Lorraine and Chuck, each rode flea-bitten Arabian’s. I rode my quarter-horse buckskin colt, Jack, and towed Annie, my mule. Shade followed along chasing ground squirrels and jack-rabbits.


As such, the group of 10 riders, 9 horses and 2 mules set out for a fun ride in the sun and sand. Janine and I had scouted the area a couple weekends before. Without a definite destination in mind, we turned south west on an old ATV trail we thought might lead to Sands Basin. The road traverses up and down fairly steep, rolling hills – leveling out on large, flat plains overlooking scenic rock formations, sage and sand.

  A little past mid-day, the group broke for lunch atop a ridge overlooking Jump Creek Canyon. You could scarcely make out a strip of creek winding through a narrow section of the canyon below. The four legged’s also took advantage of the well earned rest and grazed contently alongside their two legged counterparts.


  After lunch, riders took to the trail on rested mounts. We met up with a couple of hikers who were also enjoying a day in the sun. The hikers pointed to their truck perched atop a high bluff overlooking the canyon, a half mile away. The road leading to the truck dead-ended for motor traffic, but Janine and I knew from our previous visit that a foot trail veered off to the left and led back to our trailers. We opted not to continue on the road believed to be the route to Sands Basin. This was the first real ride for many of the horses since last fall and we did not want to over-stress them.

  Along the way, we picked up what little trash was found on the ride back to the trailers. I have an unwritten rule I have lived by since I was old enough to venture into the wilds alone, this I learned from my dad: “Always leave the area cleaner than you found it.” This usually means packing out more trash than I carry in.

  ChickBack at the trailers, Janine discovered a broken taillight on her trailer. Chick, aka Mr. Boy Scout – carry everything but the kitchen sink in his front pockets, just happened to have a spare tail light that fit. He assured us he carried the spare part in his tack room- not in his front pocket.

I reluctantly returned the borrowed reins with promise that Roger would make me a set. The group quickly un-tacked and funneled their way out of the large, graveled Jump Creek parking lot toward home. That is, all except Janine and I. Our weekend adventure was just getting started.

 As I bade farewell to the others, I could not help reflect on the day and notice how not one person let out so much as a single cough the entire ride.

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  1. Janine Townsend

    “flea-bitten arabians”?????? OMG. Mr. Chick will probably want his tail light back again! (I thought sure I saw him rummaging around in his pockets, too, to come up with that light)

    Hey Roger—MY reins are broken too!

  2. Laurie Bryan

    “flea-bitten is a color, a type of speckled grey – at least that is what I always thought? Now you have me second quessing …lol

  3. So you left us hanging at the ” Our weekend was just getting started”…

    What is the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say?

  4. I am working on, “The rest of the story…”