The Kennelly Creek weekend project scheduled for September 18 is generally a popular and well attended project.  This weekend for various reasons it was not!  Rob Adams plus three other members signed up for the project.  On Thursday one dropped out and one said that they would be coming up early Saturday morning.  On Friday, I packed up my trailer loaded, the newly prepped saws and gear and around noon headed up 55 towards Donnelly, ID.  I turned on to Paddy Flat road and when the surface changed from paved to gravel, stopped and put my truck in low range 4-wheel drive for the climb up to Paddy Flat summit.  Paddy Flat road is a good US forest service type road that winds along hill sides with the first section on private land holding that has had some logging or thinning this summer.  There are some very narrow spots but there are generally good places to pass along the road if you go slow and watch for oncoming traffic.  Wood gathering and hunting are both going on this time of year, to there is more traffic than is typical on a week day.  The drive into the trail head is 13 miles and at mile 7, I came around a blind corner and saw a small SUV pulling a heavily loaded single axel trailer up the middle of the road towards me.  What I expected to happen was he would pull over against the hill side and we would sneak past each other and continue on our way.  What happen is he did move over a bit and I got my trailer straight behind the truck as far over as I felt safe.  Watching the mirror it looked like we might make it.  At the last minute he slammed on his brakes and I tried to get my rig stopped before we hit.  I was about a foot long, folding his trailer fender up, cutting gashes in both his and my trailer tires.

We had him back up a bit and I could get by and then we surveyed the situation and started working on his trailer first.

His tire needed to be changed which required jacking up his trailer, His jack would not do the job, but I had stuff to help get that done, once the tire was off, it became clear that the front mount on the axel spring had broken so it was likely that the axel could fold up under the trailer.  We rigged a chain to hold it in place, used a big hammer to get the fender out of the way and installed a spare that he hoped would get him to McCall.  He promised to go really slow and I know for a fact he made it into town.  I took my spare off the front of the trailer and swapped out the wrecked one and 30 minutes later was at the camp ground.

I was the only one there, a surprise, it being a Friday afternoon.  At 18:30 I grilled a pork chop and by 21:00 it was getting dark and cool, so said good night to the stock and crawled in by bag to read a book before going to sleep.  Around 21:30 two pickup came into the camp ground and set up tents, but none with horse trailer.

At 07:30 on Saturday I got up, fed the stock, made some breakfast and then packed up my camping stuff as I planned to head home at the end of the day as a front was expected.  By 09:30 I was all saddle and had the equipment packed on my mare and happened to look down at the tire next to where Payette was tied.  It was nice and round on top and totally flat on the bottom.  $H!T!!!, every back country horsemen nightmare is two trailer flats on the same trip!.  I knew it was ok on Friday, but assumed it was also damaged by the fender-bender.

On to plan “B”,  I un-saddled the stock and put them back on the high-line with some more certified hay so they were happy but confused.  Disconnected the truck and headed with the slashed tired to McCall with hopes of getting a new one mounted.  Les Schwab had what I needed and had one mounted and balanced in about 30 minutes and it was back to the trail head.  Still no other horse trailers.  I pulled the second flat to find a big screw in it so it had nothing to do with the fender-bender.  Got the new one mounted and then drove out of the trail head had very carefully making sure I could see and could get pulled over if necessary as I passed a number of hunters on 4-wheeler, side-by-sides and trucks.  Getting backed to the paved road was a great relief.

Summary of weekend, No trees cut, No brush removed, No nice ride in the mountains.  One great pork chop dinner at a very pretty trail head, minor damage to my trailer fender and two very pricey new trailer tires and a new rim so I can carry two spares going forward.  Not the best way to end what had been a very successful BCHI season.  I do wonder what happened to the other two guys, maybe they have similar story’s.