Then we had to learn to pack loads on the horses, which was no easy task. The pack saddles have to be cinched on just right, neither too loose nor too tight, and since the horses swell out their bellies as soon as a saddle touches their backs, this was a challenge. Then the load has to be balanced before being covered with a tarp. The last step is tying the diamond hitch that holds the whole thing together.
At first, our dream of a wild ride in the mountains was more like a nightmare. The horses would break loose, and, badly loaded, would strew equipment over miles and miles of rugged landscape. They got sores, which meant that we had to walk for days without once getting into the saddle. And to top it all, we went for a week without catching a fish or shooting a bird to eat.
After a hundred miles, though, we were broken to the trail and by the time we met up again with Bayard Fox, six hundred miles on, we were pleased to hear him sing out, “Well done, men! You are the best packers!”