H. Neal Glanville: The interior loop
May 30, 2011
Being paid to hunt, fish and ski while raising your kids, though a gift from the parenting big dog, was at times beyond worry.
When away on pack trips, we always tried to leave at least one wrangler at the lodge to feed and move horses from pasture to pasture.
The kids would often saddle up and help with each move.
Such was not the case the afternoon one of the Hanson brothers decided he and the head waitress could manage by themselves.
As if by pixie magic, 65 head of horses and mules disappeared as they "lunched" on a borrowed blanket.
Everyone left at the lodge saddled up and started searching for the wayward equines, everyone but the all-knowing, all-seeing triple alpha female, the boss's wife.
Recommended Stories For You
Her time was spent guessing which wild goose chase the remaining staff should head out on next.
Horses, though not the smartest creatures walking about, are fairly predictable in their home territory. After all, why run over hill and dale when an unused pasture is a mere quarter-mile away, just over a small knob from the lodge?
For two long days those poor kids searched, each time further from the lodge.
Panic was setting in, all the guides were due back, and our biggest trip of the summer was coming up.
Somebody called from town and said horses had been spotted on the Fall Creek Trail.
The triple alpha female was now a raving lunatic with cheerleader hair, nobody was doing anything right, and so by gosh she'd do it herself.
Not being quite "fit" enough to ride two or three hours through rough country, she decided she'd fly over the area and then send in the "troops."
Between Rock Springs and Jackson Hole, there was but one pilot who had flown our side of the Wind River Range, a half-crazed veteran the alpha female had spoken poorly of several years before.
Not thinking of her past comments, she called the airport.
I spoke with the pilot, my newest hero, a week later at the Corral Bar.
"Everything went pretty good," he said. "She had this map out, showing me where these horses were. I said 'OK' and we took off.
"As I banked away from the airport, she shoved the map over my shoulder."
He started to giggle.
"She'd marked some spot with her eye color stuff, yelling that's where her horses were. I gave her thumbs up just as we flew over the Stout's roof on Freeman Reservoir and dropped to three feet off the lake surface.
"She started screaming then, but I couldn't really hear what she was saying with all the engine noise."
I bought him another drink and he kept on with the story.
"I brought the plane up on its wing tip and pointed down where she should look. That's when she started throwing up. About halfway up the canyon, I leveled out and she stopped bringing her breakfast up.
I hadn't seen any horses, so I figured she hadn't. I pulled back on the stick, gave her (the plane) full throttle, went into an interior loop and flew upside down through that notch behind Soda Lake.
"I think after we touched down she remembered me," he concluded. "But if not, it's enough that I did."
Tim Brewer found the horses as he was bringing his trip back in.
The dudes thought it was fun rounding them up and driving them home.
Hey, you be careful out there, and stay to the light.