Keno Access Road To Big Springs
Daniel with Krystal and Daisy
My friend, Marge, and I started planning a trip to pack with our donkeys on the PCT last winter. Marge has 4 donkeys and I have 6. Besides taking them in parades, shows, visiting schools and nursing homes, we also wanted to use them on the trail. We don't live very far from the PCT and decided to make our first couple of trips short day hikes.
So with maps, gear and donkeys in tow, we started our adventure at the Keno Access Road. We planned to hike to Dead Indian Road which was 9.1 miles away. We were joined on this first trip by Cheri, riding her horse and leading her donkey, and Cheri's daughter, Rachel riding her horse. Marge's 7 year old son, Daniel, also joined us.
Cheri ready to hit the trail.
Rachel was fun to have along with us.
Larry holding Biscuit just before we started.
Margie, Daniel and the girls set foot on the PCT.
Finally! We are ready for our great adventure!
I brought my standard jennet, Biscuit, for her second time out in the woods and her first time to carry a pack. We got started in the cool of the morning and were all thrilled when we made our first step onto this famous trail.
Our first couple of miles were through sections of pretty old growth forest and clearcut areas. We climbed 700' in the first 2.8 miles. Just off the trail we found a pond that had been dammed. We made the short trip to the pond and offered the animals a drink. Of course, donkeys being donkeys, they didn't want to get their feet wet in order to get to the water.
Krystal at pond
Biscuit at pond
We continued our hike for another 1/2 mile when Marge started feeling ill. She was sick to her stomach and feared she might pass out. Marge sat down on the trail and with coaxing from Cheri and I, she managed to drink some orange juice and a few chips. All kinds of thoughts were running through our heads. Here we had planned for this trip most of the winter and felt we would be able to hike in about 10 miles per day. Now, we were sitting by the trail and had only done 3 miles. There was no way that we could go on with Marge in the shape she was in.
The plan was for Cheri and her daughter to ride back to the trailers and load their animals up and then go and get Marge's husband who was waiting at the end on Dead Indian Road. So with heavy hearts Marge, Daniel and I walked the donkeys slowly back to the pond we had been at 1/2 mile back down the trail. We let the donkeys graze and made ourselves as comfortable as possible. By then, Marge felt better and we sat and talked about what had happened. We think that Marge was pushing herself too hard on the climb up. We also thought that we could still make this dream come true with a little more planning. Walking slower. Taking more breaks on uphill climbs and only going 5-7 miles per day.
Marge resting, at the pond, with Daisy.
Biscuit enjoying the grass.
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