To all you enterprising young men…
This is a preliminary call for riders for the expedition to the Western National Rendezvous next year in Creede, CO. I have spoken to some of you about this already so you know roughly what is going on.
The ride will hopefully (Still finalizing and getting through the red tape) start at The Martinez Hacienda outside of Taos , NM . From there we will ride west to the Carson National Forest and then North to the Rio Grande National Forest and into Creede.
I’m am still fine tuning the route, I’ll get you a copy of the maps when I’m finished with it. But the basics of the route I plan on taking is from Martinez Hacienda west either N or S around the Taos Indian Reservation( or possibly through it) crossing one of the two bridges(the south bridge has less traffic) over the gorge into Carson Nat’l Forest and riding N through Carson into the Rio Grande Nat’l Forest up through the South San Juan Wilderness area, following the Conejos River, over Stunner Pass just north of Platoro and then cutting back west on Park Creek and Beaver Creek towards South Fork and then heading NW towards Wagon Wheel Gap along the Rio Grande or maybe across Elk Mtn(if it is low enough to pass) and dropping down into Creede. The rendezvous site is sort of in the middle of the triangular area of Spar City , Creede, and Wagon Wheel Gap a couple of miles south of Marshall Park. I’ve backpacked all through that country and don’t think that it will be too rough following the east side of the San Juans. All those places mentioned above should be on most NM and CO highway maps. And we will be in national forest for nearly the whole ride crossing only a few(maybe 5, and only crossing not riding along) paved roads. If things don’t work out with the Hacienda, I am looking for an alternate start point in Carson Nat’l Forest,maybe somewhere around Madera . I’d like to start somewhere with historical significance but if we have to travel too long in populated areas or if it is just too difficult I will settle for just starting at one of the Nat’l Forest horse camps.
Look the maps over and let me know of any comments you may have.
I will send hwy and NPS map copies out to those who have a serious interest.
The ride is roughly 180 miles by highway, so I am estimating that the actual ride length as a crow flies will be between 150 and 170 miles. If we stay on schedule, don’t get lost or fearsome confused, and stick to trying to make 20-25 miles a day we can do it in around 7 days, I am planning on 8-10 to be safe. The rendezvous is July 10-18, you can find info about at
http://www.rockymnt natlrendz. com/rendezvous2006.html
I was at this vous the last time it was in Creede in 2006, it is the best event I have ever been to, as well as the best site I have ever been to. The way the camp is set up provides natural barriers between long term, short term, and the parking lot so that if you are in long term camp you never see anything modern other than one barb wire fence unless you go to the short term camp or parking lot. No roads, power lines, nothing. And the head waters of the Rio Grande cut through long term camp and there is fairly decent fishing on site. If you don’t go on the ride go to the rendezvous, I promise you will not be disappointed.
Horses have been the main set back so far, there are some of us who will be bringing personal mounts, but some of us, including me who will be traveling a long distance and will not easily or cheaply be able to do so, and I don’t suggest anyone from the flats bring their horses anyway as horses from the flats do not know how to behave and react in the Rockies. I am working on finding an outfitter to rent horses from and plan on having something definite by the end of January. I have a very positive lead that I will be checking into this week. Renting horses is going to cost between $500 and $800 for the ride, which will include delivery to the start point and pick up from the end point. I have also been offered use of horses from some friends however the number of those horses available are limited.
This ride WILL BE PRE 1840, so if you want to go make sure that your gear is appropriate, I will be providing a check list of gear you need to have for both you and your horse in the next round of information. If you would like to have any input in that list I’d be happy to have the help so speak up or forever hold your peace. I’m sure most of you currently have the gear that you need, but be prepared to purchase some items if you do not. This is not solely a mountain man ride, I’m not requiring anybody to be dressed in leathers, any clothing that is period will be allowed. There will also be some items that I don’t mind if you have but would rather you leave at home so we don’t have multiples. It will be COLD, not too cold but cold none the less, typical weather for that time of year is 30s and 40s at night and 70s in the day. Weather can be VERY unpredictable in the Rockies . We should be riding during the Monsoon season so once we hit the higher elevations it will rain most likely every day, but monsoon rains usually only last 30-90 minutes. And it is likely that we may catch some sleet, hail, or a small snow flurry. Guns and live ammunition are allowed in NP so we will carry them. You are all experienced and know what you can take and how much, so use your common sense.
There will be some gear that I will be providing for the ride out of my own pocket such as a shovel, axe, and I’d like to have a rain fly for every 3 men to use as a lean-to shelter. I will also be bringing my cell phone and a GPS just as a safety precaution as well as a modern pistol and I will allow two others to carry modern firearms. Anyone who would like to bring their phone do so, but they will not be allowed out of your saddle bags while riding, unless it is an emergency. Once we stop and make camp for the day, and only after we stop and make camp and your horse has been attended to may you go outside of camp and use your phone, unless as mentioned before it is an emergency. Cameras will be allowed anytime during the ride. And I suggest that everyone bring appropriate paper, journal, and pen or pencil so that you can record the trip as it progresses.
I would like to purchase all the food for the ride in one set so that there is no chance that someone forgets it or doesn’t have enough, or has something inappropriate. For now I have pinole, jerked meat (dog and mule ), rice, and some flour on the menu. I also expect to do some scavenging while on the trail. There will also probably be some hard tack in there somewhere. If you have any suggestions on food let me know. There will, hopefully, be a designated quarter master for the trip, he and I will gather and prepare staples. You will most likely have to provide you own bags for storing the food that we can’t get on the pack animal. I will let you know how many and what size bags you will need. Material and construction of the bags is optional, you can make them or buy them.
There will be a command structure for this ride, most of the positions will be voluntary and some not. I would like to have a quarter master, two captains, Booshway and Segundo. I will be in charge and the Booshway my Segundo will be the most experienced rider in the group which I will determine based on the qualities and experience of the participating riders. Whatever the Booshway or Segundo says goes during the ride, but there will be plenty of opportunity for input from everyone. In matters of safety, route, and travel the Booshway and Segundo will have final say, allowing for input from the brigade, but I WILL EXPECT everyone to respect the Booshway’s and Segundo’s decisions.
I would like to start the ride on July 3rd, camping at the Martinez Hacienda on the 2nd, and leaving at first light the next morning, so that we should arrive at the rendezvous one day on the first weekend.
I will be heading up to New Mexico and Colorado in early June to make preparations. I will also be going to the rendezvous site before the ride and setting up camps for all of us going on the ride. I will be bringing a wall tent and large pyramid tent. If you want to sleep out under the stars at the event that is fine, I will probably be staying in digger camp. However, we will have a place to go and stash gear if the weather turns bad, which at the last one there was some rain. If you would like for me to haul any gear that you would like to have at the vous but can’t take on the ride let me know and I will make arrangements to get it and take it up there with my gear and the camp.
You are welcome to stay at the rendezvous for as long as you like, I will be staying for the duration of the event, but I know many of you will not be able to stay as long so you decide on your departure dates. And keep in mind that there will be a registration fee for the rendezvous which can be found at the website listed above and I suggest you pre-register.
If you are interested in participating in this ride please contact me asap. There will be a limited number of slots, 8-10 riders max; I will open two alternate spots in case someone has to back out at the last minute. Do not be discouraged if you are not selected to go, as formerly mentioned there are a limited number of slots because of NPS regulations and any more than ten riders will be a handful. However, I plan on repeating variations of this ride in the future as I’ve heard that the Rendezvous will probably be cycling to Creede every two years so you can plan on the next one. There will be a deposit required for the food and horses that will be rented in the future so be prepared. Just to throw some tentative dates out, I would like to have all money in for food by April 15th and the horses deposit will probably be needed around mid March or mid April. Money for your part of the food will need to be paid in full by April 15th and the food is not going to be expensive. For the horses I will try to arrange a deposit of half in March or April and half when the horses are delivered to the start point. These dates are tentative and I will work with people on the money side, this is just an idea so that if you want to go you can be financially prepared. And remember these will be in addition to your travel expenses to and from, I suggest carpooling with other riders if possible.
I will have the next round of information on the ride, cost, required items, and checklist sent out by the end of January to mid February.
Feel free to pass this along.
Thanks and I look forward to riding with you,
empresariotomlin @ yahoo.com