FROM: Sue Cauhape KI7CTT
Jeff Cauhape K7BCV, Sue Cauhape KI7CTT, Justin Nunn KI7CGJ, and Mary Nunn KI7CGI followed the Pony section that went from Cold Springs to Railroad Pass over Basque Summit of the Desatoya Range. Jeff was looking forward to not having to set up camp and a station on some blustery mountaintop. Justin and Mary wanted to learn what was involved in following the Pony so they could participate next year.
In this canyon, cell phone as well as radio signals are intermittent. We used the 147.345 repeater in Fallon (thank you Churchill Co. hams) and Simplex 146.550. Reception on both of those frequencies surprised us. We were able to reach Bob Nelson WA3PAD in his Austin Summit station easily … and loudly.
Because this section would run during the afternoon on one of the hottest days yet, Doug Jares assigned his riders to 1.5 mile legs. The support trailers would leapfrog ahead of them with fresh(er) horses at each transfer. This worked fine until the riders reached the old Pony Express station corral. This is where Alex and his little paint pony took over and rode the entire distance over the mountain to Smith Creek Ranch. Fifteen or so miles in all.
Most of the Montana gates at the cattle guards were open before he arrived. There was only one where he had to dismount to open and close it. Luckily, the open range cows and calves behaved themselves and stayed off the trail. At one point, both horse and rider paused to refresh where a stream cross the road. Alex paid more attention to dowsing his horse than himself, however. Sue kept saying to herself, “Use your bandana, Alex, that’s what it’s for.” He just kept dipping his hands in the water and patting his pony. Then they were off again over some of the rockiest footing on the track.
Just before arriving at the reservoir, the Pony past the encampment of a UNR nature exploration group. We waved and told them the rider was with the Pony Express. One woman chased after Alex for a quick photo or two. That’s when Sue felt very roud indeed to be supporting such an awe-inspiring undertakng.
Nevada riders and hams pushed the mail through with less than an hour loss in time. In fact, riders across the country did very well, with hardy an injury along the whole route. The Pony Express delivered the mochila to St. Joseph on June 30.
Sue Cauhape KI7CTT