Journey America Part 3

The Cassiar Mountain Range

From Teslin we followed fields of bright pinkish-purple fireweed stretching up high enough to touch the bottom of my stirrups. The stunning Cassiar Mountain Range made the ride dangerous and strenuous as we fought our way up and down the next few days alongside the Rancheria River.

On this desolate 260 km stretch, we only found one corral for the horses to rest in—luckily it was six kilometers short of being exactly at the halfway point. Continental Divide is a lodge, campground, restaurant, mechanical shop and RV Park and it also has a corral for horses to rest in. A true miracle in the middle of the Yukon. 

“I want to buy this horse,” the tall, thin owner of the establishment said before I even dismounted Mac. 

“Sorry sir, but he’s not for sale,” I responded as I climbed down the 15-hand horse. 

With the horses resting comfortably in the spacious corral, too much hay in front of them, Clara and I went to eat some real food at the restaurant. 

“Sorry, we have no water in this building right now so the restaurant is closed,” a woman in her early 50’s said when we walked in. 

Feeling defeated we returned to the horses. We decided we would do the next best thing, shower. But when we went to try, there was water in that building, but no hot water. 

“I just want to curl up in a ball and die,” I said to Clara while we ate another plate of ramen noodles, dirty and tired. 

The following day we rested, I wrote blogs, Clara studied while the owner of Continental Divide continued to pester me about buying Mac.

“I will treat him very well here, he will be a king,” he said to me while we watched him graze.

I explained to him that, first of all I needed to ride Mac to Calgary, and secondly that he was not my horse. 

“He was lent to me by a fellow long rider who wants him back,” I explained much to his dismay. 

He finally settled for a photo sitting atop Mac. And when we went to pay for our time there he didn’t charge us anything. 

“You guys have a safe trip,” he offered. 

After a day resting we hit the road again—still dirty as the hot water never worked.  

On this stretch, the tiny annoying black flies became a big problem. They ate at the horses skin and ours all day, trying to feed on our blood. Humans and beasts were left with swollen wounds that were hard to believe came from such tiny insects. But we crossed the bridges, climbed the mountains, and survived the ruthless insects, finally arriving in Watson Lake alive and well.