Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File Photo)

Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File Photo)

RANCH MUSINGS: Visit to Kluskus (Lhoosk’us):Part 2

As dark descended on this five-horse outfit, we found a place to camp

For those who missed my introduction to this story last week, we had been several days getting our outfit to the trailhead. We had a small pickup which towed the wagon from home and the stock truck with five horses on board.

Part of the holiday aspect of this working holiday was for the kids to be able to ride along on their three horses while the main team of work horses were to pull the wagon.

Now not every farm wagon tows easily, so we borrowed a homebuilt wagon from a neighbour who also worked with heavy horses. Chief Roger Jimmy of Kluskus had advised that we take a “farm wagon.”

That was good advice, but getting the wagon the 125 miles to the trailhead was important and this borrowed wagon was road worthy on the highway — or so we thought. It was not to make the trip without a couple of breakdowns (busts).

We mounted an old car seat on the front of the deck of this homebuilt hay wagon for comfort of the driver and the main cook (my partner) and “to be beneficiary” of this holiday. The trail was narrower than I had imagined and full of tight curves, making it necessary to trim the deck of the wagon with the chainsaw to make it around some corners.

The tall ends of a hay wagon tilt a long way when the wagon is on a slope. I must reiterate that this was a wagon built for highway travel and field work, not traversing the rugged pine forest and swampy valleys.

Chief Jimmy thanked me for marking all the rocks (with the steel undercarriage and axles) that would need to be taken out with a backhoe to make the wagon road to his community more friendly to whatever equipment and vehicles were to be used for provisioning the community rebuild and to improve the comfort of travelers on a daily and weekly basis.

READ MORE: Kluskus (Lhoosk’us) or bust: a working holiday (Part 1)

Once the truck was fitted with a “newer” engine we continued by road from Quesnel to Mountain house some distance past Nazko.

Off-loading gear from the highway outfit onto the horse outfit took us to near the end of the day but with summer daylight, it was possible for us to at least get a start. One knows the saying about starting on this kind of adventure that says if you only go a few miles at least you have a start and are proofing your outfit for the rest of the trip.

To the chagrin of the cook (and mother of our children), we had a delay back in Quesnel when our guide asked how many guns we had, since it was the time of year the Grizzlies would be fishing for Spring salmon in the creeks and small rivers we would be following and crossing. My one gun was not enough. In an emergency there is always the risk of a gun jamming.

As it turned out, we were not to let the children or women, walk off alone into the woods for any reason.

As dark descended on this five-horse outfit, we found a place to camp. One problem we faced was the lack of grass under the higher elevation pine forest. We knew enough have a few hay bales for the horses.

Unfortunately, a new (warm) sleeplng bag was lost out of the wagon back before we got to the trailhead at Mountain House. This was for the comfort of the cook who was to be on “holiday” too.

It did not help that comfort when we discovered that the air mattress for this same comfort had a leak in it. So what is wrong with smelly, sweaty saddle blankets for a mattress along with a little hay. We set up camp in the rain which was nearly snow.

Cheekily, I had asked my partner, the cook, whether she might not rather have been on a trip to Hawaii. As we will see next week the generosity, the welcome and the hosting of our outfit on this visit to Kluskus country became entirely rewarding.

David Zirnhelt is a rancher and member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association. He is also chair of the Advisory Committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program at TRU.

Do you have a comment about this story? email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CaribooWilliams Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson told city council Tuesday, Jan. 19, there have been no further cases of COVID-19 amongst the staff at Cariboo Memorial Hospital than the 10 nurses and two doctors who are off work.  (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Cariboo Chilcotin MLA expects health authority to declare COVID-19 cluster for region

Lorne Doerkson updates Williams Lake city council at committee of the whole meeting

(Tribune file photo)
Marie Sharpe and Nesika elementary latest schools to have COVID-19 exposures

School District 27 superintendent acknowledges hard work of Interior Health staff

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb gives a COVID-19 update through a Facebook post Tuesday, Jan. 19. (Facebook image)
Williams Lake mayor urges residents to follow protocols as city awaits COVID-19 numbers

Isolation ‘means not leaving your home or other accommodations’: Mayor Walt Cobb

Williams Lake is beginning to freeze over and with temperatures expected to remain below zero beginning Tuesday evening the ice may get thick enough for residents to recreate. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake could freeze enough for outdoor recreation activities

Overnight lows anticipated to dip below -13C beginning Wednesday

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

Most Read