Great Neighbors: Modern pioneers rough it on old trails
A group of energetic folks from Bingham County recently decided to ride some of the pioneer trails to give friends and family a taste of what immigrants experienced.
It took a lot of “Great Neighbors” to put this event together.
Imagine traveling from the East to the Blackfoot River by horseback with no satellite radio, air conditioning or fast food joints along the way – just the clip-clop of your horse's hooves to keep you company.
This was an experience one Bingham County commissioner wanted to make available to people.
"I just think there's kids or adults that would appreciate what the immigrant families did,” said Ladd Carter. “Just to have an opportunity for a small taste of trail life."
The riders spent three days together, getting feel for the way things were done 150 years ago. Some riders were feeling a little more than others.
“I've been thrown a few times, but this one today caught me sleeping,” said Boyd Gardner, 80.
Gardner got dumped when his horse spooked. He was pretty sure he broke two ribs.
“No big deal,” he said. “It feels better when it quits hurting."
A volunteer EMT on the ride tried to talk Gardner into going to the hospital. But that's not how it was done 150 years ago.
"We had a guy that went down, maybe has broken ribs, but he's cowboyed up,” said Bruce Lloyd.
Cowboyed up and then some. Gardner finished the ride.
"I got a strong heritage to live up to," he said. All part of that pioneer pride. "I've had a broken leg, new knee last fall, metal here, wire here, wire down here, metal in my lower back (and) three major surgeries in the last year."
Maybe it's time for this immigrant to give up the reins.
"If I would have got killed this morning, I would have been happy doing what I love to do,” he said.
Carter said Gardner did what any pioneer would have done. One hundred and fifty years ago, “they'd have patched him up and packed him on."
A lot of things have changed for the better since then – toilet facilities, for instance.
"They called and said they needed someone to bring Porta Potties, and I'm it,” said Lee Mangum. “One gal went in, and I didn't know and I started to drive away. She hasn't spoken to me yet."
The event had a lot of great volunteers, Great Neighbors and good cowboys with guts who will carry Idaho into the next 150 years.
If you have an idea for a Great Neighbor, email us at email@example.com.
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