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Thread: Packing My Ass

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    357

    Default Packing My Ass

    This is my little winter project. I bought a couple of standard burros that were rounded up near the Grand Canyon a few years back. I plan to use them as pack animals. I’ve been working with them on a regular basis. This afternoon I loaded up the panniers (3,500 cu inches each) with everything two guys would need for a multi-day trip to include a 12-man Kifaru tipi and a LG stove. Plus, I packed a few things I would not normally carry into the backcountry on my back like, waders, a camp chair, a cast iron skillet, a hammer, a hatchet, a solar shower, etc. Best of all...I still had room in the rear donkey's panniers for more creature comforts. I am going to make some top bags as well. I had 60 pounds on the front donkey and 40 on the back donkey. My goal is to not exceed 100 pounds each.

    Sawtooth and I have some big plans for this summer. I look forward to posting some pix of our adventures. We created a “bucket list” of blue lines and high mountain lakes we want to explore. Having the burros will offer up a whole new experience.

    What do you guys think of this idea?
    Attached Images Attached Images     
    "If you can't pack it out, don't kill it."

    Joe Back. Horses, Hitches and Rocky Trails

    http://www.originalatv.com/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    East Central IL
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    702

    Default

    I have thought about doing goats, specifically a dual purpose breed that makes a good milk goat. Protein, vitamins and a beast of burden!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Mohawk Valley
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    9,586

    Default Re: Packing My Ass

    We had a couple of burros when I was boy. I did some burro packing when I was at Philmont but could never use them at home since we had no trailer and the places we wanted to camp were too distant to walk to. They are good critters, smart and agile. They should be able to easily handle 100 lbs.

    I always had the idea of making a pannier with a drop-down side as a mini-chuck wagon - never did, though.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    357

    Default Re: Packing My Ass

    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph View Post
    We had a couple of burros when I was boy. I did some burro packing when I was at Philmont but could never use them at home since we had no trailer and the places we wanted to camp were too distant to walk to. They are good critters, smart and agile. They should be able to easily handle 100 lbs.

    I always had the idea of making a pannier with a drop-down side as a mini-chuck wagon - never did, though.
    I'm the adult crew leader for a Philmont trek this summer, can't wait! Apparently, the donkeys there are pretty stubborn. I grew up with horses and I know and understand them, I have a lot to learn about donkeys. I had some surgery a while back and falling off a horse isn't an option anymore. I figure I have a lot shorter distance to fall leading a couple of donkeys. Plus, I can stay in shape.

    These girls are sweet hearts! If nothing else they will be great hiking companions. Based on the standard 20% rule, they could safely carry around 150 pounds each. But, honestly, after being ultra-light my whole life I can't figure out what the heck I'd take to justify that much weight! :0) Hopefully, that weight differential will be taken up with de-boned elk meat.
    "If you can't pack it out, don't kill it."

    Joe Back. Horses, Hitches and Rocky Trails

    http://www.originalatv.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
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    Mohawk Valley
    Posts
    9,586

    Default Re: Packing My Ass

    In general, burros don't like being pulled but will follow you like puppies. If they really don't want to go someplace there is likely something that makes them nervous, loose rock, mud, something funny feeling about the ground. Some don't like crossing bridges, the hollow sound unsettles them. When packing, keeping the load balanced is more important than the weight, if it is too off-balance the burro will usually take a step and just stop, not to be budged until things are right.

    Burros are very bright. We had to install a special latch on the corral gate, the burros could manipulate standard latches with their lips and tongue that they can use almost like fingers. Babita, the oldest we had, would reach into my shirt pocket and take a single cigarette out of the pack (she liked them as a special treat) but would only take one. They can also untie a lot of knots using their teeth, tongue and lips - so be warned. If they do get loose they usually won't wander far, mostly its's because they spy some succulent munchie just out of reach.

    They can also be sneaky and puff their bellies when you are tightening the cinch then dump the load in some awkward place (like a stream). They can be a lot of fun.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Kathleen GA
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    2,720

    Default Re: Packing My Ass

    You know, I was sayin' to myself of late, "I see horses and mules of course, and Llamas, and now goats, but you never see the quintesential western pack animal, the donkey" They look awesome.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Default Re: Packing My Ass

    Quote Originally Posted by Take-a-knee View Post
    You know, I was sayin' to myself of late, "I see horses and mules of course, and Llamas, and now goats, but you never see the quintesential western pack animal, the donkey" They look awesome.

    Spot on. In reality most pioneers "led" donkeys, mules and horses into the Rockies. They couldn't afford to ride and give up that space to haul gear that might have helped them survive through the winter. I was hiking out of the back-county last Sep with 60+ pounds on my back and half a dozen folks passed me riding horses. As they observed me trudge down the mountain I must have looked pretty pitiful because they all made a point to tell me..."you need a horse". I was almost to the point if the next guy pointed out the obvious I was gonna get snarky! LOL! But, as the miles passed I got to thinking, maybe they have a point.

    Here's a neat pic of some guys hiking up Pike's Peak circa 1890...
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    Last edited by gonehuntn; 01-01-2013 at 09:16 PM.
    "If you can't pack it out, don't kill it."

    Joe Back. Horses, Hitches and Rocky Trails

    http://www.originalatv.com/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    7,311

    Default Re: Packing My Ass

    Quote Originally Posted by gonehuntn View Post
    What do you guys think of this idea?
    I think I'll be waiting by the mailbox for my engraved invitation.
    "Neither sport nor art should be unnecessarily cluttered and complicated."

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Wetside of WA
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Packing My Ass

    Those packers look awesome. Welcome to the world of packing with animals. I've been packing with llamas for years and really enjoy it. The comforts you can bring are amazing. I believe you'll be pleasantly surprised at how much more you enjoy the journey. Less putting the head down and pushing through the hard miles of up and down with heavy packs and more awareness and appreciation for your surroundings. Like you I am already planning for some high country trips next summer. Good luck with your animals.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    345

    Default Re: Packing My Ass

    Mate, that sounds very cool. I've never done anything like it & probably never will so really look forward to hearing your adventures.

    It wound certainly change the dynamics of a trip.

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