The coffee pot

coffee pot

We’d packed up into Yellowstone, October 2010.
The rain changed into freezin’ snow, a test for mountain men.

So, we shoveled in our breakfast, bacon, eggs and fried-up spuds.
Then we had to get a movin’ or we’d freeze right in our duds.

We’d broken camp so many times we knew just what to do.
Started out by filling panniers with a sleeping bag or two.

We grained each pack horse, and we cinched a sawbuck on their back.
Then lifted up the panniers, hooked them on the sawbuck rack.

Each pannier had to weigh the same for balance on the horse.
If your load rolls underneath you’re dealing with a reckoning force.

We tarped the packs and tied them down with rope and baler twine.
We were pressed to hit the trail. No more usin’ borrowed time.

I climbed up on my saddle horse with lead rope in my grip.
My body felt the sudden pangs inflicted from this trip.

I checked about the camp. The coffee pot lay on the ground.
How did we miss a red tin can with white stuff all around?

So, we climbed back down then tied the pot up top the horse and pack,
with a handle that was clankin’ like a rowdy Cadillac.

We all knew better than to leave a noisy coffee pot
tied to a pack horse that would scare him crazy blowin’ snot.

We didn’t make it out of camp before Ol Pal went wild!
He started in a buckin’ like a spoiled, unruly child.

I dropped the pack horse lead rope, he had pulled away to buck.
He bumped the horse ahead of him. I hollered, “Stupid cluck!”

So that packhorse figured he would like to buck a time or two.
When he ran into his saddle horse who started buckin’ too!

I plumb lost track of all the horses buckin’ in the snow.
It sure weren’t like a rodeo, more like a horror show.

We calmed the buckin’ horses, but the coffee pot and gear
were strung from hell to breakfast, prob’ly tossed into next year.

I smashed the coffee pot ‘til it was flatter than a flitter.
I’d have skipped it cross the river but I didn’t want to litter.

So we stuffed then packed up panniers and my nerves were all but shot.
But the ride back home was peaceful with no clanking coffee pot.


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Bryce Angell’s father was an outfitter and guide for 35 years, and Bryce was there to shoe and care for the horses and help him do the cooking. Bryce is from Idaho and still rides into the Tetons, Yellowstone and surrounding areas. His poems are mostly of personal experience.



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