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Unbranded talks with NickerNews, Part Six

Published: 9/4/2013
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Editor's Note: We spoke with Ben Masters on his way out of Bozeman, Montana. With 2,500 miles under their belts and about 500 miles to go, the end is in sight.

Read Part I
Read Part II
Read Part III
Read Part IV
Read Part V

NickerNews: How’s everyone's attitude?

Masters: Well, we’re ready to get there. But at the same time, we’d kinda like to keep going.

NickerNews: How have the last 10 days been (spent in deep backcountry in and around Yellowstone National Park)?

Masters:
We’ve been through some pretty remarkable country. Spanish Peaks in particular. But I’d say it’s been pretty uneventful. We've seen bighorn sheep, antelope, rattlesnakes, big black bears.

NickerNews: The horses must be in top form.

Masters: Yeah, they’re in marathon shape. It’s not a big deal at all for them to do a 3,000-foot climb and not even break into a sweat. Now we’re on pretty straight north-running trails. Four-wheel drive roads. We’ve been able to cover a lot of ground fast.

NickerNews: Are you doing 20 miles a day?

Masters: Lately, we’ve had some pretty easy terrain so we’ve been cranking out 25 miles or so.

NickerNews: You’re on familiar territory now. How does it feel, having traveled here previously on that long 2010 trek? [Masters rode with two friends on the Continental Divide from New Mexico through Montana.]

Masters: It’s a lot of déjà vu really. You go up over a hill, you see the next stretch of land or the next mountain range and it’s kinda nice know a little bit of what to expect, knowing where good grazing spots or good water is.
It makes it a lot easier.

NickerNews: Have things stayed the same?

Masters: Yeah for the most part. Except the last time, we were getting dumped on with rain. We have beautiful weather now, which is kind of a nice change.

NickerNews: Did you reach this area at the same time of year?

Masters: No, we’re approximately two weeks later last time.

NickerNews: Did you hear about the kidnapper and the multi-state manhunt? [A California man kidnapped a 16-year old girl and headed into the Idaho wilderness, about 200 miles from the Unbranded team. Read more.]

Masters: No, I hadn’t heard. But Jonny [Fitzsimons, who heads to Officer Candidate School for the Marines this fall] would have saved the girl. For sure.


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"In the language of the range, to say that somebody is "as smart as a cutting horse" is to say that he is smarter than a Philadelphia lawyer,smarter than a steel trap, smarter than a coyote, smarter than a Harvard graduate - all combined. There just can't be anything smarter than a smart cutting horse. He can do everything but talk Meskin - and he understands that." - Joe M. Evans, A Corral Full of Stories