A packhorse refers to a horse used to carry goods on its back, usually in boxes or panniers. Typically packhorses are used to cross difficult terrain, where the absence of roads prevents the use of wheeled vehicles. It takes years of packing experience to master the diamond itch that is used to secure the loads on the pack horses. Good horsemanship and outfitting experience is required to accomplish these backcountry trips.
Loading of a packhorse requires care. Weight carried is the first factor to consider. The average horse can carry up to approximately 30% of its body weight. Due to the steep accent , we make along the Wabasso Pack Trail to access camp, we limit the weight per horse to about 150 lbs. A load carried by a packhorse also has to be balanced, with weight even on both sides to the greatest degree possible.
Skyline trail rides, a family run outfitting company , has been keeping the art of outfitting since 1991. This year will be our 30th year since we purchase the camp and first started packing to Shovel Pass Lodge.
Twice a week, all supplies and food are packed carefully in each pack box . Once we reach the trailhead, the horses are unloaded, packed and hit the trail.
It takes 4 hours for the horses to reach the lodge, climbing over 3000 ft of steep terrain , each carrying pack boxes weighing between 60-70 pounds each. All ingredients we use in our menu have been carefully chosen to fit the horse transport limitation (weight, size).
The Skyline Horses are very experienced and sure footed, you can thank them for carrying more than 200 dozen fresh eggs each summer.