Traversing a hazardous, hillside trail can be dangerous, and outdoorsmen Cade Cole and Jordan Jonas quickly found that out this past weekend.
Cole and Jonas were working their way along the Selway-Bitterroot wilderness trail with three of their horses on the border between Montana and Idaho when they came upon a washout. They were attempting to figure out next steps to move ahead when their pack horse in the rear made an ill-fated step trying to get grass to snack on, sending itself and the other two horses down the steep incline.
All of the horses and all of their gear went tumbling down the timbered hill, and Cole and Jonas thought that the steep fall might have been fatal for at least one of their mares. The two men have had plenty of experience in horse-packing, but had never gone through an accident like this one (not even when they were on the survival reality TV show Alone).
Jonas described his initial reaction to the shocking events as:
“What an insane horse wreck! The horse in training flipped out as we tried to skirt up and around a washout in the trail and ended up taking out these two others as they tumbled head over hoof 80 feet down the mountain. My jaw dropped as I watched the chaos unfold.”
The two men started working their way down to their horses who had fallen a far ways down the hill. They were worried what they would see once they got down to their mares, especially considering that the animals were loaded down with all of their gear and cooking equipment.
Cole told Outdoor Life:
“It looked really bad. My first thought was that I had a couple dead horses. It was tough for me because (those horses) are like family. We work together, we live together, we do everything together. So I was really stressed out. But then everyone was okay. We had an angel on our shoulder.”
Jonas confirmed that they got lucky with their horses, and pointed out that the one that started the whole thing ended up at the bottom of the hill snacking on grass as it originally intended to at the top of the hill:
“Of course the horse that caused the problem landed at the bottom uninjured and immediately started eating grass. The other two took Cade Cole and I hours to get unstuck, down the mountain, and on their feet. Miraculously they all came out ok with just some bumps and bruises.”
Just watching the video of the aftermath, it’s almost hard to believe that all the horses made it out okay. You always hear about horses being incredibly fragile animals, but these that were traveling with Cole and Jonas must have been “built different.”
The poor things were stuck on the hillside, with the white horse named Pearl apparently having a very close brush with death and luckily being saved by a fortunate shift in the saddle that was attached to it:
“I’m still in shock they are alive and okay, The white one on the root ball was saved from being skewered only by the corner of her saddle blanket that had rolled under her belly during the fall. Anyway, everyone made it back on the trail after some hard work and all is well! I can confirm, Cade is the real deal cowboy.”
The video below shows the grueling process that Cole and Jonas had to partake in to save their horses and get them back on their feet.
As they work to free up their horses, they have the song “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson overlayed, which happens to be right up Whiskey Riff’s alley.