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Horse Packer Phil Dawson's Journey
Phil Dawson set a goal to ride a huge loop through six western states on a two-thousand mile pack trip. His long journey broke a hundred year old record for miles packed with a horse and mule. Dawson is an Idaho horse trainer who rides to raise awareness and funds for kids who need organ transplants.
"People have asked me what are you doing? Well, along with setting a hundred-year pack record and raising money for organ transplant children, the most important part, we all build an epitaph and I guess this is mine, being able to help children, their families. I get to ride and I get to do it for kids. You can't have, in my perspective, a better life."
Dawson started his trip in Hagerman Idaho and headed southwest through long stretches of Idaho and Oregon desert country. He eventually passed through a corner of California before heading back east. From Lewiston Idaho he climbed through the Bitterroot Mountains and crossed into Montana. He then rode through the Salmon River and Wood River Valleys and eventually emerged from the mountains in the Snake River Country on his way back to his home in Hagerman.
"It took me places you never thought you'd go. I'm thankful. I loved doing it. I have seen a lot. It's changed my life. It has given me insight, insight that you just wouldn't get any other way. Being able to go out, start on a journey as long as I've been out and make it happen. You've got to love it. I didn't realize when I left how difficult it would be. I was able to do it. It feels pretty good."