The Packer

I received a call a few weeks back that my uncle, the last one left on my mama’s side, had passed away.

We all hope we leave a legacy when we’re gone or at least make an impression to those left to carry on the torch that we lit along the way. Well I’m here to tell you his ways and methods live on in all those who love the great outdoors.

He was a man born a 100 years too late. A man who loved the Gila Wilderness, his mules and dogs. A man who taught me what a hitch was and how to tie a diamond and double diamond,. I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to learn how to pack and to guide hunters by a man who knew the Gila better than any map that was ever drawn. The trails we rode, the wood we burned, along with the smoke and dust will linger long in my soul. Thanks Uncle Duck for giving me the opportunity to see a way of life that few have seen but many dream about.



packn it in darker don dane

Packin’ It In – Don Dane

He was born a hundred years too late,

A man full of the Great Divide.

Weathered hard and calloused,

There’s not a trail he hadn’t tried.

From the Mogollon Rim to Lily Park,

Him and those ole mules made a lot of tracks.

From sawbucks to deckers,

There’s not a load he couldn’t pack.

He didn’t need a map to navigate,

Those trails were etched in his heart.

A packer, a guide, an outfitter,

He’d played most every part.

The trails now have lost a friend,

But his spirit will remain.

You’ll hear it in the bugling elk,

Or the old mules’ sad refrain.

He has tied his last hitch,

His trails now are smooth and clear.

There ain’t no slick rocky slopes,

Or switchbacks in the dark to fear.

Though your heart may be heavy,

And your load too much to bare,

Just remember this ole packer,

Men like him are gettin’ pretty rare.

So shout it loud from every rim,

And let it echo through the canyon -

We have lost us a good one,

A friend, an Uncle and damn good companion.

18 thoughts on “The Packer

  1. The honor you show to those who formed you is a tribute too frequently miss by so many of us. Thank you for your attention and for your literary style.

  2. Kent;

    I offer my deepest, most sincere condolences to you and your family. It does sound like your Uncle was from an earlier era, if not in body, then truly in spirit.

    I enjoyed the poem very much, it speaks volumes of a man. A man who loved all of God’s creations. the mountains, the animals he worked with, the very air he breathed, and the water as it sang to him as it traveled down the countless rivers, streams, and cricks. The miles, and miles of trails he traveled, listening to the wildlife, and birds that seemed to follow along with him.

    In a manner of speaking, I’ve been in your shoes. I well remember when Uncle Bob passed away. He’s the Uncle that showed a lot of interest in me as a youngster. He took me on my first big game hunt. He was also, the youngest of Mom’s brothers, and the last on my Mother’s side to pass.

    This may sound crazy Kent but, I felt as long as I had my Uncles, then Mom was still near to me. You see, I could see her in them. They had a strong family resemblance, but now they’re all gone and I have to rely on older photographs.

    Yes Sir, in a small way I feel your loss. May God Bless and comfort each of your family members.


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