Friday, June 01, 2007

Superstition Ride - - - Day 3 (morning)

UPDATE: I just got an email from the folks I ordered computer stuff from. It has been shipped. In the meantime with muchos thankos to The God of All Ropers for the use of his machine I am publishing the draft of the ride which was in works before the crash. It should only be a few more days before we are back up and running at the ranch.

I don't know when I finally drifted off to sleep. I woke up right before dawn being nudged by Rosalita who was looking for an oat ration, or some licorice. There was a pennywhistle in my lap. Silas was snoring, that was music enough for the morning. I put out some alfalfa pellets which were roundly ignored then dipped out a measure of oats for each horse. These were greeted with enthusiasm. I took some oats for Silas and I, built the fire back up and began to fry some bacon. Silas woke up as soon as all the work was done and it was safe for him to open his eyes. He thanked me for my efforts and I smiled. I said "I was thinking we could move camp before the sun gets an angle on us. It's feeling like a hot one today." He agreed that this was most likely the prudent course to take and wandered off. I began to pack stuff up and get the saddles ready. Then I brushed the horses down and got the hooves picked and checked, then the blankets, then the saddles. The final saddle was on and cinched, one last check to make sure that the balance was right on Sally's pack rig, by the time that was finished Silas was already on Ban Fai ready to go. We had about a five and a half mile trek ahead of us, mostly easy terrain. Rosalita was ready to move and set out at her favorite gait, the extended walk. It requires only a little more energy than a regular walk but the longer strides in the front, combined with an almost trotting rythym in the back make for a smooth, comfortable pace that literally eats the ground. Sally takes her membership in our little herd seriously. She has been wild and wants no part of that ever again. I know that she will keep in close contact with where ever Rosalita and I are. Silas knows where we're going and he'll probably show up once I've gotten things fixed up nicely. It is a beautiful morning, but I'm glad we got an early start for our move, there will be some serious heat coming down before we are done.

Our destination is a bend by a creek and a cliff face. That will give us some pretty decent shade from the afternoon sun. There is the foundation and crumbled stack of a chimney from a crew barracks. The main attraction for the ranch hands here is a run of easily accessable clay, softened by the running water of the creek. This was their brick factory. There is a brick beehive kiln that is still in pretty decent repair. It will do nicely for our sweat tonight. It has a natural clay floor, packed and hardened by years of use, better than concrete. There are some stands of mesquite and other woods lying around for the picking. The water will be fine to drink after giving a decent boil. There are various greens which promise some good stuff for dinner after we are finished.

I set about unrigging the horses and letting them busy themselves browsing through the various stands of vegetation. This is not something that Rosalita is real hip to, but Sally is a fountain of knowledge that she is happy to follow around and learn from. I check the kiln to make sure that it is still fairly solid. There are some places that are crumbling a bit. They will shore up nicely with some clay spread over them. I busy myself digging a pit for our fire near the creek. I line it with rocks that I push into the clay. I use a blanket to gather up some sand from the creek bed and make an area all around the fire pit that will not provide a place for any sparks to catch. Then I begin gathering wood. I have a pretty decent stack ready for us when Silas comes riding up. He's grinning ear to ear. I figure he's pleased with all the work I've been doing these last few hours. He says "Look what I found."

Behind him are some hikers. They are three young women and a young man. Silas says "They were so lost they weren't even scared by seeing an Indin on a horse out here in the Wild West." I introduce myself and realize that English is a third or fourth language for these folks. Turns out they are German students at ASU who have come up to do some hiking. They got caught up in the sightseeing end of their trip and began to take a series of wrong turns. They are way off where they intended to be. They are thirsty, hot, tired, and hungry. I start passing out water, point them toward the creek where they can cool off and tell them that there's plenty of food all around here, you only have to know what you are looking at.

They drink deeply, and begin to wander over to the cold running water of the creek. I start to break out some food. The man, who I will refer to as "Big Blonde Hans," sees the bacon slab and the jerky and says "I am vegetarian." I tell him that's fine back home, but these are the calories that are available right here and right now, it would be far more sensible to consume them and then return to your preferred diet once starvation has been avoided. I tell him that once I get things going we can go down to the creek and pull some cat-tails for some vegetarian calories. He seems to think that this is a good idea. I get some bacon slices going, along with a pot of water and we go down to the creek bank where Silas is flirting shamelessly with the girls.




Anonymous tata said...

Ahhh, it has been hard to be without more of this story.

9:57 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

i like silas. he's a pip!

i love your story. i've been checking in, hoping there would be more.
vegetarian, geeezzzz.

me, i'd last about 15 minutes out there, 20 tops! ; )

10:42 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

the desert is its very own special place. once you learn its ways the strict beauty of it grows on you.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Constant Comment said...

looking forward to further installments...


5:23 AM  
Blogger konagod said...

This is why, as a vegetarian, it's important to plan ahead, know where you are going and what your options are.

This is why, for instance, you won't catch me taking a long slow drive across western Nebraska and finding myself in a place where the only option is a joint called Bob's Steakhouse.

7:02 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

exactly kona. i spent the first part of this trip getting needled about how much extra stuff i packed. i figure in a normal instance homeboy wouldn't have been in any trouble from missing a meal, but they were planning a day trip and packed with that in mind. carrying stuff on your back i can understand that. what they didn't plan on was getting lost. couple that with the fact that they have no knowledge of the terrain, its dangers and benefits and there was a potential for extreme disaster. they had literally been passing by both food and water the whole time they were lost. people lived up here, and lived well. but you have to know what is all around you. also, the desert is not forgiving of ignorance. so here they are, not in a deficit for starvation, but we are miles, desert miles, from any civilization. strength must be replenished for the walk out is my thinking.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:34 PM  
Anonymous horsedooty said...


yo soy Horsedooty!

5:22 AM  
Anonymous amish451 said...

Kinda sounds like your grousing about Silas but I am sure you are not ....I think he knows you know you owe him ....

What do you feed a hungry Vegan ....common sense is a good place to start ...

Lovin' your story ..thanks..

5:45 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

i usually have a pop tart in my purse for those desperate times on route 28 in pittsburgh! : )

6:26 AM  
Blogger JackGoff said...

Keep it coming, MB! If I haven't said so before, your writing is exceptionally vivid and engaging! Thank you for this!

7:18 PM  

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