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Trip Dispatch #11, Sunday, May 29. Alamosa to Eagle Ranch: Sunday dinner at Bill’s place

This morning we met Bill’s friend Michael Tooley who works for the USFS. He provided us with a good route to Del Norte. As we were packing up, Bill invited us to have Sunday dinner with Michael and his family. Michael, tall, bearded, balding, Kelly, round, red-faced, seemed well-suited to one another. Their two kids, who are being home schooled, are interesting conversationalists. The kids were wearing their Sunday best. I’d have offered to let them ride the horses if they’d been wearing jeans. Pete and I were given a tour of the library that sits on Bill’s property. It’s a resource for area worshippers. It was amazingly up-to-date, and contained a wide array of books on a variety of subjects, a barcode scanner, a tracking feature, and

First Rio Grande River camp site
First Rio Grande River camp site
a database of resources.

We left Bill’s at 2 p.m; by then the wind was howling. For this reason, the horses balked when we attempted to lead them out of their windless confines. All afternoon, we watched dust storms, patches of moving dust, move across the horizon. We called it good at 5 p.m. Pete hailed down a woman, who when asked, said that her father-in-law had a ranch on the Rio Grande just ahead.

We came to a stone gate, and took a left. The rancher lived in a large, modern house with a multitude of dormers. He and his well-dressed family were getting ready to go somewhere, and they didn’t seem to want to be bothered by two humans, three ponies, and a dog, all of whom resembled the lost members of a gypsy caravan.

The rancher (grudgingly) said that we could camp down by the river, and so we headed in the direction of a cottonwood grove. Our campsite was studded with cow pies, straw, and downed cottonwoods. I remarked to Pete that being in this place would cure any remaining cow-related phobias that Raudi might have. I got kind of concerned though when one with what looked like a skeleton on its forehead approached our tent site–this being the equivalent of a bovine grim reaper. Raudi must have thought similarly, because she gave it a wide berth. I chased it off, remarking after brushing off my hands and remarking “Aye, cheated death once again!” As the sun set, we listened to frogs croak and geese honk. And after it set, we listened to coyotes howl.

Next: Dispatch #12: More Wind, More Grumbling