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Trip Dispatch #39, Sunday, June 26: Taylor Park Trading Post to Bruce’s Pasture: Gunnison

We were woken at 5 a.m. by the sound of thundering hooves. I unzipped the tent flap and saw that Raudi was chasing Signy. I yelled at her to cut it out, and then, after laying back down, I pulled my sleeping bag back over my head. Neither Pete nor I could get back to sleep, so instead we got up.

At mid-morning, we moved base camp over to Bruce’s back road pasture, first crossing an oddly-routed creek. We rode directly into the current, and there took a sharp left. Rainbow, smart dog that she is, trotted across the bridge. We set up camp on a ridge formed by an old irrigation ditch overlooking the cow pasture. It was fun watching the herd dynamics. I was quite impressed with Charlie the Bull. He allowed his cows to roam freely, but was quick to herd strays back together.

We met Mark at noon. The road to Gunnison, busy and winding, parallels the Taylor River. I watched from the car window as rafters and river kayakers played in the rapids and riffles. This is a moderately populated area; however, signs caution motorists to watch out for cattle, who (as we saw) were scattered along the roadside.

Mark and his wife used to own a pizzeria in Gunnison. They got into and out of the restaurant business because, as he said, “It was God’s will.” He’d since been doing missionary work in Mexico—a part of the work involves getting gardening projects

Charlie the bull kept his herd in line
Charlie the bull kept his herd in line


Taylor Park calf
Taylor Park calf

going so that the people might become more self-sufficient. To this end, the missionaries have been teaching area residents how to do large-scale composting.

Gunnison is a tourist/college town that boasts a fair number of grocery stores. I found a brand of toothpaste that doesn’t hurt my sunburnt lips in the organic health food store. And I purchased yet another tube of lip balm.

We’d left the animals highlined and unattended, so getting back to base camp in timely fashion was a primary concern. Arms full, we returned to the main thoroughfare and stuck out our thumbs. A car pulled up to the curb, and two college students (Ben Musson and Emily Gilbert) offered to give us a lift to the intersection to Crested Butte. But after hearing our story, they decided to take us back clear to Taylor Park, where we introduced them to the horses and Rainbow. After, Pete and I sat and watch the sun set behind the distant Collegiate Peaks.

Next: Trip Dispatch #40: Short Trek