Home > Trip > Dispatches > Trip Dispatches > Trip Dispatch #9

Trip Dispatch #9: Friday, May 27 (Memorial Day Weekend): Ikes Creek to BLM Artesian Well Campsite: Artesian Well Campsite (14 miles)

The San Luis Valley, which is flat, is laid out in a grid. It was hot, windy, and my lips are now very sore. Lots and lots of barbwire, on fences, stretched, sagging. Lots of tin cans, rusting cards, mattress frames, and old cars are on the far side of these fences. Rode some, walked some.

I was concerned about our finding a campsite, since there was no water source, except for an occasional roadside ditch. Late  in the afternoon, still no water, and things are looking dire as far a as our finding a suitable camping spot. Then Pete saw some reeds about 100 yard from the side of the road, and

Horses enjoying the artesian well in San Luis Valley
Horses enjoying the artesian well in San Luis Valley

went to check this out, thinking that perhaps there was water nearby. He returned all smiles for he’d discovered an artesian well on BLM land. I followed him to the spot, which contained a pipe with bubbling water and plenty of lush, green grass.

The one drawback was that there was no place to highline the horses. We considered tying them to the few small thorny trees. I objected to this, saying that they might cut themselves on the thorns. So, we left them hobbled thinking that they wouldn’t leave the water and grass. Big mistake. We went to bed, and then five minutes later we realized that we no longer heard the cow bells.

We quickly got up, dressed, put on our headlights, and crawled out of the tent. It was dark, and because it was flat, there were no landmarks. Pete took off, and was soon out of sight. I went around in increasingly larger circles, hoping that I’d come across the three errant horses. I feared that I might get lost if I went any further, so I stayed close to the tent and waited for Pete. Then I crawled back into the tent. Twenty minutes later, he appeared, with the three horses in hand. We tied the horses to the thorn trees. He later told me that he’d found them downroad – Signy had apparently decided to return to Lough Arrow Icelandics and was taking her two new buddies with her. Lesson learned: horses wearing hobbles can really move out. From now on, we’ll tie them up at night.

Next: Dispatch #10: Wind, grrr, grrr, grrr