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A La Garita Invitation


9/29/10, La Garita, CO - Last April, while traveling down the lonley 200 mile stretch of road from Ft. Sumner, NM to Sante Fe, I met Jerry Nusbaum.  Every two days, as he was hauling semi loads of Alfalfa down to dairies, near Clovis, NM, he would stop and say hello.  Both of us really looked forward to these roadside meetings.  On one trip, Jerry brought his wife Bonnie down to meet me.

Last month, I stopped in to visit the Nusbaum’s at their home in La Garita, and had a great time.  I had a couple of extra days to wander this week, so I stopped in to visit with Jerry and Bonnie again. I was just planning on spending a night, but they graciously invited me to keep the team in a 79 acre pasture they own at the edge of town, while I go off to earn some money. I happily accepted.  Not only does this solve a lot of problems on what to do with the team while I head off on a six week job, it also happens to be a great town to settle down and establish a home base; so I’ll be looking for a local home when I return from the job. Now, I have no intentions of setting my roots down, so deep, that I would become a homebody; but, it’s time to reestablish a base of operations.  The wagon will roll again. And, if I happen to establish my home base in the nicest place I’ve found in my journeys, so much the better.

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Andy and Becky, with their little boy, visiting with Doc at Jerry’s little RV park.  You can tell by the look in his eyes, that Doc really likes these moments with his fan club.

La Garita is high on my list of locations that I refer to as ‘Jewels’. It sets on the edge of the valley, right against the San Juan Mountains.  Two creeks, Canera to the west, and La Garita to the southwest, flow out of the mountains and provide irrigation water to the area farms.  Antelope abound on the surrounding prairie land, and the country just to the west, in the mountains, is full of deer, elk and some excellent fishing.

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Two herds of Antelope live in the large field right across from the store. The land is in a conservation easement, so they can’t be hunted. (I bet that big buck knows that). The big buck shown here, lives with his does on the east side, while a smaller buck lives on the west side. Today, they were trying to steal does from each other, so there was an “Antelope-a-rama” with speedy little critters chasing each other all over the field. In La Garita, this is very acceptable alternative to the Nature Channel’.

This morning, I went with Jerry, as he went out to pick up a bunch of 2000 pound alfalfa bales with a ‘flip & stack’ machine. After lunch, we road the horses about 1/2 mile down to their pasture home for the next few weeks.

After lunch, Jerry and I had a lengthy and very interesting conversations with Ken, a Geologist for the EPA that was in charge of the water cleanup project at the ‘Superfund’ site at the Summitville Mine.  All in all, this was a very nice and interesting day.

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Jerry and I mounted on our steeds, just prior to heading down to the pasture with them.  Normally, I would just let Bob tag along, but he was into exploring today, so I had to ‘pony’ him down to the field.

The best thing I have found on my travels is all of the really great people I have been honored to meet and be associated with.

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The Amigos, just after we pulled off their halters and set them ‘free’ to roam and eat the buffalo grass. Jerry’s mule is on the right side of the picture.  The mission church in the distance sports the famous ‘six-sided cross’.