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Down From the Hills


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7/23/10, Fox Hill, CO - Even before breaking hitching up this morning, I had the lads hard at work entertaining the kids in the campground. These sisters from Albuquerque really enjoyed sitting on Billy, who had the day off.  Then the oldest went for a short ride over to her campsite.

Doc and Bob had an easy pull off of La Monda Pass. For the steepest descent, I stayed on the brakes and saved their legs. Of course, this meant that I had to stop about 3 times and let the brakes cool.

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Two little girls on a big horse. Ain’t that nice?

At one of my brake cooling stops, I met the first carload of the Brady Family. They were having a family reunion.  As part of the festivities they had a scavenger hunt, in which they had to take the most unusual picture.  Family group #1 got the picture below. “Well that should be a winner.”  But, the first group forgot to swear me to secrecy. So take a look at the second group’s picture, 5 minutes later.

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Brady Family Group #1 Picture


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Group #2 Picture

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Brady Family Group #2 really had me outnumbered; so I had to allow their really unusual picture!

The morning started off sunny and nice.  It wasn’t until about 2 pm that the clouds and thunderstorms started moving in.  This is a very normal weather pattern for this time of year in the mountains.  If you’re camping in the high country in July, schedule a nap from 2 to 4:30 everyday and you’ll miss the rain.

Coming down out of the mountains, the terrain and grass really started drying up.  I stopped at the store in Fox Hill for some ice, then continued down the road, looking for something other than old dry sheep grass to feed the horses. Finally, about 4 miles out of town I found some half green gramma on a right-of-way by the road.  It’s not bad feed, but Bill remembers the sweet mountain grass from last night and keeps coming up to the fence and silently begging for some better grass - ‘spoiled brat’.

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Coming down out of the high country.

I have marginal internet and phone service tonight, so hopefully I’ll get this uploaded.

Hey Bonnie, don’t worry about the escaped convict. There’s no way he can be tougher than a spoiled 2000 pound Belgian with A.D.D.

Tomorrow, I’m headed up US Route 285, towards La Jara. I have to stop at an Amish Carriage Maker and get a new evener - mine is starting to look pretty shabby.

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This doe fording the river reminded me of Penny fording the San Juan on our trip back from Dulce, NM.  Of course Penny’s crossing reminded me of a great line from the movie True Grit. - After Mattie swims her pony across the river, while John Wayne and Glen Campbell take the ferry; John Wayne utters, ‘Damn, she reminds me of me.”

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Sipping a cocktail and eating lunch on a bluff over the river. I had a great time watching birds and the occasional fish in the river; however the setting was too serene to temp me to grab my fly rod.  Did you know, that when the sun is shining, Cliff Swallows like to fly over the river catching bugs.  But, when a cloud  obscures the sun they would rather chase bugs in the spruce trees. 

A few hours after this photo, as I descended in altitude, the vegetation went from Spruce, Fir and Aspen to Ponderosa Pines, then to Juniper and Sage Brush.