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6-17-09 004_edited-1-2
Dry Creek Basin


5/17/10, 7 miles north of Basin, CO - I crossed a largely empty landscape, yet somehow it was full of great people.

Before hitching up this morning, my first visitor was Rob Howell, who brought me a couple of gallons of gasoline and some two cycle oil, for the generator - thank you. The Howellís have been great, and I really enjoyed their company for the past few days.

After crossing Big Gypsum Valley, my next visitor was Bill Masters, Sheriff of San Miguel County. He stopped by to visit and extend a welcome to the County. He said that years ago, when he was a Deputy, he used to patrol this section of the County.  At that time, there were still several Basque Sheepherders traveling by horse and sheep wagon. Unfortunately, theyíre largely gone.

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Sheriff Bill Masters photographing the team.

Passing through Gypsum Gap, I entered Dry Creek Basin. The Basin is several miles across, and has a large field of natural gas wells (this is where Rob Howell works).  It also has several ranches, mostly headquartered on the northwest side of the Basin. As I travel closer to the San Juan Mountains, range conditions continue to improve. Near the northwest end of the basin is a group of buildings known as Basin, CO.

I stopped in Basin for lunch and had several visitors, including a family on a camping trip, and Paul Wilson.  Paul was kind enough to drive me to a spring a few miles away, where I filled up my empty water jugs (I had enough water for tonight, but I feel more comfortable when I have a day in reserve).

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Getting ready to pull out of Basin, CO.

Leaving Basin, I drove 7 miles up Broad Canyon, before finding a roadside camping spot.  It has some pretty thick green gramma grass (which the horses love) and I wonít have to feed any hay tonight.  To make sure they get enough grazing, I first set up the playpen behind the wagon, then moved it to the front of the wagon, just before dark.

My first visitor at camp was Rod who left me with a donation for horse feed - thank you. Rod lives and has his cattle down by Cortez, but farms hay fields up by Norwood, about 2 hours away.  I used to think it was a long ways when I hayed fields 10 miles from the house!

My next visitors were Paul Wilson and his two sons.  He brought me a gift of some hog meat and eggs, and invited me to rest the team at his place, about 8 miles up the road. The lads are do for a day off and should enjoy burying there head in Paulís pasture for while.

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Paulís sons, Riley and Hunter had a good time sitting on Doc as he grazed.

I had a great time visiting with the Wilsonís, and I think Iím really going to enjoy the day off, as their guests.

For supper tonight, I had some of the great elk steaks that Rob Howell left with me. As I ate them, I was reminded of a decision faced the Lewis and Clark expedition during the second winter of their journey, when they reached the mouth of the Colombian River.  On the north shore of the river, there were vast herds of deer, whoís hides were the best for making clothing.  On the south shore of the Colombian, elk were plentiful, and they were the best eating. Bellies won out over backs, and that winter, they ended up dining on elk steaks on the south shore.  After that wonderful supper, I think the expedition leaders were quite wise.

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Paul, Hunter and Riley Wilson with the horses (B.O.B. was being camera shy)