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6-17-09 004_edited-1-2
Great Folks & the Sheep Corral

WAGONTEAMSTER .COM

5/22/10, Noel, CO - This was a great day of driving, full of some fantastic people.

After leaving the boat launch, my first stop was about a mile down the road (at the roadside park I should have stayed in), which was an easy drive down to fill up the water containers. 

An hour later, I pulled into the general store in the town of Placerville. After picking up a few things and talking with some of the locals, I drove back out to route 62 and headed north.  Route 62 has about a 3 or 4 foot shoulder (rare for the Colorado mountains) which makes for easy driving.  All day long, it was an easy but steady uphill climb, as I drove from about the 6900 foot elevation to about 8200 feet tonight.

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Carla and Dave - some exceptional people!

I was just starting to unhitch the team for lunch, when Carla drove up and invited me down the road a couple of hundred yards to have lunch at their ranch. It sounded good to me, so I re-hooked the heel chains and away I went.

It was a great lunch with some nice people, at a beautiful ranch that is nestled between the hills of a side canyon. After lunch, Dave rode with me for an hour or two, as I made my way uphill, towards the Dallas Divide.  Carla and Dave left me with some very nice gifts, but what I value most is the time I spent with them.

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Susan and her son, with a bag of food they left for me.

About 3:30 pm, the wind was really starting to pick up and I started looking for a place to camp. At a wide spot in the road, I met Susan and her son, who have been vacationing in the car for the past couple of weeks.  We had a good time exchanging some travel stories.  Like a lot of people I meet, they really admired the idea of just traveling slowly around the country meeting people.

As I looked around the wide spot in the road where I met Susan, I noticed it had a corral, located on the public right-of-way. These are fairly common in open range states, and are used by sheepherders and cattlemen when they are moving stock to and from public grazing or driving their animals down the road.  The place had a sturdy corral, water, a little bit of grazing, and a nice spot to park the wagon. On a night with 40 mph wind gusts, this makes a perfect camping spot!  Iím about 3 miles southwest of the old town of Noel.

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After grazing down some grass, in their playpen, I turned the team into the corral.  With a gusty wind blowing, this enclosure provides a little more piece of mind then the portable electric fencing I use.

Tomorrow, Iím going to cross the Dallas Divide, then turn south onto a National Forrest access road, located before the town of Ridgway. My plan is to trek up to a beaver pond I know at about the 10,000 foot elevation for some fishing.  If the snow is still pretty deep, I might be able to get up early in the morning, when itís still a little firm from the night before. I havenít been there in almost 25 years, but the smallest trout I ever took from this pond was 23 inches long.  At that time, I took a picture of a Cutthroat Trout that was twice as long.  Maybe he is still there, and still growing?