Starr Springs campground was such a beautiful oasis out in the middle of nowhere that we found it hard to leave. Besides, we were enjoying our new Henry Mountain junkie, campfire makin’, four wheeling, lizard killing, nature loving friends. We decided to stay another day. Today would finally be my chance to sit and enjoy my book that has been collecting dust- no- sand.
Our peaceful plans were changed in a moment. The campground cleaner came in this morning and promptly informed us that we were breaking the rules. We were threatened with federal charges if we did not remove our horses and all their manure IMMEDIATELY! There were no signs anywhere that forbid livestock in the campground, and cattle guards don’t stop horse trailers. We weren’t worried about charges because there were no signs, but we figured we better tuck our tails and scurry along. Didn’t want to ruffle feathers or create trouble. Darn. Guess my book is going to collect some more dust.
The lady handed us a couple garbage bags and we got to work on our hands and knees picking up horse poop- with our hands. I was blown away when Mike and Dennis joined in. They needlessly felt responsible and went above and beyond as new friends picking up road apples with their hands. We threw our gear in their truck and planned to move to the camp site 3 miles down. We got the horses back over the cattle guard, then I jumped on bareback, tied the other three together, and we trotted down the road to our new spot.
I missed it….. by 4 miles. I’m not used to moving at the speed of trot and couldn’t believe I had gone so far in such a short time. It’s a good thing we didn’t try to find that spot in the dark! By the time the guys came behind me with the truck, it was decided that it’d be better for me to keep going 4 more miles to the next creek than to back track. I have not trotted that long bareback since I was a kid. Man was I sore the next day! It was a lot of muscle work!
When we got to the new campsite, we discovered that there was no feed for the horses. Mike and Dennis completely dedicated their day to us then- and we went on a mission to find a rancher or anyone we could get some hay from. On our way, I asked Mike to go just a few miles out of our way to one of our planned campsites- the one before the really really long day we would be doing. I just had a bad feeling about it. We pulled up to the area and there was not a lick of water or feed anywhere. We abandoned the search for hay in lieu of the more important search for water. We drove miles out on a different dirt road that took a slightly longer route to the same place as the original road we were going to take. When we had almost given up, Richard saw some cottonwoods off to the side- a stock pond! I was never so happy to see red water! This meant we might actually make it across the desert without major water problems!
By the time we got back to the horses, it was dark. We said our sad goodbyes to Mike and Dennis- wishing we could have spent one more night around the campfire with them. We had a small snack, then we held our horses and wandered around in the dark letting them find whatever nibbles they could. We all went to bed hungry.