The weather seemed to mimic the atmosphere of the little valley we rode through today. It was drizzly from the time we woke up, and we remained soggy all day. The fencing that paralleled the road we were on was clearly and unmistakably marked “No Trespassing!” Every ranch….. every fenceline……. every ten feet! (Well, that might be a slight exaggeration but it felt like there were that many signs!) There were even signs specially made with a laundry list of things you couldn’t do- “No trespassing, hunting, fishing, hiking, riding, rafting, shooting, camping………” Not kidding! But then the funniest thing was after we passed all these signs, we saw a big beautiful, ornate, sign made of river rock, logs, and metal with scenes of elk on it that announced the ranch’s name with elegance. Richard blurted out,” They aught to say – ‘This is XYZ Ranch- now everyone GO AWAY!’ on their sign!” We got the feeling that this area was not particularly welcoming and we were about to get a real taste of the local atmosphere!
We saw a particularly threatening cloud coming and decided to escape into the camper for a lunch break to avoid getting poured on. We found a nice pull-out on the side of the road that made a good place to stop for a short bit. Mind you, there were no trespassing signs all along the fence- but we were right next to the road- definitely not on anyone’s property. We were just finishing taking the bridles off our horses and separating the pack horses so we could tie them up when a man came out of the house across the street and shouted, “Just make yourself at home!” His voice sounded kind of sarcastic and I thought he was kidding at first- until I turned and saw his angry posture. He made it clear that we were not welcome to park on the side of the road by HIS house and if we didn’t move, he would call the police! Wow… we’ve never been threatened for NOT trespassing! Pour Grayson got a taste of one of our three minor bad experiences on the whole trip- and after only being with us for two days! We swore to him that this was not normal and that we would find a place to eat lunch without being harassed a few miles down. Instead of making an issue out of it, we offered to move on- despite the heavier rain and our camper shelter driving just feet behind us. Grayson decided today was a good day to be a driver and not a rider!
After a lunch that totally spoiled us, Grayson went into town while we took a short cut across a creek bed and old mining area. The road took a huge u-turn in Creed and we were able to cut across the top of the ‘u’ and save at least a mile and a half. When he returned, he reported that town looked just as unfriendly. He showed us a picture of a house who had plastered their siding space with warning signs like, “don’t trust the judge in this town” and “if you come here, make sure you bring a lawyer.” We decided this was a good place to get out of fast!
To add to the atmosphere, we were riding along the road and just as a big rig truck driver passed us, he put his jake brakes on. I mean RIGHT when he passed us- and only for the time he was going by us. The horses jumped just a hair, but barely noticed it- thank God! I thought, “great- that was either someone being really rude or that was a complete accident.” I wasn’t feeling too positive about it, but just then, the truck pulled over. Out came a man- sweet as could be- apologizing profusely! He had forgotten his jake brake was turned on and he felt terribly bad for using it right next to the horses. We were stunned that a trucker actually took the time to pull over to apologize! We’ve had this happen a few times before- but this made our day! We had a wonderful conversation with him and he told us about a nice place to camp with a fresh water spring just the perfect distance away to end our day. We were glad to be out of Creed, yet happy to have made an unexpected friend!