Yup- you read right! Vegetarians- read no further! Someone once asked us how, as husband and wife, we would keep coming up with things to talk about. Well, there is definitely a lot of comfortable quiet where your mind wanders while you ride. I, Jeannette, have decided in my quiet thinking time that I am going to hunt a lizard. My parents took us to Disney World when we were little and we took a side trip to the alligator farm. They served a sample of alligator meat, and to this day, I still believe it is the best tasting meat I have ever had. It occurred to me that lizards are related to alligator, and in my boiled brain state in the middle of the day, I decided that I am going to hunt me a lizard and give it a taste! Richard carved a sharp stick for me, then I went to work sneaking up on one. I got my pointy stick about 4 inches from the little guy, then hesitated too long to jab before it jumped clear over my head and ran off lickety split! I think this is going to prove tougher than I thought- both the making myself actual go in for the kill, as well as finding one that will sit there long enough to let me get close!
By the way, this lizard hunt happened in a very interesting place. It was at the end of a nice day of riding. We rode behind a herd of cows for half the morning, watched a glorious sunrise, saw one of the most interesting birds I have ever seen in America, rode up a short and sandy hill, saw a view all the way back to the still snow covered Sierra’s and got to feel proud of how far we have come, met a lovely group of horseback riders who later donated some hay to us, rode into a new valley primarily covered by a dry lake bed, and then down to the only tree in the valley. Let me elaborate. This valley is so vast it is hard to use words to explain. It was miles across, and stretched so long we could not see to the end. There was not a sole in the entire area, not a house, a cow, or anything. Highway 50 followed the opposite side of the valley- which has very little traffic, and there was a row of telephone wires on one end of the valley. That’s it. Just a dry lake bed and nothing as far as the eye could see. I have never been anywhere so desolate outside of a national park. It was incredible how alone we felt! Now this tree was literally the only tree in the entire vast valley barring the one on the island in the lake that was too deep of mud to get to. (no water- just mud) This tree was on our path, had an old wood corral, a sulfury water spring, and plenty of grass to feed the horses for 24 hours. It was like this oasis was put there just for us. God’s creation is more and more awe inspiring the more I see of it!
So the horses enjoyed their grass and freedom to move about without halters on, and we enjoyed the shade of this lone tree. We got to use our solar shower again- though we had to compete with the ants for space under the tree.
Then evening came. This welcoming oasis turned into a nightmare. Since apparently it was the only water for as far as the eye could see, every insect in the entire vicinity came right to us! It was pure misery. The horses went wild with running and bucking at horse flies and we looked like we came down with chicken pox. There was every kind of insect you could imagine, including biting ones that were too small to keep out of the tent. The horses were beside themselves rolling and rubbing on the posts. I have truly never seen a horse so crazed over bugs in my life. Fly spray is an item we will immediately be getting. They were covered in welts in the morning and we felt so bad saddling them up, but we knew we had to get out of there. Well, I guess oasises are a blessing when water is scarce, but you learn fast that they are not a place where dreams are made like they are in fairy tales!