This turned out to be the most fascinating stop of our entire ride yet. (Ole- I hope I don’t embarrass you!)
When we got to the Lindgren’s, we knew that only their 9 kids and grandmother would be there for the first full day. Ole and Kenda were working. We spent that day resting, meeting the kids and trying to remember all of their names, and doing mending projects. But more than that, we wondered what Ole would be like.
You see, it turns out he is something of a legend in these parts. People have talked about him for miles and miles as we have ridden closer to his home. They have warned us of his ADHD and being a “project starter”, yet had nothing else negative to say. In fact, by the time we got to his house, he was known to be an anaconda snake fighting, winner of the 3,000 mile endurance horse race in the middle east (that no American can even enter!), desert surviving, life saving man! His home was truly a master piece in the making- unfinished projects everywhere- but obviously heading in the direction of self-sustainability. There were goats, miniature cows, horses, rabbits, geese, ducks, chickens, peacocks, dogs, gardens, fruit trees, etc. etc. on and roaming around his property. We were quite interested to meet this man.
We were not disappointed. This brief blog can not begin to describe the absolutely fascinating nature of this individual. He is warmly welcoming, hopelessly generous, adventurous to the core, brilliantly intelligent and self educated, and passionate about Mormonism, sustainable farming, and healing hurting youth through horses and adventure. He is a wealth of knowledge, but most notably, he is a genius story teller.
He convinced us to go to his Mormon church with him. We figured it would be a good education considering as there were no other options for miles around. It was like “Mormon Religion 101” – we definitely got quite an education, backed up by long conversations with Ole about religion. But I kid you not, we spent the entire day with our jaws dropped, our eyes glued, and our attention riveted to Ole as he told us true adventure stories of his life. Ours pale in comparison!
He took our imaginations to the depths of the Amazon where anacondas and head hunters (the tribes that shrink heads and display them proudly- you may have seen it in Ripley’s believe it or not) were a very real threat while they tried to find the “Golden City” (like in Indiana Jones.) Apparently it really exists, but try getting there and living to tell about it. They got within a day and a half hike, but had to abandon the because of life threatening problems. Ole was convinced to go on the adventure mainly to follow along quietly- and save everyone’s lives when they got in trouble. Many of his stories reminded me of scenes in movies- like when they ran up a beach, jumped into a truck, and sped away as the head hunters were chasing them up the beach- like in Pirates of the Caribbean! Then he took us on a journey to Alaska where he was the first to climb a mountain called “the Horn” and barely lived to tell about it. It involved a 30 foot jump across a 300 foot drop with no rope. Nuts- absolutely nuts! And on the same day, he decided he was immortal and rode a current down many ridiculously tall waterfalls and lived to tell about it! Then he took us to a county fair where his grandfather, against all odds, won a pulling match through deep mud with his team that had only ever plowed fields- to win the prize that payed off his land and allowed him to keep it. We were in tears by the end of that story. He also shared stories of some of the other cross country travelers he had met that brought us to tears laughing! And finally he took us into the desert canyons of the home that he loves, with stories of flash floods, narrow escapes, and magnificent horses of incredible strength, stamina, and heart.
We were up to 3:00 in the morning listening to stories, having theological conversations, and not wanting it to end. Ole is truly the most fascinating person we have ever met! He’s only 8 years older than Richard, and we still have one continent yet to visit in his stories! His adventure stories and wealth of knowledge in many subjects we love make us hardly want to leave! It’s no wonder he’s a local legend!