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“Shoe Tree” and Fireworks

We got quite a taste of the local flare today! We roled out of Penny’s house on a rather chilly morning and veared off the American Discovery Trail- straight towards one of central Nevada’s most prided attractions- Shoe Tree! First, even the word “tree” is special around here. People take special care of these rare gems. But this tree, standing alone with not another one nearby, had a crowning glory- about 500 pairs of shoes! They were everywhere- tied together and hanging in streamers, balancing on branches, piled in crevices- shoes of every shape, size, color, and age. If my boots were worn out now I could have shopped there! We have been told about this attraction so many times (most recently by our new trucker friend- “Concrete Cowgirl”) that it was fun to finally see it!
Then we had another surprise. The shoe tree is actually at a watering hole for wild mustangs. We got there so early that we accidentally interrupted their morning watering and were able to see them in daylight (without worry of them harassing our horses) and get some pictures! It turns out that the mustangs are quite skittish and only get so close before the smell of humans  and sound of our horses whinnying (they don’t whinny) overrides their curiosity. As long as we are awake, we are not too worried about them as a danger anymore-at least out here where their human contact is nill.
We are enjoying our new “Discovery” route, as we rode past more history today- another Pony Express Station and Overland Stagecoach stop, as well as ruins of one of the first telegraph stations. Did you know that the Pony Express was only running for 18 months and the first telegraph transfer put them out of business in 3 days?! Weird- I was never interested in history before, but when every mile gained is a victory and when we have actually kept our horses at night in what we are told are old Pony Express corrals- suddenly it matters!
But our day was not over! We got to Cold Springs Station- on what is now considered an easy day of 14 miles- in time to join the BBQ in celebration (a day early) of 4th of July. There were probably 20 people there, including Ted and Trevor, who joined us for the evening. We had a bit of a run-in with a local man who had lots of beer and advice. I reluctantly showed him Apache’s bare feet at his request and he whipped out a pocket knife to “fix” them. I had to shove Apache to get him to let go of his feet and yelled furiously at him. Won’t be making that mistake again! Then the excitement really began…. fireworks! I had tied Apache to the tiny corral they were in when the banging started, it scared Apache so bad he pulled back, dragged the corral 4 feet, and came about a foot from sitting on our tent! So he watched fireworks while I held him! And these, surprisingly, weren’t small town flares- they were the real deal! Not sure who they have for contacts, but they sure put on a surprisingly good private show! I don’t think this is a 4th of July we will soon forget!

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