Bev, whom we met for dinner the other night in Westcliffe, met us at Clara’s house in the morning. She came baring gifts from our friend Janet in California- balloons and snickers bars- lots of them! While we were packing up, Clara interviewed us while her foreman, Melanie, took pictures to hand over to the local paper. We left with hugs and another sweet invite to come back and stay longer.
Bev followed us with her flashers for the day since highway 96 wound through a narrow canyon down the mountain. Thankfully, most of the road had pretty wide shoulder, but it was nice to have that safety buffer, not to mention good company!
At lunch time, Bev’s two sisters, Anne and Arlene, along with another friend, surprised us by showing up with a picnic lunch. We found a pull-off area with trees to tie the horses to and enjoyed more food than we should have. We have found that our stomachs have shrunk from eating so much dehydrated food, and when we have the opportunity to eat real food, we get full very quickly. We have been very grateful, though, for the exceptional amount of real food we have been fed this month, as we were almost to the point we couldn’t force ourselves to eat dehydrated food anymore. It has been a blessing and a much needed break from eating crunchy, bland food.
As we came around the corner of our last decent, my draw dropped and my breath was taken away. We were looking out on nothing but flat in front of us! I found it strange that our first glimpses of the Continental Divide took our breath away, yet seeing terrain so flat did the same thing. I think the contrast is shocking. Besides, I don’t think I’ve ever been where I could look across such an expanse of flat. Once again, we were almost giddy with excitement looking out across the prairie because seeing it was proof that we had finally crossed the Rockies- our single biggest ride goal shy of getting to the Atlantic! What a sense of accomplishment! We have finally crossed all the most difficult terrain in the U.S.- the desert and the two largest mountain ranges in the country. We wonder if Kansas will be boring, yet we have been told many times that the people there are very friendly. They don’t get visitors often. Perhaps we will bring Kansas a taste of excitement- or maybe- they will surprise us with excitement!