We began our day by passing through Westcliffe, then went straight into a construction zone. I find it peculiar that this is the very first construction zone- in four states- that we have had to ride through! The guys were super polite though, as they turned off all their machinery and paused working while we rode by. I thought that was pretty considerate. Nevertheless, our little drama queen, Tiska, still thought that was a pretty scary obstacle and decided to walk on the steep hill rather than alongside the road!
As we wound our way over the Wet mountains, the last range in the Rockies, we kept looking over our shoulder at the Sangre De Cristos. This would be the last glimpse of magnificent, jagged, snow covered peaks we’d likely see until we returned home to Wyoming. It was exciting- knowing we were going to make it over the Rockies without becoming buried snowmen- yet a little sad too because our hearts have always been in the mountains. So as we passed the last rise where we could only see the tips of the peaks behind us, we looked forward to our upcoming change of scenery.
The pass was right around 9,000 feet and it was the only one in the Rockies we crossed on a road. The sun was beginning to get a little close to the horizon, so we began looking for a place to stop. After spending several weeks in the wilderness, it is a little hard to get used to being fenced in. It seems that in most places in America these days, the roads that go somewhere (not necessarily the little roads within communities) are almost completely lined with either livestock fencing or property fencing of some sort. It’s funny….. the fences are meant to fence people out, yet we felt fenced in… to the road corridor. We figured we could camp along the road if need be- we’ve done it before. But one problem…. we couldn’t find any water. We knocked on several doors trying to get water for the horses before we made a dry camp, yet no one answered. We decided that most of these homes must be summer dwellings- I mean- who wants to live through the winter at 9,000 feet?!
We decided to keep going until we found someone home- we weren’t about to make the horses go thirsty again like they had to a couple times in the desert. We finally came across someone home at an old Appaloosa breeding barn. Clara was thrilled to see Apache, an Appaloosa, pull up into her driveway and was more than happy to help us once she knew our needs. Not only did she water the horses, she provided corrals with grass, hay, salt, and corn for them as well as the barn to put our gear under! The ponies enjoyed 5 star dining that night! And we…. well…. we got 5 star accommodations in her guest house up the road! We enjoyed a relaxing evening with a hot meal, a hot shower, a comfy bed, and a little TV time. It never ceases to amaze me how God directs our path to the right person who is sweet, resourceful, helpful, and just in the right place at the right time. The Bible says in Proverbs “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” How true we have found this to be!