Today Jack Punch and I found ourselves riding down a long and lonely dirt road in Grand Escalate National Monument. The road called Cottonwood Rd wound for many miles past red rock walls and thickets of cottonwood trees. We saw no other animals. They must have found a better place to hide from the baking heat, 100 F.
The land because of the extreme heat, the remoteness, the sparseness and the dryness makes no sense to me as a place man should pick to do anything but wander through admiring its beauty and praying that he will make it where he's going before nature sends him a harsh message he is not prepared to receive. Like today's heat.
What a strange place to try to graze a cow. I have seen no water. Surely there is some because the cottonwoods find enough to grow. But a cow? I've heard a single cow drinks at least 2 gallons per 100lbs in hot weather.
No, I think best to leave this place for the plants and animals nature has found for it on her own. I am hoping to find enough water to give the horses and mules a drink. We have fifty miles to ride before we will be out of this dry environment. Lucky we started with one full canteen each.
We have been wandering down this road for the past three days and have not seen one other human soul. Around high noon, I started to hear some noise behind us. It sounded like voices and hoof beats. We pulled of to rest the animals for lunch in the shade of a small canyon. When we reentered the road I saw some hoof tracks I did not think belonged to our animals. Was someone following us? The thought did cross my mind but then I told myself I was probably just developing the kind of old West paranoia a place like this could give you.
The above is a fake account of the adventures of Harriet Bighorn and Jack Punch but perhaps next year sometime you will find the duo and their animals out for real reporting from your land and ours, the public lands of the West.