Monday, 22 August 2016

Charging my batteries

Wednesday June 8th and we cross the Green River on the bridge that I camped under the previous night.
In Pony Express days there was a ferry here , though the river could be forded during the drier months of the year.
From here we had to tackle a twenty-four mile stretch of remote and waterless country, following the Oregon/Pony Express Trail to Granger.  I was not particularly concerned about this as the weather was relatively cool, (in endurance events when horses are covering ground fast in average weather conditions, they rarely drink before thirty miles) but Andy kindly offered to bring some water out for the horses if he had time.
Unfortunately my camera ran out of battery, so I was only able to take a handful of photos en route, though to be honest it all looked much the same the whole day...
Andy caught up with me with water supply as promised, but by that time I had nearly reached Granger and the horses only took a sip as they had already drunk out of a puddle from the recent rain we had encountered en route!

Grassy camp spot on 'Annie's land' (now owned by Granger town) by the Black Forks river in Granger.
You can just see the horses on the right near the river, while my tent is tucked in under the trees on the left.     The only restaurant in town was closed, but by coincidence I got talking to a friendly woman who turned out to be Annie herself, and she drove me over to 'Little America'  service area to get something to eat, and I charged my batteries in the town leisure centre.
This unassuming sign stuck onto a wire fence in Granger was to salute the achievement of George Wyman who was the first person to cross America, not as I first thought on a bicycle.... 
but on a motorised bicycle. In fact he was inspired by Thomas Stevens who was the first person to cycle round the world, and whose descendant I met on the road in Missouri.

Sunset in Granger....
Lady and Mo on the morning of Thursday June 9th by South Bend stage coach station in Granger...
The Ham's and Black's Forks of the Green River join here at Granger, and fur trappers and traders passed this way as early as 1824, before the emigrants started travelling through.  Burton stated that in 1860 the Ham's Fork Pony Express station  was kept by an Irishman and a Scotchman, Dawvid Lewis and his two Irish wives, and described it as squalid, filthy and full of children.   According to him it was a dry-stone shanty built into a river cliff, and thus cannot to be the sturdy stone and adobe building in the photo above.  This was probably built around 1862 and is now a heritage site.

About fifteen miles from Granger along the Oregon/Pony Express trail we came to Church Butte, another important landmark....
There is disagreement about the existence and location of a Pony Express station at Church Butte, but a few miles on I stopped for a midday rest by the Black's Fork river, quite by accident at a possible site. You may just be able to see the Pony Express station marker in the sage brush to the bottom right of the photo below...
I sheltered from the sun and wind under the small tree, and the horses grazed along the river bank which was lined with lush grass.  A couple of guys with metal detectors turned up who told me there had also been an army camp here during the Mormon war.  Somewhere between here and Lyman we would have passed the site of Millersville Pony Express station of which there is nothing left.   Burton describes it as a clean and comfortable ranch run by a Mormon couple.
Sheep on the road nearing Lyman... 
..which turned out to be like an oasis in the sage brush desert, with leafy trees and lush grass.
A long day in which we covered around thirty-four miles, but it was worth it to reach Lyman and take advantage of great hospitality at the home of NPEA member Kendall Potter in Mountain View.   The horses took full advantage of my decision to take another day off - Mo sunbathes while Lady has a scratch....
This break gave me a chance to charge my batteries again (physical, mental and electronic), plan my next few stops and organise a vet inspection for the horses' Utah health certificates. 
Kendall serves up a historic fluffy German pancake for breakfast!
...and the antelope steak for supper was pretty awesome as well.   

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