Friday, 5 August 2016

Cross Country

The open Wyoming ranges do not have the close network of public roads that exist in more populated areas, and because much of the land is privately owned it becomes increasingly difficult to follow the line of the Pony Express Trail.  This is where the advice and help of the NPEA became so vital.  From where I was staying with Carl, the trail crosses private land to Glendo.  The Pony Express re-ride originally kept close to the trail here, but unfortunately one of the ranches en route has been purchased by someone 'from the east' (which I assume refers to an American businessman rather than an arab sheikh with his harem) who is unwilling to let riders through.  Carl has scouted out a new route for the re-ride through neighbouring ranches and volunteered to guide me through. So on the morning of Thursday May 19th we set off behind Carl (on the right) and friend Duane, mounted not on four legged friends but a four wheeled ATV.
 Carl shows me a marker where the Pony Express Trail crosses the track. 
The trees in the background follow the course of Cottonwood Creek, and Cottonwood Pony Express station was off to the right.  Rather confusingly Cottonwood appears in station names several times along the course of the trail, but perhaps not unsurprisingly as cottonwood trees were one of the main landscape features at the time!
From here we deviated from the track and Carl led me on a cross country route which I would have found almost impossible to find on my own. 
 We meet up with cattlemen Doug and Kenny Brickman, who own the ranch were crossing...
.. we continue on our way while they inspect their cows and calves...
Eventually we came to the South Glendo Highway, where I said good bye to the Dynamic Duo and followed the long straight road through open ranch land to the site of Horseshoe Creek Pony Express station just before Glendo.  Here are the horses grazing by the station marker...
This was the home of the infamous Jack Slade, whose novel method of shooting Jules Reni of Julesburg I have already described in a previous post - see Skipping Through Colorado.  He was hired by the Central Overland and Pike's Peak Company as a Division Two superintendent to bring order and prevent the loss of company property, and in pursuit of his duty he was reputed to have killed several men, exact number undetermined.  He lived here with his wife Maria Virginia, who seemed to aspire to being a sort of Real Housewife of Glendo, as Burton noted that the extensive buildings were 'got up regardless of expense'.
 An excellent camp spot by the rodeo ground in Glendo, with plenty of grass and hydrant water..
... and a short walk from a café decorated in usual Western style with dead animals...
...It would have been an almost perfect spot but for its location near the railway - the trains trundled past all night, blasting their horns as they came through town.

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