Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Through Casper

Tuesday May 24th  Susan and Les, who was off with a friend to help with a branding session.
Not sure what the bad smell was but I hope it wasn't me.
The saddle blanket that Rhonda gave me in Oak had started fraying, so here is Mo modelling the snazzy new Navajo blanket I bought in Casper for him.
 The road to Casper...
The innocent clouds on the horizon quickly developed into an almighty thunderstorm with forked lightning which I thankfully just managed to avoid by back tracking until it passed over.   Dead antelope in various stages of decomposition are a common sight by the side of the road in these parts.....
 ...so common that the horses are totally unconcerned.

I had sorted out somewhere just outside Casper to camp and graze the horses overnight at a boarding ranch owned by the Price family...

In the background is Casper Mountain.  Wendy Price invited me in for a fabulous walleye fish supper in their unique house which used to be a railway station. Here she is with her mother and daughters Cheyenne and Carisse (?).
Husband Clay Price has worked in China, and was brought up on a ranch near Pinedale, Wyoming. It transpired that it adjoined a ranch where I stayed many moons ago which used to be owned by friends of my family.  Small world.
Riding into Casper along a rail trail on the morning of Wednesday May 25th....
On the way through Casper we passed Fort Caspar, named after US army officer Caspar Collins who was killed by Sioux and Cheyenne warriors at the 1865 Battle of the Platte Bridge station. It was yet another historic site I did not have time to visit, not helped by the fact that another almighty thunderstorm brewed up out of nowhere just as I reached it.  I was forced to dive for cover in a nearby pedestrian underpass, so this is the best view I have as I approached... 
Think that is said thunderstorm lurking on the far left.  Casper Fairground is behind the wall, while the site of Fort Caspar is where the North Platte river curves round in the distance.  A trading post and toll bridge was originally established there in 1859, and it was then taken over by the army and became Platte Bridge Station, the name it was called when it served as a Pony Express station.
Like Fort Kearny, you may notice that the town and the fort are spelt differently. 
I was aiming for the home of Diadra Homan, the NPEA re-ride captain for this section.  She drove out to guide me in through the west Casper suburbs to her lovely home on Zero road.  The horses were turned out in a huge paddock, and are distant specks in the photo below with Casper Mountain in the background.  This was also the view from my luxurious bedroom..
 Diadra treated me to a meal out, and helped me plan the next leg of my route.  Diadra and husband Mike, who run a concrete pouring business together.

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