More than a decade ago, a rancher friend and fellow packer in Colorado, needed help getting his hunting camp prepared for the elk hunters. Jerry was on it, no hesitation, he's like that. Putting together a group of buddies from California, mostly city boys, most never on horseback, they set out for Durango. They became wranglers, cowboys, mountain men, away from "it all" for a week. They rode horses, leading mules carrying supplies up the mountain, to 'the cabin'. They repaired corrals, cleaned the cabin, put up tents, chopped down trees, split fire wood, engineered a system to obtain water from a spring, dug a toilet. They were hooked. It has become a yearly tradition; this trip of the City Slickers, the faces change occasionally as an extra man is invited or an old timer just can't make it. But the trip stays the same.
Until this year.
A woman tagged along.
I opposed the idea, the idea of one woman infiltrating the ranks of men celebrating their escape. Jerry insisted, went to all lengths to get me on this trip. I argued that it was a MAN trip. He emailed all the men asking if they minded me coming along, they all responded favorably. I am not dumb, of course they would say yes to the Boss-man, the one who gets them to the Colorado Back country. He's like that.
So I was in.
But another concern of mine, this vacation to go do work? Huh? Explain that to me please. I have horses here at home that aren't ridden enough for the amount of food they consume, there is work aplenty here at home, I have mountains practically in my back yard, I have all the camping gear needed to survive years in the wilderness, when I go camping my goal is to escape and relax. The cowboy assures me, I will have to do no work, just relax, enjoy the mountains, take a few pictures, and be in his presence. Oh boy.
We all met in Durango, some flew in, some drove. Six rugged cowboys for the week. and me.
First order of business was grocery shopping. I just followed behind taking pictures and gulping at the amount of vittles being tossed in the baskets. It was disturbing to have folks stop and say howdy to the cowboys, and tell them it was good to see them back again. Now, I can shop somewhere weekly for a year and I am not recognised, what's up with that? I start wondering if they shoot up the town when they come back, get rip roaring drunk and get thrown out of saloons, or something else crazy.
Horses and mules are picked up, the rancher friend has a list of work to be done at the cabin. Packs are sorted and loaded. Horses and mules are saddled and bridled. Above is the trail head leading away from civilization and into the wilderness.
The trail was steep. We took frequent breaks to let the animals catch their breath and rest. Seven horses and five mules. The mules carried our bedrolls, our clothes, our food, chain saws and tools.
Rustic, simple, quiet. My home for a week.
Rustic, simple, not so quiet, my companions for a week.THE TOILET.
Rustic, simple... an entire week!
Just a short little walk up from the cabin. (read - can be seen from the cabin!)
True my friends. No indoor plumbing. See the walls, the ceiling, notice the privacy... Exactly!
My plan: to only have to use the facility in the dark.
Result: total failure.
HEAVEN HELP ME.