Playing Cowboy Days 40-44: 5 Day Hot Springs Pack Trip

I feel really good right now. Like the past five days were some sort of merging of skills I’ve acquired in the last ten years that are relevant above eight thousand feet and I just passed the final exam. Dan, Mike and I lead a group of five up North Brush Creek, camped the first night, went up and over to the Valley View Hot Springs on the Western slope of the Sangres on Tuesday, and chilled out there until Thursday morning. We camped at treeline on the other side that night, and then went up and over to the trailhead on Friday.

Words feel inadequate to describe the state of satisfaction that I have sitting here at Poag’s after this week. We took a German couple, a local couple, and a woman from Dallas on a five day adventure. They all made it back with smiles on their faces. I had a hell of a great trip. We were tipped well. I just had an awesome meal at Cel Dor Asado, including the apple crisp dessert that is my new favorite, and now am sucking down a Smithwick’s at Poag’s.

Monday morning we left the ranch, two trucks with trailers laden by horse and a fifteen passenger van comfortably loaded with our five custies. We drove to the trailhead, unloaded horses from trailers, filled panniers with gear, and hung them from the sawbucks of our four pack horses. After a riding lesson we hit the trail sometime before noon and one of the Germans said, “Pretty good weather this trip.”

As soon as we laid picnic blankets for lunch it started raining. It didn’t stop until just before we hit camp, several miles up at the top of the basin.

Photobucket

Fortunately the rain broke long enough for us to pitch tents, set up the kitchen and cook dinner, and be about ready to go to bed. Then it returned, came off and on throughout the night, and by the next morning we understood why: We were in a cloud.

Photobucket

We took our time getting out of camp that morning, primarily because the trip leader, when presented with the problem of Yarrow’s picket line being too short and thus he had eaten all the grass in range, decided that the best solution was to untie the horse and set it free. That’s the short story. We spent the early afternoon, since we didn’t break camp until after noon, walking up the Eastern slope in a cloud. It was pretty magical when we broke the backbone of the Sangres though, complete cloud on the Eastern side and Summer day on the West.

Photobucket

Photobucket

We arrived at Valley View Hot Springs Tuesday evening and the relaxing began. Set up camp, dinner, campfire and music, and then go soak.

The hot springs are basically a nudist colony. Sorry, Mom. I didn’t take many pictures. Wednesday was perhaps the most relaxing day of my life, and this place is somewhere that I’m going to return.

Photobucket

Thursday morning we packed up and left, heading up the Major Creek trail until treeline. We made camp, picketed the horses, cooked dinner, hung by the fire, and went to sleep. I finished The Fountainhead after several months of being in the novel (as is necessary with most Ayn Rand books).

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

We broke camp early the following morning as we had to go up and over, have lunch, and then make it to the trailhead in a reasonable amount of time. We did so well.

Photobucket

Photobucket

The trip was fantastic personally. It felt really good to be in the woods for the longest time straight since sometime in 2005. After we unloaded everything at the ranch, we cracked some beers and hung out in front of my cabin, watching the sunset over the ranch and valley, basking in the glory of the satisfaction of a job well done.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Peace and good luck,

Devo

Playing Cowboy Days 38 and 39: Weekend Before a 5 Day

I coulda been at a beach house in Malibu with a pretty girl this weekend, but I declined because I said that I would be back on the ranch to help lead a day ride in the Sangres on Saturday. I told this to Mike. He looked at me funny and replied, “Dumb ass.”

I agreed when Saturday morning, after being waken up by the horse shit barrage, we booked an 8 person 2 hour ride on the ranch and Dave pulled me from the Sangres ride to help with that one. It was much of the families of a couple getting married that afternoon. We accommodated them well and then gave them a good ride, and they thanked us by piling into their Suburban and driving away. We wished them thundershowers, a runaway bride, and anything else that could ruin a wedding on a Saturday afternoon.

After we unsaddled ten horses I drove into town to get some lunch and go to the Wet Mountain Western Jubilee, a traditional Western music festival. It was the first music festival that I’ve ever been to with chairs and only six outhouses. I don’t see the point in sitting down at concerts, especially ones outside in the summer time, but since the median age was likely over sixty I understood. It still didn’t mean I was sitting down. The first band I heads was called The Haunted Windchimes and they were really sweet. I posted up about six rows back, standing next to the center tent support pole in the center aisle to do my best to not stand in front of anybody. It took about three songs for a Custer County sheriff to tell me that I couldn’t stand there and I should find a seat. I don’t want to sit and I don’t want to stand in front of a chair, certainly blocking somebody’s view there. Stand in the back then. As much as I really wanted to go to war I knew that I would lose, and moved next to the sound booth where I stood unmolested for the rest of the show.

My favorite act was Waddie Mitchell, a cowboy poet and wordsmith like I have never heard live. His poems were stories that painted a picture in my mind so vibrant that I sat screwed to my chair, transfixed by the words falling over me like magic water. He introduced Don Edwards, an apparently legendary country singer and songwriter. He received quite a reception and I was impressed with his music. I don’t know much about classic country but shows like this one make me want to know more.

I wasn’t feeling the dance afterward and just headed to Poag’s for dinner, beer, and internet. I worked online for a couple of hours, trying to get everything taken care of before this 5 day pack trip leaving on Monday. Think I lost a couple hundred bucks.

Sunday morning I slept in til 8:30am (that’s so weird to say still) since there wasn’t anything going on at the ranch. I joined Mike and his family for breakfast, they reminded me more about how I was a dumb ass for not being at a beach house in Malibu, but I didn’t mind too much today because I was going to be traveling all day if I had gone out there. A lazy and productive day in Colorado is much better than traveling anywhere. After breakfast I drove to the Alvarado trail head to finish up my work for the month before spending the afternoon playing tournaments online. I don’t understand how Verizon doesn’t work on the ranch or in town, but does in the middle of hay fields and at trail heads. Prettier offices anyways. After arriving I realized I left my laptop in my cabin. Back to the ranch.

Tournaments started at 2pm, it was shortly after 11am. Bored, I came up with an adventure. I forgot to tell y’all about Rudy being struck by lightning last week while I was in LA. Tuesday morning when Dave and Mike did round-up they found a dead horse, unfortunately one of our best. Poor Rudy. Two weeks ago potatoes were falling out of the sky around him as we fell to the deck in laughter, and last week he gets blasted by lightning. 1200 pounds of horse chop will bring in all sorts of wildlife, so I decided on going for a hike, partially to check out what a horse hit by lightning looked like and also hoping to see some critters.

I strapped my six shooter to my side and walked out into West, headed up horse highway into the woods. It’s a neat feeling being out in the woods by yourself, and walking through the thick North woods I pondered on the last person to be where I was. When all you can hear is wind blowing through Aspens life is at peace. I walked past an old fire ring not used in years, and looked down from the ridge into Lee’s meadow and the original homestead, settled a hundred and fifty years ago by German potato farmers. It’s still in use today, the ranch owner’s private residence. The Ute’s were here long before the Germans were, and with so many years of people walking these woods before me I was grateful that it laid mostly as untouched as it was a thousand years ago.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

I could hear the call of a Golden Eagle, screeches of Red Tailed Hawks, and saw several Ravens circling. The last thing I wanted to do was find a need for my sidearm by spooking some bear off his buffet, so I scouted from high on the ridge to make sure things were clear before approaching Rudy. Disappointed I didn’t see anything, I approached the corpse, from downwind, and smelt the decay of life before I could see anything close.

Photobucket

He lay on the ground like a plastic horse figurine knocked on its side. Two legs on the ground and two above sticking straight out parallel, the rigormortis in full effect. He was way less chewed up than I expected; Dave predicted that he’d be a skeleton within a week or two. My adventurous spirit turned grave quickly, and I was reminded once again how fragile life really is. Hell I might not make it back to the ranch, it’s not like it’s impossible to be struck by lightning out here. It’s nice and good to plan, but we’re only really guaranteed this present moment. I feel like people cheat today worrying too much about tomorrow.

I didn’t spend more than a couple of minutes there. Just wasn’t a pleasant place to hang out, next to a horse that I’d spent hours on the back of in the past month. I walked back a different route, down across South pasture and through the gate into West. I could see the ranch in front of me, but I could also see the junkyard off to my right. I knew that for years the ranch had used this place as their dump, initially filling up a couple of mine shafts but eventually creating their own collection of a hundred and fifty years of ranch junk. I figured there had to be something cool over there.

Photobucket

I didn’t find anything too exciting unfortunately. It was neat to poke around a bit, but you didn’t miss out on anything Fuller. I crawled through the barbed wire fence and walked back on County Road 271, waving at the one truck and two motorcycles that passed by, and changed out of my boots and into sandals back in my cabin.

Photobucket

I headed to Dave and Michelle’s, played the Ultimate Bet $200k and UBOC event 8 $1k, two other tournaments, and one cash game for several hours. I started out well everywhere and then lost flips and ran bad to bust them all somewhat early in the evening. No problem, gave me time to write, and now I’m headed to the ranch to pack for the 5 day I’m going on tomorrow.

Dan, Mike and I are leading a five day pack trip with the destination being some hippie hot springs on the other side. Michelle told me that I wasn’t allowed to be naked in front of custies. I have no idea why she would find it important to inform me of this rule. I’ll shoot a bunch of pictures and solve the problems of the world soaking in natural hot tubs. Bye bye society see ya on Friday.

Peace and good luck,

Devo

Playing Cowboy Days 35-37: Intermission for an Audition

I had a most excellent few days in Southern California, not something I get to say very often. The congestion of the place just depresses me.

I made it down Tuesday evening and promptly took my Mother and Brother out to my favorite restaurant, North Woods Inn. It was good dinner and a good time, it was nice to catch up with them a bit. That evening I visited my old friend from Forest Home Serenity and her two kids. It was good to reconnect with an old good friend that I hadn’t seen in years.

Wednesday was work and prep day. I hosted the Ultimate Bet Online Championship 5 event #2, a $250+17 PLO/PLH tournament. I intended on recording live for Poker VT but left my microphone in Las Vegas. I picked up a headset that will work with Skype also, and then went to get my hair cut at the local barber to match my newly shaven face. I really wanted to leave the beard, but my actress friend Karri advised that I fill the box of what they’re looking for at the audition. Good bye scruff.

The tournaments went okay, I profited $4 between the one I hosted and the $320 sniper that Sebok hosted. I recorded them both, shooting a little over three hours of video that I think came out really good.

The following day was the reason that I left the ranch for this week. I was auditioning for the new WPT segment “The Raw Deal.” I sported a slick suit and showed up at the bike right when I said I would. There were like 20-30 people milling about who all looked like they had zero chance. I walked in, was moved straight to the front of the line, personally greeted by Mike Sexton, and I gave it my best shot. They asked my opinion on a hand, then asked if I had any problem calling out people, I said no, but then when they asked me to talk about who’s bad I had nothin’. I can’t help it, I’m too much of a sweetheart. It’s totally a different case though when you’re commentating on hands in progress versus just talking about people who suck at poker. Besides that (and even accounting for that) I feel like I hit a home run and have a good feeling about my chances. I assume that it’s a good sign that they published one photo from the audition and it was of me in the act.

Afterwards I headed into the heart of LA to have some happy hour with Karri. One beer led to more beer and ended with me leaving early in the morning, unable to drive the night before, but not wanting to leave anyways as I had one of the best times I’ve ever had hanging out with a woman. She’s great people with a heart of gold and I’m proud to be her friend. I made it across the Mojave just fine, found Jared in my apartment and was like sweet, ride to the airport, and have eaten dinner and written this blog in Colorado within 10 hours of waking up this morning. Not bad. I’m headed back to the ranch.

Peace and good luck,

Devo

Playing Cowboy Days 31-34: Reflections from Vegas

It doesn’t feel good here in Vegas. Not just the gross feeling of stepping into a pressure cooker when I got off the airplane at 6pm Left Coast time yesterday. I haven’t put my finger on it yet, but I just don’t feel right here. I went to sleep with this feeling (before midnight) and woke up (around 8am) still holding on to it thirty minutes later as I sip coffee and try to pen out these thoughts.

I realized a few years ago that my happiest years came before all this poker stuff, in the days when I was always almost broke. It certainly sucked being broke broke; I can remember as recently as 2003 digging through the seats in my 1988 Jeep Cherokee to find change so I could afford a meal. I don’t want to be back in that spot anytime, like, ever in my future, but I was happier that year than I was in 2007. That also doesn’t mean that I was unhappy then, or am unhappy now, I was just more happy in the days before the grind.

It’s odd too looking back on those 2003-2005 years. I’ve regretted often about not having a better work ethic and drive to succeed back then, knowing now the marshmallow meadow that I found myself smack dab in the middle of. 100-200 limit hold’em games were playing then like the 5-10 games do now. I could have been rich with a little bit of drive, but instead I was content to four table 2-4 LHE, make an easy $100 a day in a couple of hours, and then go do something outside for the rest of the day.

But then again if I was rich, I also probably wouldn’t have much of the life experience that I am rich in. I have seen many kids come and go in the past five years in the poker world. Most of them haven’t made it. Many of the ones that have wish that they hadn’t. Poker inevitably becomes a grind, for just about everybody I can think of besides Basebaldy who has like nine losing sessions lifetime. When things become that grind, when no matter what you do you can’t win, work sucks. It’s not fun. And eventually we play worse, making the run bad worse, and making us unhappier. There has to be something to balance out work, no matter if you’re a professional poker player or a poop smith. Many a porta-potty managers have played poker for pleasure. And I tell you what I sure don’t mind shoveling shit at the ranch.

The point is, if all you do is work, what’s the point? I haven’t found a job in the world that isn’t work at one time or another. Whitewater rafting guides still have to throw boats, be at the boathouse early in the morning, and cook lots. Youth ministers don’t spend much time working with kids, but do spend a lot of time dealing with bullshit in the church office. Poker players (especially tournament pros) don’t spend much time in the spotlight, but do spend a lot of time working on their game to stay on top, and sometimes being on top of your game yields zero time actually on top. There are few jobs in the world that people actually love, and even in those that people love there are still bad days. If there isn’t something else going on in life that makes us happy, then we’re eventually going to end up unhappy.

For the past month I’ve saturated myself in the goodness of being somewhere I love doing something I enjoy, the two fundamental keys to happiness. If I’m not somewhere I love, why? Only I control the two legs I’m standing on. If I’m not doing something I love, why? Does it enable me to get out and do what I love? Am I actually getting out and doing what I love?

There’s no way our lives are all about working our asses off until we have enough money to quit and do nothing. We’re mammals, and the only ones on the planet that have complicated life beyond eating, sleeping, and mating. The reason I work is to help me do those three things with ease and have the freedom to enjoy life as it was intended, without schedules other than sleeping and seasons.

I find that when I’m enjoying my life I run better. It doesn’t make any sense to me at all, because fluctuation is random, but I’ve almost always run poorly in the winters and awesome in the spring and fall. When in a new and exciting relationship, winner. On the opposite end, loser. My PTR graph is an excellent example of that one in the past year. Things good in the fall, fall apart in January, finish end of April, knee goes pop, a month is taken off, and suddenly it’s raining dollars.

Last year, coming back from the motorcycle trip, I was excited to be home. I was looking forward to moving in with Shelley. I had confirmed that I love living in Las Vegas and couldn’t see myself anywhere else except Colorado, as much as Court would like to get me out to North Carolina. I knew that Colorado would have to remain a vacation destination for the foreseeable future and that I belonged in Vegas. Now, showing up in Vegas for less than 24 hours, I do not feel right here.

I’d much rather be back in Colorado doing what I was doing Sunday. Hunting rattlesnakes, shooting beer cans, and exploring old mines, wondering if that dynamite box inside that barrel had dynamite in it. I would rather be spending my day like Saturday, riding in the morning, hanging at the jump rocks on the river that afternoon, watching live music in Salida as the sun set, and being in bed before midnight at the ranch.

I definitely see myself being back here and stoked in a month from now, but not yet. Not when it’s 95 degrees at 9:37am. Not when I have a return flight to Colorado in three days. Know why I’m most excited to be back in Vegas? To work. To write this. To host a UBOC event tomorrow, make a video on it, and to audition in LA on Thursday.

The greatest journeys answer questions at the end that you didn’t know you had in the beginning. I’m still figuring out the questions and I’m okay with that.

Peace and good luck,

Devo

Playing Cowboy Days 28-30: Gone Fishin’, Instead of Just a Wishin’

Wednesday the only ride we had going out was a 4 person day ride in the Sangres. Barb and I led a family of 3 and the daughter’s college roomie up to Venable Lakes. They were good riders and good people, and we all had an excellent afternoon. Shortly after arriving at the lake we spread lunch, I tie on a fly, and promptly snapped it off in the shrubbery. Ate my bagel, mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce and turkey sandwich, and tied on another fly. Barb and the three girls went on a hike up the hill, Dennis watched me fish. He fly fishes, was sad that he didn’t bring his rod, and I kept offering him mine. I caught 7 fish, he went off for a business call, I gave the rod to his daughter, she caught a fish, and then I finally talked him into fishing. He caught a couple, I caught one more making the total eleven, and we headed back down the hill.

Photobucket

Photobucket

We made it back to the ranch around 6:30pm, I talked Barb into heading to dinner at the Feed Barn, and we drove straight there smelling like horse and fish. Shortly after we arrived, Ladonna and Greg, the owners of Poag’s, plus another friend walked in. I invited them to join us, and within twenty minutes were were a group of twelve, loosely related eating and drinking on the back deck watching the sun set behind the Sangres. From there we walked to Poag’s, had a couple more beers, and then headed back to the ranch.

We found more people and beer at the ranch than there was at the bar. I’m still not sure exactly how or why those 5 recent college grad kids from the Springs belonged there, apparently one of their dads is part owner in the ranch or something. Mike and I had one of their Pabst and we laughed our asses off at this one kid trying and failing at the ball and string into the can game. Finally, sleep.

Thursday was a reasonably late morning, only a 2 hour trail ride going out at 10am. I folded on that ride because I forgot to buy milk the night before and didn’t have anything to eat for breakfast, and hungry Bryan is a grumpy one. No worries I love breakfasts. Things have started slowing down at the ranch lately. Part of me enjoys the break to get out and do other stuff, but I’d really rather have things to do at the ranch. Thus I had to suffer through an hour of sitting in a lawn chair reading Ayn Rand with my shirt off waiting for Dave and his Dad to come pick me up to go fishing after a delicious omelet with a biscuit and gravy.

We headed to San Isabel reservoir, fished the tailwaters first, and the closest thing I came to catching was a snake. No joke. Up to the lake, same spot as last week, and we did a little more relaxin than fishin, and I only (lol) caught 6. Dinner, drive home, early night to bed, read for an hour, wake up the following morning feeling great.

Only a ranch ride for the day going out Friday. Only a two person. Looks like I have another day off. I embarked on an adventure, not really sure where I was going to end up or for how long I was going to be gone for, so I brought a lot of my stuff, which isn’t very much here. Backpack with laptop, chair, cooler with the beer that we didn’t drink yesterday fishing, wallet with $500, water, and fishing gear. I headed into the hills intending on crossing Music Pass up and over to the other side, getting at least to the Great Sand Dunes. Turns out that Music Pass hasn’t gone up and over for 20 years. It’s Medano Pass that I wanted, several miles to the South. At that point there was only one way out, an hour down the dirt road that I just came up, so I found my spot to hang out at.

I worked for 2.5 hours playing online on Ultimate Bet until my battery ran out, and won over a dime. I posted some sweet pics of my office today on Twitter (devopoker). Read for a while, and then a lil after 4pm I headed downhill.

Not too far into the drive I came head to head with a Toyota Tacoma towing a horse trailer. What the hell are they thinking bringing a horse trailer up here? Since they’re headed uphill they have the right of way, there is no room on the entire road to pass side by side. I back uphill to a turnout (bulldozed car sized strip of forest so y’all can get past each other), park, and wait. … … Aw shit. They’re stuck. Out of the truck, walk downhill, and sure ’nuff, they’re stuck.

“What in the hell were y’all thinking bringing a horse trailer up here?”

We’ve made it before.

Their truck was in the trail and their trailer was cockeyed and twisted on the driver’s side berm behind them. There was no way to get around them.

Can you help us get the trailer back into the road?

… FML.

I walk back to my truck, put on my Chacos, turn around (which requires a 7 point turn, bulldozer aided), and back down the hill. He throws the cable attached to the front of his truck to my hitch, and here we go, starting from a very steep, rocky, incline.

My Ford kicked ass. I drag his truck and trailer to the top of the hill, through the gnarly stuff, and he tipped me $10. Thanks. I would have refused $ from the lady whose flat tire I fixed, but from somebody who deliberately took their trailer up a rocky dirt road that was impossible for them to turn around on, get stuck, and then get bailed out easily, he should have given me $100. But I couldn’t get going until he got out of the way so I got him out of the way.

Then I headed to town and rented my first shower. I’ve never done that before, but I paid $5 to the Westcliffe Inn to take a shower. It was fantastic. Way better than the solar shower obviously, and I didn’t have to drive back to the ranch. Then to dinner, I had me some Cel Dor Asado again, place is amazing. Mike came in at dessert, and here we are at the Feed Barn having a Bud Light.

Peace and good luck,

Devo

Playing Cowboy Days 24-27: Poker?

Saturday morning. Round-up. Rodney the farrier came to do half a dozen horses, and Dave and I geared up to lead a ride, just a two hour on the ranch. I can see how these can get mundane, but with 3500 acres to explore and awesome views of the Sangres, I haven’t gotten sick of them yet. Plus I like having a critter between my legs and the more time I spend in the saddle the gooder I’m gonna get.

That afternoon there wasn’t anything going on, and I’ve finally gotten the itch back to play some cards so I headed to my bar in town, Poag’s. I discovered their couch in the back, plugged in and plopped down. I put in a good four plus hour session, playing a bunch of $50+5 turbo SNG’s and one table of $1-2 NLHE. I won my first 3 sngs and stacked a guy AA>JJ aipf. Mmm this poker stuff can be fun. I quit somewhere around 6:30, up about $1300, leaving myself enough time to eat some food before going to see Toy Story 3 at the Jones Theatre in town.

It was the last showing before the movie left the theatre. It was also the 2nd showing. The first was Friday night. I don’t think I’ll ever get totally used to small town living, but I do enjoy and appreciate it, possibly even prefer it. I dunno yet. Right at the climax of the movie, the audio just died. The seventy people in the audience all said awwww, and patiently waited for them to get it fixed, which they did. Good flick. I headed back to the ranch, got a good night’s sleep, and woke up Sunday morning for round-up.

Sunday looked much like Saturday with a ride in the morning and the afternoon off. The good day at the tables yesterday gave me plenty of motivation to play this afternoon too. Since I put on my last pair of socks that morning it was time for laundry. I went over to Dave and Michelle’s place, put in a load, took a shower, and was playing online by 2pm. I hadn’t played a Sunday online in over a month, so it actually kinda felt good to be playing again. That is until I started getting hands (poker, obv) shoved up my ass. I was stuck pretty good until I closed out the night winning 3 sng’s in a row making me a small winner in cash and medium loser in tourneys. I felt good with how I was playing and am slowly getting ready to get back on the grind.

When I got back to the ranch we had 5 voice mails form people who wanted to ride Monday morning. We only had one morning ride on the schedule, and since I didn’t check them until after I was done sitting around the campfire, they didn’t get called back until the morning. They all showed up, including another group in the afternoon. Barb and I took out a group of 9 in the morning, then Mike and I took out a group of 11 in the afternoon.

It was a strange day. I mean, I guess on any given day when you are woken up by horse poop being thrown at your window, it just has to be odd. Very Friday the 13th-ish or full moon-esque. More horses spooking at weird things than ever before, customers dropping water bottles like they were two year olds in high chairs playing fetch with their parents, a baby rattlesnake in a bush right after a gate that fortunately zero of the 14 horses in the vicinity stepped on (and all moved away calmly when I spotted it). When we finished the afternoon ride this lady from the Forest Service approached me saying she had a question. I told her I might have an answer. I can’t imagine that dealing with the Forest Service is ever a truly pleasant experience, since they are our regulatory authorities and all. She told me that somebody got a flat tire on the highway, quarter mile down to the left, and they don’t have a star to get the lugs off. Yeah, we got stars aka 4-ways, and I’ll be there as soon as I’m done taking care of these clients.

I pull a jack and 4-way out of one of the trucks and head to the highway. I see their vehicle parked mostly in the entire Westbound lane of a two lane highway. Makes more sense than pulling off the road into the grass obviously. Course what are you to expect from some city folk who can’t change their own tire?

Really long story short, they had all the necessary tools there themselves. The “star” that they were referring to was like a star bit, not a 4-way, to remove what they thought were the lugs. This Volkswagen had 5 individual lug nut covers, all with a star shaped hole in the middle that they assumed must be the lugs. I whip out my Leatherman, peel off the lug covers, get the tire changed, and send them to Westcliffe Petroleum to get the tire fixed. We take care of our neighbors out here in the country. Turns out that the vehicle owner just bought a cabin on another county road in the area.

Immediately after that I headed to town to eat, I didn’t have a chance to have lunch due to the big rides that day. I walked into Poag’s, and immediately felt tension in the air that lasted until I finally had enough and left a few hours later. I played 4 tables of cash for 3 hours, salvaging a big losing session in the last 15 minutes with a couple of stackings. Only lost $300. In the first hour I got stuck about that much, even with flopping a straight flush, rivering a royal that I barreled the draw twice on, and getting a stake share of the bad beat jackpot hit at another 1-2 table that I wasn’t on. Although, now that I think about it.. I might not have been playing at any jackpot tables at the time so might not have even gotten the $62. Made it back to the ranch early, finished the “Bible” of pack horses, and got another good night’s sleep.

Tuesday morning I made it awake before the barrage of horse shit, before anybody else in fact, and headed into the catch pen with two halters. I found it very strange that Rudy was in one corner and Mariah was in the opposite, closest to the trees in West. She was pacing along the fence line. She usually comes to us since she loves round-up so much. I decided to catch Rudy first since he can be a pain, and I expected her to walk to me by then anyways. She didn’t, and after Rudy let me give him some lovin’, he realized that I didn’t have apple snacks and walked away. At least he was heading for Mariah in the other corner. He stopped just short of her, let me put on the halter, and then I saw one of our big black horses walking toward me in the corner of the catch pen from the trees in West. His front left leg looked strange, like it had been wrapped in red medical bandage. I quickly realized that this wasn’t the case, the red was blood and what I thought was fabric was a big chunk of flesh hanging off the bone. Blood had soaked his entire front leg crimson. I could see it flowing copiously and reflecting in the morning light. Fortunately I had the phone in my back pocket and called Dave.

“Morning. You have a fucked up horse here, and I don’t know what to do. I think it’s Ranger but I’m not sure. Well, he’s walking along the fenceline back to the corral so I’ll pick him up there and get him somewhere safe. See you in a bit.” I haltered Mariah, led her and Rudy into the corral, and Ranger was standing in the holding pen still gushing blood. I got a halter on him, lead him into the round pen, tied him up short, and took a closer look at the wound. It looked like he ran through a fence with lots small barbed wire cuts, but nothing compared to the wound on his upper leg. It was a good six inches long, couple wide, and the entire chunk of muscle and flesh was like a flap open all the way to the bone.

Ranger, aka Lone Ranger, is new to the herd this year. He was given to a friend of the ranch Deb, who wanted to use him on the ranch, but after two rides he was deemed unusable even for a guide horse, and being 25 years old, there was no interest in our buying him. Nobody in the herd likes him, he’s quite spooky, and generally stands off on his own, hence the name. We assume that he must have been chased into a fence because he’s not aggressive or flighty. Dave showed up shortly after we got him secured, and it took the three of us to keep him held so Dave could wrap the wound. He did his best to put a clean cloth over the flap, putting it back in place as good as possible, and then wrapped it in horse medical tape. He then went about trying to get a hold of Deb and the vet figuring out what to do next, and when I left this morning it was still up in the air.

I came to town, had breakfast, talked with my manager Katie a bit about an audition for the WPT on camera role that I’ve been invited to, and I booked a flight back to Vegas for that week so I can be in LA in person for the audition. I feel like it’s something I can do well with a little coaching and help, and I intend on giving it my best shot. I hope they don’t make me shave my beard off. I’ll come back on the 20th, gear up for a 5 day pack trip leaving on the 23rd, and then think about coming back sometime in September. It’ll be good to spend a few days at home I think.

Peace and good luck,

Devo

Playing Cowboy Days 21-23: Fly Fisher Man

Wednesday morning we woke up, did round-up, and saddled horses for the two rides going out that morning, both couples, one on a 2hr and another on a ranch day ride. Rick and I were the first two up, we walked into the catch pen to catch us some horses, saddled them up, and walked into West. I asked him how much riding experience he had going fast. He said none. So, I gave him the same speech that Mike gave me, hopefully scaring the bejezus out of him too. I gave him the easy route, and according to Mike on the radio he did great. Molly almost slipped him but he cut her off and herded her in.

Then that morning Mike lead the day ride while Rick and I did the two hour. It was good and solid, a nice fun ride. I was all excited to ride for another four hours up to Grouse Peak and back, but Rick claimed that he couldn’t do more than another hour in the saddle. Thus we headed to town, ran errands, had lunch, and talked Dave into teaching me how to fly fish. We waited for Mike to return to help him finish up his trip and see if he wanted to go, which he did.

We headed to San Isabel, about twenty miles south of us in the Wet Mountains. On the way is Bishop’s Castle, a literal castle built by hand over the past thirty years by a crazy mid 50′s feller named Jim Bishop. He lets people cruise around and check things out on a true donation basis. Rick’s head exploded and it was neat to check out, especially the new things he’s built in the seven years since I’ve been there.

Photobucket

Photobucket

From there we continued to the reservoir and Dave taught me how to fly fish. First cast with a fly it hits the water with a nice presentation, a trout hits it instantly, and I set the hook like I have all my life, like I’m hookin’ a largemouth bass. I snapped the fly right off in his lips, Dave giggled a bit, and taught me how to set hooks. I did it a few times that day, landing 3 real ones and one about four inches, missing way more. I caught the fever. We had dinner in the small town, headed back to the ranch, played a little cribbage, and then hit the sack. Rick was leaving at 2am for a 6:30am flight from Denver.

The following morning we rounded up, got four horses ready for a pack-in Dave was doing to my favorite place, South Colony Basin. Sadly I couldn’t go due to a lack of horses, so instead Mike and I went to breakfast, and then I went fishing all day. First I went to Lake DeWesse, didn’t see or catch anything, and then decided to head down to the Arkansas River. When I got there it was chocolate milk (due to recent heavy rains), and I turned right around to go back to Lake Isabel. I netted 11 fish in a few hours, nobody else caught anything, and I enjoyed a day to myself that I haven’t had in a while.

Photobucket

Friday, same morning routine, and then Dave and I led a 2hr trail ride for 6 people. So sweet being out there on horseback. I just love it. We took care of some loose ends, played some cribbage, and then headed out to pick up the 5 day coming in. Back to the ranch, clean everything up, and now I’m sitting at the bar of Cel Dor Asado waiting for Barb and whoever else to show up. I’ve finished this blog while waiting. Kinda worried.

Peace and good luck

Devo