“Meet me at Iron Gate! You will need a four wheel drive truck, or the like, to get there! I’ll be coming over the mountains from the other direction.” And Sea wasn’t kidding! We, her Auntie Pat and Uncle Lee, knew this would be an adventure, driving up into the Pecos Wilderness, and it was. Having no means of communication since that phone call, we were trusting that indeed we would meet….
In order to reach the Iron Gate Campground, after leaving a narrow paved road, driving a four wheel drive pick-up, loaded with a bale of hay, bottles of drinking H20, fuel, and a picnic, we headed up through gorgeous quaking aspens, tall ponderosa pines, grassy meadows, wild flowers, with views of vast green mountains, and a log cabin tucked here and there. Only hitch was that it took an hour to go 4 1/2 miles ….dodging holes, rocks, and gullies formed from rushing rain water! Great fun!
It was one exciting moment when we came to the end and spotted a couple of horses grazing, and there she was!!!… wearing a bright yellow jacket, bronzed skin and a great big smile! Big hugs and great relief! We BOTH made it!
What a great reunion we had…. with much to catch up on. With a looming rain storm over head, we were very glad to have the extended cab truck to hop into for our picnic. So, as Fine Horn and Jesse James grazed outside, Sea devoured a tray of fresh fruit we had brought up, some cheese and crackers, chips, sprite, and best of all, some homemade dark chocolates, given to us by friends.
We heard the tale of Sea and the ponies climbing up the steep terrain, a couple of days prior…. so steep that the strap around Fine Horn’s chest broke with the the weight of the load sliding back as she climbed! ..But “necessity is the mother of invention!” and Sea created a “strap” out of her bandanna, which solved that problem, at least for a little while! Sea’s conclusion: two really tough ponies!… and kind of a frightening day.
Now just how does she do it?… I guess that was our big question. With her trusty MSR tent and water-proof packs, solar-powered equipment, love and provision for her ponies, great water-proof maps… one topographical one recently found by a stream, day by day planning, incredible determination, love of the wilderness, the prayers of many, and numerous helpful congenial folks along the way… this brave one keeps going.
After lunch we hopped out of the truck to take a peek at the maps and have a “look about”. As we soon found out, the ponies didn’t take long to have a “look about” for themselves; finding the apples we had brought up and some carrots, too! Nosy little guys! They were just like kids, right into everything that was on the picnic table!
Looking at the various maps, we could see where Sea had come from, and where she was heading to in the next few days….over a high, circuitous, carefully mapped out route. All we can say is “wowsers!!” Fourteen miles up and over 11,000 foot mountains! Which is where she is at today, as I write.
It was a privilege to join my niece for this short time. On she goes! We hope that this was an encouragement and a lift for Sea. It certainly was for us!