Taming the west wasn’t easy for man or beast! In many situations it was kill or be killed, eat or be eaten, and so forth. The early pioneers and settlers to the west, came out for various reasons, gold, free land to start a farm or ranch, and some came simply for the adventure. No matter what the reasons, they all encountered the rugged land that had to be tamed, the ferocious wildlife that had to be reckoned with, the Native Americans, (who weren’t happy with being pushed out), that had to be fought, befriended, or ran from, and the unstoppable weather that had to be survived.
This last week I visited some of the places these pioneers, settlers, and adventurers came out to tame. The wild west, is still very rugged, very unique, and very beautiful. I visited some museums and historic sites, then toured some amazing Rocky Mountain areas. In the early 1800’s white men arrived in the Animas Valley and surrounding areas. These areas developed into Durango, Silverton, Ouray, Telluride, and many other towns and communities in the south west corner of Colorado.
I’ll be posting about the wonderful places I visited and sharing pictures with you over the next few weeks. I love visiting these places, they inspire my imagination, and enliven my writing. My mind swirls with all sorts of ideas for what will come next for my characters… I believe real life infuses fiction with life.
In New Parish Sarah becomes her own kind of pioneer, she moves out west to tame her new life and maybe a cowboy too…
Excerpt from New Parish:
“The next day after breakfast Sarah and Mary decided to get out and explore some of the community and enjoy the snow that had fallen, several of Mary’s little brothers and sisters tagged along with them. They were all bundled up in coats, scarves, gloves, and boots, Sarah laughed at herself and the rest of the gang, they were definitely prepared. Sarah had already decided that the community was quite beautiful but now with a blanket of snow it seemed like a picture postcard of a Christmas village from long ago. There was even a wooden wagon with red painted wheels going down the road pulled by two large chocolate brown horses, it was all very picturesque.
They walked along the freshly shoveled sidewalks happily talking and planning on building a snowman in the park. When from behind her Sarah heard the sound of a horse trotting, she turned to look and saw the man she never wanted to see again, on his horse. She quickly looked around to see if any cows were running around, then said to Mary, “Let’s walk faster, that cowboy is back and you know what happened the last time he was near.”
Mary laughed, “You know it wasn’t really his fault, right?”
“It was his cows,” replied Sarah avoiding the fact that she just deep down seriously didn’t want to like him or his smile, or his beautiful eyes, or his anything.
“Yeah but they broke the fence and got out,” Mary tried to excuse the cowboy.
“Wasn’t it his fence that wasn’t strong enough to hold his cows?” asked Sarah.
“Yes, but really that stuff happens,” Mary tried to soothe her friend’s feelings.
Sarah looked at her firmly and said, “Red punch and hot chocolate all over my brand new outfit.”
“Sorry, that was really bad,” agreed Mary.
The sounds from the horse got much closer as Max touched it’s sides to encourage it to speed up, he pulled the reins to stop where Sarah and Mary were on the sidewalk, “Howdy Mary, Ma’am,” he said in a very friendly cowboy drawl.
Sarah looked away and didn’t speak, Mary smiled and said, “Hi Max, what are you up to today?”
“Just rounding up a few strays,” he smiled back at her.
That threw Sarah into an angry frenzy, “What sort of cowboy can’t keep his cows where they’re supposed to be?!?” She looked around frantically wondering from which direction she would be attacked, “Maybe you should get a different job!””