St. George, Utah – Help for a lonesome cowboy

We came on the short, 61 mi long road from Fredonia to Toroweap Point. For the way back we choose the 90 mi long stretch to St. George. The section around Mt. Trumbull is snowy, and in lower elevation where the snow has already melted it is very muddy. Down in the valley a truck blocks half of the road. A cowboy with broad-brimmed hat, leather boots, spores, and an articulation as if he still has his breakfast bagel between the teeth has tied his horse at the next tree. He’s looking for somebody to follow his truck for a few miles and bring him back to his horse, because he wants to drive his cattle some miles further. We are offering to help him since we don’t know when the next car will pass by on this lonely road. Since we only have two seats he has a kind of bad conscience. I don’t mind waiting on the road in the sunshine, but he gives me a Dr. Pepper from his ice box and offers: “You can talk to my horse.” He is serious about that, and explains that the horse’s name is Kelli with “i”. Kelli is friendly; I can caress her before she devotes herself again to grazing. When the men return I am involved in a serious discussion with Kelly although it is somewhat one-sided.

The cowboy’s spores rattle when he’s getting out of Arminius. No, that never happened before in all those years – that a foreigner finds his way into this remote area, the Arizona Strip, as he calls it. In St. George I fortunately find a new pair of hiking shoes. I have to throw away the old ones, as tatty as they are I can’t even donate them any more.

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