Letters from the Ranch


— Steamboat Springs

Dear Bertha,

I can hardly believe my month at Collum Creek is almost over; and yet all the adventures I've experienced here seem like twice as much as could be squeezed into a full year. And, there is still a whole heap I want to tell.

Let's see, I guess a good place to start would be with our arrival at Collum Creek. Mrs. Orr, president of the local school board and mother of three girls who would be our pupils, had drawn us a very good map with directions showing us how to find the Collum Creek School House.

Bill Keller, Lulu's son, brought us and our food and belongings down in our old Dodge touring car.

We had, thanks to our good map, no difficulty in finding the schoolhouse. We hurriedly unloaded Bill and the car departed for home, leaving these two rather lonesome women afoot somewhere a ways beyond the backside of nowhere. This school surely had to be one of the most remote and isolated in existence.

There was no traffic on the bumpy dirt road that ran past the school house, nor was there any evidence of living humans within sight. As twilight faded into night, the mournful wail of a coyote added to the gloom of our situation.

There was a little pile of scrub oak and cedar cut to firewood length beside the little sheep-herder stove in front of the ragged old tent which was obviously intended to be the teacher's living quarters.

We elected to build our campfire in the open rather than in the stove, on the premise that this would add a little cheer to our state of circumstances. But we were also conservative of our fuel, not knowing when the woodpile would be replenished.

Our greatest note of despair was the fact that our only source of water was a spring, which the range cattle in the area had trampled into a literal quagmire. It was totally impossible to fill a water bucket.

Before dawn the next morning, we were astonished to be awakened by incredibly beautiful flute music.

As the first light of day came creeping over the Park Range, the Continental Divide was some 60 miles to the east; we were privileged to witness the most spectacular sunrise I have ever seen.

Just as the sun came peeking over the horizon, two cowboys, with shovels, came riding up the road and at the same time a huge band of sheep came drifting down the hill and into the road right in front of the school.

I'll continue my account in the next epistle. Until then --




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