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May 16, 2017
Day 2- Wide-eyed Surprise
With a grand total of four guests, we could make our own schedule. My husband Miro and I were up at 5:30 for the sunrise and walked the ranch taking photos. I could envision paintings at every turn–quaint arches; blue walls with interesting shadows; pots teeming with yellow and purple flowers– an artist’s dream. We walked into the desert among the blooming ocotillo and flowering prickly pear. Pronged-horn sheep sprang across the landscape, and a jack rabbit raced from us like a tiny greyhound.
It was only 7 am now, so we drove into Sasabe, the tiny town still asleep. We photographed the Catholic church that looked like a Father Kino mission and watched a large black raven steal eggs from a bird’s nest at the historic cook’s house on the Buenos Aires National Wildlife refuge just outside of town.
By 8:30, we returned to Osa for a buffet of scrambled eggs, bacon and the best fried potatoes I’d ever tasted. The fresh-squeezed orange juice was the pièce de résistance. The staff wandered in and out, eating with us at the long table. The phrase “authentic western experience” surfaced repeatedly. I could feel life here on the ranch a hundred years ago and envisioned the Davis family – and after them the Jensens – bustling about doing daily chores. Many of them were now buried in the small cemetery just up the hill, but their spirits still walked the halls.
We rode horses at 9:30. I saddled up Clementine, the feisty mare that took Stewart for a little jig the day before. Clementine was a forward-moving horse who was anxious to go! I have ridden most of my life, so the wrangler decided I should ride her today, since she still seemed agitated from the cholla poke. On the trail, she was anxious to pass the horse in front of us, but riding single file, nose-to-tail was the rule.
When we came upon a large clearing, the wind kicked up across the open plain of dried grasses, and Clementine shied, side-stepped, and spun around. The flaps of my hat blew up, and that scared her more. She bolted. I held her firmly and stayed tightly in the saddle, moving every which way with her. “Whoa, girl. Easy. Easy.” I tried to talk her down despite my madly racing heart. Finally, she settled.
I had a new fear of falling since I broke my painting hand five years ago. I had to control my own emotions before I could hope this sensitive mare would get calm. I breathed deeply and let go of the tension in my legs and back, but stayed on high alert. We both relaxed by the end of the ride, though I admit I happily dismounted back at the barn. These horses were part of a herd heading back to Colorado for the summer. The new string, arriving tomorrow from White Stallion Ranch, would be trail-worthy and guarantee less drama.
After the ride, we sat on the porch drinking a cold beer and readied for the hour-long UTV ride to the ruins of what was possibly an old stagecoach stop or maybe a small mining outpost. In the past, water flowed through the wash behind the buildings, and that sustained life in this place everyone called “the middle of nowhere.” James banged on the tin rubble inside the half-standing adobe walls to chase away any rattlesnakes that might be hiding, but none were flushed out. We ate a picnic lunch in the shade of the UTV and explored the site.
When we returned, I couldn’t wait to shower and wash off the dust from the day’s activities. I wrote for a few hours, then settled in for a long, luxurious nap before dinner.
For a place where I thought there would be little to do, we enjoyed one adventure after another. Tomorrow would be the most exciting.
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