Day 54: Thursday, July 11, 2013
Pueblo to Ordway: 54 miles
The topic of the day - and season - here is the drought. The countryside for miles around Pueblo is parched. Fields look like sand. Farmers are plowing their crops under. Irrigation systems in dry, sandy fields look incongruous.
|Parched fields, no water|
I stopped at a country store for a Pepsi, and talked - about the drought - with a man who was sitting out front. He said that Colorado had sold a lot of water rights to Kansas, with the implication that Colorado farmers were being shorted to honor those rights. I'd seen pickup trucks carrying tanks full of water to replenish stock tanks that were unable to be replenished from wells. He said that, by law, ranchers had to keep stock tanks covered, and they could not have catchment basins to collect rainwater - that the rainwater belonged to the state. Pumping water from wells - if there was any to pump - was okay. It didn't make sense.
|I just can't imagine any water in this dip.|
And it's hot cycling. Temperatures are up around 100. The humidity is low, so it's not really that uncomfortable. Sweat doesn't get a chance to congeal. I'm drinking several gallons of fluids a day: water, Gatorade, Pepsi, OJ, milk.
|Some crops could grow.|
I think this was clover.
|This cow couldn't make it.|
In 1981, Guy was on his way to graduate school in Manhattan, Kansas. And he had a sister in Denver. So we left the TransAmerica trail back around Walden, and took a route through Rocky Mountain National Park and Big Thompson Canyon before dropping down into Denver. We then took US 24 east across Kansas. This time around, I followed the TransAmerica trail around Denver on the west side, coming out of the loop at Pueblo. But I wanted to visit Gib and Nancy, who had put us up in 1981. They live in Flagler, which is almost directly north of Haswell. So today would be a short day to Ordway; tomorrow would be even shorter to Haswell, and Google Maps said that the next day would be a 75-miler up to Flagler.
The town park in Ordway had restrooms, but they were locked. It also had a small water park, which looked refreshing, and in the heat I was tempted to play. But there were two young girls there, being watched by their dad, and my propriety got the better of me.
I found out later that the Wounded Warrior group was in town, as well. But they stayed in a commercial campground - and wished they hadn't. In addition to other faults, it smelled like raw sewage.