JULY 26, 1954
NEW YORK, Sunday—Shortly before I left Colorado, the family took me to visit a homestead high up on the side of one of the mountains. It is owned by George Harrel, who had promised to take us in his jeep along the trails he had made to one particular spot from which the most gorgeous view of the valley could be enjoyed.
Mr. Harrel is an ex-soldier who lost one leg, but you would never know it from the way he manages to get around on his wooden one. He rides his horse all over the mountains, and guides hunting and fishing parties through rough country where for 50 miles there is just wilderness. He is a character about whom many stories are told, including his prowess as a marksman.
With his own hands he built an octagonal building, the first to be put up on his land. He has a bunk house which is filled when the hunters come during the season. I counted 20 cots, with cotton mattresses that I thought would be rather uncomfortable. But Elliott explained that every hunter brings his own sleeping bag and most of these have down or air mattresses inside them.
Mr. Harrel's house has a large living room with fireplace, a good-sized kitchen and an enormous table built by himself where he can seat the large hunting parties. Lastly, there is a glassed-in porch which he calls the bedroom. He pointed with pride to one ice-box and told me he had brought it up the mountain on a horse's back, and that the stove had arrived the same way. How these things are packed and fastened on so that a horse can travel up the trail with such a heavy load is a little difficult for a mere Easterner to understand. Mr. Harrel was also very proud of his garden, which was in the fenced-in enclosure by the house and included a good-sized potato patch.
After inspecting everything, we started off in the jeep. Eleanor Harris, the writer, and I, being the strangers, sat on the front seat, while Elliott and Minnewa bounced on the two little back seats holding onto two dogs. The road was fairly good, for a mountain trail, but a bit rough in spots. I fully expected to be black and blue, but I was disappointed, for we neither turned over nor had a mishap of any kind! We reached our destination, and the view was breathtaking. We saw some sheep and a Mexican shepherd in his tent. We also came across a well-gnawed log which indicated, they told me, that ants or bees had been there, and that a bear had come along and eaten into the log to get at the honey. The bear, it seems, is such a slow, lumbering animal that nobody has any fear of him. In these uplands there are no poisonous snakes and the deer and antelope seem to have a pretty happy time before the hunting season opens. We saw deer everywhere, except when we were down near the town of Meeker.