History and Legend : The Tale Behind the Photo

Elkhart, KS

While all looks warm and glowing in this image of silhouetted trees against a firey sunset in the Cimarron National Grasslands outside Elkhart, KS, nothing could be further from the truth...in fact if not for the heavy shadows at the trunks, there are patches of snow to be found.

I am usually several weeks into the Arizona leg of my year by this time, but had decided to do an Indian Market in Denver at the end of January, so traveling from Texas to Arizona and then on to Denver mere weeks later didn't make a whole lot of sense...so I satyed in San Angelo, Texas over Christmas.

Little did I know at the time that I made that decision that not only would some of the coldest weather these parts had seen in years settled in, but I would get the worst Ebola like sickness I had ever had and which put me bed crippled and bed ridden for close to two weeks... but through it I came and once back on the road, I wasn't about to back away from a few single digit temps in the grasslands.

As I arrived at the campground, I was pretty sure I would have no neighbors as there are no elctrical hook-up at the campsites, which means generators only and given that a new front was forcasted to come through, that would proably mean few takers...and I was right...zero fellow campers, near zero visibilty that first day and near zero (6 degrees) that first night.

I almost felt stupid putting the camping fee into the envelope for the Ranger considering if you forced someone to live out there under those conditions you would likely face charges and you would definitely face charges if you forced them to live out there without a generator, which is exactly what happened on that first night when mine either froze up or fouled up in another way and I was litterally without power.

Even though, I stil refused to cry Uncle until the third day when the skies cleared, but all the dog walking in the world still wasn't keeping me warm (damned if Willow still didn't enjoy breaking through the ice though) and I really did need power to get some printing done...alas, I tucked my tail between my legs and moved the tin can over to a cheap RV campground in town where electricity and whiskey were in endless supply.