National Geographic : 1952 Jun
707 Men and Horses Inch Their Way down the Rock-strewn Lip of a Cliff Descending from Grand View Point to the lower rim of Monument Canyon (page 725), the author's party followed a narrow shelf overlooking dizzy depths. Several animals slipped and hung on the brink until men pulled them to safety (page 712). Here guide Roy Holyoak leads his horse over loose rubble. Earl Worth ington, safely across, watches on the right. of the Abajo Mountains, then turned west to Dugout Ranch, headquarters for the Indian Creek Cattle Company (page 714). Hidden in a remote canyon, accessible by an unmarked road that is passable only when dry, Dugout has one of the most dramatic locations I have ever seen. The entrance trail twists down through Indian Creek until the canyon itself widens into a flat-bottomed oasis half a mile wide and perhaps ten miles long. Fields of grass and alfalfa, bordered by gently swaying cottonwoods, surround the ranch, while in the background rise ruddy sandstone cliffs a thousand feet high. Herds of the little-known Indian Creek Cattle Company graze nearly a million and a half acres of publicly and privately owned land. Its wealthy owner, J. A. Scorup, now 79, started at 18 with two horses, a grub stake, and five dollars. At Dugout we refueled our cars, filled our water tanks, bought last-minute supplies, and headed out through the corral gates. The trail picked up the thread of Indian Creek and followed it through beautiful open areas of grassy rangeland. Ahead of us, North and South Sixshooter Peaks pointed the way. Bucking a Three-mile Sand Trap A few miles beyond the ranch we came to the bank of Salt Creek. It was dry as a bleached bone, but beyond it lay three miles of soft, deep sand and many embankments. "The jeep might get through," said Ross, "but that station wagon won't get 10 feet!" I looked at the delicate photographic equip ment resting safely atop the bed in the rear of the car, and at the other 2,000 pounds of field equipment we had packed in the station wagon (page 730). It would be a tremendous job to take it all out and repack it on restive horses; the jeep itself was already fully loaded. "I think I'll try it anyway," I called to Ross. "Ben, you and Mac stick as close to me as you can with the jeep-just in case." I let some air out of the tires and started.