Here he is again! I met him the other day for the third time on the Rift Valley Trail at Taos Valley Overlook. This time we chatted and shook hands. Maybe the next time, we’ll actually exchange names.
This is the man who famously told me at our first meeting after I mentioned my age, “You’re just a boy”, and then revealed that he was eighty-two. “Just keep walking, you’ll get there,” he said, adding that his greatest accomplishment was remaining vertical. Our latest encounter went something like this:
Cowboy: “Well, hello! Good to see you again!”
Me: “Hi! Yeah, same here.”
Cowboy: “Looks like we have the place all to ourselves today.”
Me: “Oh yeah. Just the way I like it!”
Cowboy: “You and me both, pardner. But I don’t mind seeing you out here!”
And then we had a little talk about horses, as if I know anything about horses. But I know more now than before, including the fact that this particular horse had a black mane and tail before he turned three, and that “roanies” change color throughout their lives.
He must have taken a different route back. When I returned to the parking lot at the trailhead, the only truck and horse trailer combo I’d seen before I started was still there, meaning it was his. I’ve seen it out there before without running into him—there are 2,581 acres, after all—and I always thought it was an older guy’s rig: maybe a ’90 or ’91 F-150, with a crew cab and deep metallic blue paint, pulling what looks like a retro trailer, all of this immaculate and very shiny.
Young guys tend not to take care of old trucks. Just consider my poor ’87, all beat-up and filthy but still rolling down the road. (Remember, he said I was a boy!)