Daniel’s Lion

Image from nps.gov

The wind tore through Daniel’s hair as his hat pulled violently at its stampede string around stretched around Daniel’s neck. No cries of joy escaped his mouth as his steed flew down the trail. The sting of heavy rain pelting his face and streaming down his collar drained any hint of happiness before his first whip of the reigns. The Mochilla he sat on repelled the rains onslaught with a mix of oil and beeswax rubbed heavily into its fabric.  The hard leather pouches sewn fore and aft of the rider protected the treasures inside. Daniel squinted his eyes tighter, trying to squeeze the rain out as he charged his horse forward.  The mail must go through.

Lightning flashed followed by the roar of thunder close by.  The horse cried in protest.

“Keep goin’ you nag!” Daniel yelled to the horse.  “I don’t want to be out here just as much as you!”

Daniel kicked his heels into the horse to emphasis the thought.  The horse snorted its protest in response.

“Yeah. Yeah.”  Daniel agreed as he tried to sink his head further into his coat. “Damn Desert!”

Spring in Utah brought with it not only the melt of the mountain snows, but the icy rains along with it.  This combination along with the narrow path brought to Daniel’s mind the bad luck his fellow rider George had.

It was in this very stretch between Wheaton Springs and Mountain Dale where George had lost his horse.  It had been winter and a storm came up so strong and heavy that George’s horse pulled up lame.  George knew that breaking trail in those conditions would be tough, but he overestimated the strength of the mustang.  He had been reduced to cutting the pouches open with his pocket knife and stuffing the mail in his coat before trudging his way through the deep snow to the station at Mountain Dale.

Daniel vowed not to make the same mistake.

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