When our trip ended, late one fall afternoon in the year 1911, we were a happy little group. The small cottage sitting on the hill looked like a beautiful castle where peace and quiet reigned. The rusty hinges on the cottage door creaked a musical welcome as we entered. I think the very mountains folded their arms about us as a welcome. So great was the change from a lower altitude to the six thousand feet that we often felt a tremble in our legs. Horses that came with us sometimes stopped for breath however, the horses that were on the ranch when we came had no trouble in climbing a mountain.
Our ranch was twenty-five miles from Marathon, Texas in Brewster County, the largest county in Texas. The roads were rough and only passable by wagon or on horseback. We had no telephone, no neighbors, no mail system, and no school. We did have a small cabin, dug well (which most squatters in that section could not boast of), a nice start of stock, a few hired hands and the wonderful outdoors. What more could we ask with good health saturating us with a vision for the future?
Words do not come to my mind with which to describe the mountains with their lofty peaks that stood guard over us like huge giants. The sun peaking over the shoulder of one of' these giants at dawn was glorious to behold. Colors were visible which have never been mixed by a human artist. Only the Master Artist knows the recipe. Some mornings the mountains wore dainty dresses of mist trimmed with sunbeams--other mornings they dazzled the eye in a sparkling white frock of glistening snow. During the summer, the sun was hot at midday, but beware of the night and early dawn lest you shake out your loose teeth.
Food was a terrible bother. The roads were long and rough the appetite would not behave. No matter how well filled the middle section was at the end of a meal it became empty and miserable before the next sitting at the table. Consequently the food supply could hardly be made to last a month, the time set for the trip to town for new supplies. We often took a ride into the mountains in search of wild sheep or deer to replenish our supplies. One day my mother and I took such a trip and ran into a herd of wild sheep. After quite a chase Mother downed one of the sheep.
We had a very hard time getting down the rugged mountain with the sheep tied behind the saddle. However, we were repaid for our hardships when we rode home with our treasure and the men gathered around to praise our hunting skill, for wild sheep are very hard to get a shot at.
The lower part of the mountains were covered with oaks, mesquites, and elms, while scrub pine grew higher up. Spanish daggers various species of cacti plants, soto, magliay, century plants, sacahuista, guayule, and wild flowers ornamented the costumes of these giants.