Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Day 22, Tuesday, June 23rd - La Junta to Colby

Left La Junta a bit after 7 AM, heading north on a paved county road.  The Arkansas River was way up, and we saw standing water in some yards & fields.  After a long drive on CO-96, we came to the turn off to the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site.  The dirt road leading to it was well-maintained, and frequented by turtles, jack rabbits, a snake & lots of birds.  The site itself is short grass prairie, with cottonwoods along the intermittent creek, and well-interpreted with a short talk by one of the two rangers there..  A peaceful party of Cheyenne & Arapaho was attacked by Colorado troops under Col. Chivington, killing chiefs who tried to parley under a white flag (they were flying a U.S. flag), then indiscriminately killing without regard to sex or age - then taking 'trophies' from the bodies.  It was brought to light by two officers who, with their troops, refused to participate.

The Sand Creek site, looking toward the trees where the lodges were

Sand Creek site - the Indians fled and resisted down this draw.

Unfortunately, we had to cut our visit short because of the biting flies.  We headed for Burlington for a carousel ride, stopping for lunch at the Alleyway Cafe in Cheyenne Wells (I highly recommend it).  The Kit Carson County Carousel is a classic 1905 design with a player pipe organ and hand carved animals, mostly with the original paint.  It fell into disuse but was restored at significant cost.  We rode twice, at a whole 25 cents per ride!

Sandra riding "Comanche"

And here's the horse.

Headed east on I-70 to Colby, ate at Los Dos de Oros, and are settling in at the Holiday Inn Express.  3568 miles on the trip, with about 450 to go.  Home tomorrow!

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