Bell Spring

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Twelve miles from Rawlins, the horses were changed at Bell Spring, where, in a kind of topographical staircase-consisting of the protruding edges of sediments that dipped away to the eastthe Mesozoic era rose to view: the top step Cretaceous, the next Jurassic, at the bottom a low red Triassic bluff, against which was clustered a compound of buildings roofed with cool red mud. Miss Wa xham had no idea then that she was looking at a hundred and seventy-five million years, let alone which hundred and seventy-five million years. She had no idea that those sediments had broken off just here, and that the other side of the break, two and three thousand feet below, contained prolific traps of gas and oil. Actually, no one knew that. Discovery was twenty years away. The stage rolled onto Separation Flats-altitude seven thousand feet-still pursuing the chimeric kantoor per uur amsterdam zuidas mountains. One of them, she learned, was called Whiskey Peak. Collins looked around from the driver’s seat and said a passenger had once asked him the name of the mountain, “and I told him that it was in this coach where I could put my hand on it-but he could not guess.” In the far distance also appeared a “white speck” -a roadhouse-which they watched impatiently for hours.
It did not look larger when we reached it ….M rs. Welty and I hurried in to get warm, for we were chilled through. Outside, hung from the roof, was half a carcass of a steer. …I n a cluttered kitchen, a fat forlorn silent woman served us wearily with a plentiful but plain meal, and sat with her arms folded watching us eat ….W e ate our baked potatoes and giant kantoor per uur hilversum biscuits, onions and carrots and canned-apple pie in half silence, glad to be through. The stage horses were changed and we started on toward Lost Soldier.
Lost Soldier was another sixteen miles and thus would take three hours. Already, Mrs. Welty was talking about the Hog Back, more than twenty hours up the road-a steep descent from a high divide, where Wyoming’s storied winds had helped many a stagecoach get to the bottom in seconds. Wreckage was strewn all over the ground there, among the bones of horses. A driver had been known to chain a coach to a tree to keep the coach from blowing away. Like the sails of boats and ships, the canvas sides of stagecoaches were often furled as they approached the Hog Back, to let the wind blow through. No one relied on brakes.

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