Monsters and Dust

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October 27, 1843.

The morning was cold. I awoke stiff, my blankets and makeshift tent no shelter from the cool air that comes with the desert night. I intended to re-enter the cave early in the morning, when the sun first slid over the mountains, but the air was still so disagreeable, I lay still for a few hours more, and indeed slept till I was again wakened, this time by the sound of rumbling, the kind that men or beasts make, on the far side of the hills. I then got up quickly and gathered my things, to make my way back up the hill where I had been the previous night.

As I crested my hills, I heard the creaking of wagons, which filled me with dread and suspicion, so I crawled very slowly, on my belly like a snake over the ridge to spy what I could. It was a party, a few men in advance of 20 wagons, and perhaps 60 other men. It seemed to be a trading expedition going north from El Paso. There were women among them, and a large number of men on account of the Natives, who will attack any party too small.

I did not want them to see me, though I had the hill as my cover, and the best vantage point for many miles. I lay still until they passed, and only wind reached my ear, and the men appeared as specks in the forked dust.


Horned Toad