For the last year or so, I’ve been doing a series of blog posts (often interrupted for other stuff) about Pathfinders.
Daniel Boone, Kit Carson, John Coulter, John Mullen<< a cool guy not well known, James P Beckwourth, Sacagawea…oh I did a bunch of them.
What set me on my way researching these pathfinders was my current series. And dealing with a young man, 16 years old, who survives a wagon train massacre on a little used trail in the heart of the Rocky Mountains right as the snow begins to fall. (hello, Donner Party!!!)
He very simply gets lost. He finds a way to survive the winter and it wasn’t easy. Then he’s just so lost. He wandered for two long searching for a trail in the oncoming winter, now he can’t find his way–anywhere. In the end, he just stayed there. Stayed in the mountains. He doesn’t see another human being for about five years.
My question, what started my research was, could this really happen?
I tried to get a sense of scope of how big the Rockies are. How deep the snow. How hard it is to find a trail. We are so cut off from that kind of experience now, with paved roads and cell phones with GPS and (for heaven’s sakes) airplanes.
We barely need to know the sun comes up in the east and sets in the west. And even that is a fun fact, nothing we particularly use to find out way home.
So the book is here.
Trace Riley is here.
He’s been in the mountains a long time. He finally found another man who stayed and worked on Trace’s ‘sort of’ ranch. This man told Trace where a town was, so Trace went in and staked a claim to the land he’d been living on for years. He’s built up a small herd, so Trace hires another man and the three of them drive some cattle to market.
Now Trace knows where he is, how to get to a town. He rode all the way to the ocean after the cattle drive to Sacramento, and he’s coming home a happy man.
And then, like a monster rising out of his worst nightmares, he comes upon another wagon train massacre. And the signs as Trace reads them, and he’s gotten very very good, say this was done by the same men who attacked his wagon train and killed his father.
And then, out of the tall grass, a woman comes running, crying for help.
It’s like he hears his own voice and he can do nothing less than to be her guardian…and then someone else comes running, her sister, okay, now he’s going to take care of two women. And wait, what is she carrying? A baby? No, TWO babies.
Trace has a long cold ride to get home, he’s mostly out of food, he’s got one horse and a lot of potential riders.
He is, most definitely, an accidental guardian.
Today, leave a comment to get your name in a drawing for a signed copy of The Accidental Guardian, book #1 of the High Sierra Sweethearts trilogy.
And, because it’s MARCH and that is calf time!!! (sort of like half-time only with less football and more mooing)…here is a picture of a baby calf…I’m doing a parade of our new baby calves on Facebook, come and join the fun.