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7/18/2007

Out On The Smoky Hill Trail

The old thermometer is hitting 100+ degrees. That is a pretty good indication that it is time fer The Cowboys trail buddy Dave Zerfas, better known as Zerf, to hit the Smoky Hill Trail. We started this little tradition back in 1998 when we first traveled out on the little known Leavenworth & Pikes Peak Stage route. We have only missed one year. 2005 was an exceptionally hot one and we jest dun ourselves in! Had to take a year off jest to recuperate. It ain t easy out on the high lonesome prairie.  
 
But we do love it. The old trail spirits are calling us back. We ll be visiting old sites of the original stage stations for the Butterfield Overland Despatch. There is nothing like standing on the actual soil where some piece of history took place to give a fella a better understanding of the event. Custer arrived at one of the stations to find that Indians had set it on fire and killed three men after a failed peace conference with General Hancock in 1867.  
 
The village site of Pawnee Indians who welcomed The Pathfinder, John C. Fremont is nearby. He and his 1842 exploration team were guided by Kit Carson. What they didnt know was that those friendly Pawnees were scheming to kill the entire company of explorers. Fortunately a small number of the Pawnees present had been befriended at an early time by Fremont. That act of kindness saved them. We hope to also visit the location of that camp.  
 
Sweating under 100 degree skies and sleeping on the ground with only the stars for a covering may not be everyone s idea of fun, but then not everyone gets to! The whole story will be in the next several issues of the Kansas Cowboy!  
So Long, 
The Cowboy 

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