The sun hasn't yet risen over the West Elk Mountains when the mornings stillness is broken by a sound that is kind of like a train trying to blow its horn. It starts and stops and wheezes and starts again, finally ending in a series of resounding hehaws. Its Dulcemia, Vals donkey, waking eceryone up as it greets the morning sun. As you step outside you see a herd of ten large mule deer bucks, grazing in one of Georges hayfields. Each one is in full velevet and one is a truely spectacular buck with a wide spread and with thick beams. Its early but its time to get up for morning coffee and to plan the days schedule, today its a float down the Gunnison, yesterday was antiquing and then a four wheel drive ride in George's 1972 two tone Bronco. That was a ride along two deeply rutted tracks on Black Ridge. We bounced along and tried to spot wildlife but they were hiding from the sound of the engine. Each day is full of surprises as we enjoy the area, truely a little known destination that is empty of all the tourists places we have been. Its kind of surprising that it hasn't been develpoped as beautiful as it is. The rains have been heavy and the fields are green, which really isn't the usual case as the area gets less then ten inches of rain a year. The only occupations here are raising irrigated hay and trying to cash in on the fall hunting season as nonresidents flock to the area for its elk and deer. The Black Canyon of the Gunnsion is the one place really known outside the area but there are so many other places too enjoy. We have picked service berries at Kebler Pass, drove through the Crested Butte ski area, enjoyed the scenry of Blue Mesa and picniced along the North fork of the Gunnison. Its been an really enjoyably week and I would write more but its coffee time at the ranch and time to plan the float trip. I am sure that will be another adventure worth writing so I need to go out for my morning chores,(which involves walking Molly and Dulcie). Its no wonder that George and Val love it here. Clear skies.