People I met on the way - Colorado



Eva and Adrien (Bayfield)

Eva and Adrien are French and spend their time between their native Alps and their ranch in Bayfield. I stayed with them for a week at the end of May to get over Céline’s accident. The warm, family atmosphere I found at the Duvillard’s home helped me to get over my emotional experience and set off on the right footing. Kitty arrived at their ranch, and after a short training period, the Duvillards accompanied me for the first stretch of the Pine River path with my new team. Eva and Adrien live in Mégève in the Alps, but they spend the six summer months at their ranch in Bayfield, Colorado, where they travel the region’s trails with their four horses and mustangs. 


Sara and Tom (Pagosa Springs)

I met this family on the trail following the San Luis Valley, north of Creede, just after I joined the Continental Divide Trail. They were setting out to climb San Luis Peak (14,014 feet) and decided to drop their goal to convince me to turn back by accompanying me, given how tired I was after struggling to make Frog move on and cross the remaining firns. Once we had reached the carpark at the foot of the valley, they contacted Debbie and Duane and asked them to come and pick me up with the trailer to avoid my having to cross the 10 difficult miles to Creede. Sarah and Tom love the Rockies so much that they have come to live in Pagosa Springs.


 Kevin (Leadville)


I met Kevin when I was looking for the way to the Leadville rodeo arena. He spontaneously said I could camp with my mules on his farm, where he has over forty goats. I met two of his sons, Jasper and Juian, in his Noah’s Ark that houses horses, goats, lamas, dogs, chickens and more. Four years ago, Kevin and his wife Mary sold their watch store at the chic Vail ski station to set up a goat farm. They also organize courses on responsible farming and livestock practices. 




Allison PARRISH (Eagle)

I met Allisson through Chris’s network of friends; horsewoman Allison lives in Eagle. She took us in her van from Eagle to Sweetwater Lake so that we could avoid 20 miles of difficult track and road.  She also gave me straw bales for my mules.




Sam and Caprice (Sweetwater lake)


I enjoyed a lovely evening at the home of Sam and Caprice, who spend several weeks a year helping the Sweetwater Lake Outfitters on the horse hikes they organize for holidaymakers. Both are mad about horses. Sam (originally from the East) and Caprice (originally from the West) got married a few years ago on the Continental Divide Trail, which they reached on horseback, accompanied by their witnesses and the clergyman.   

See also:


 zach et sebastian

Zach Jones and Sebastian Fester


Employed for the summer by the national parks to maintain the paths around Trappers Lake, Zach and Sebastian are environment students. They invited me to their campsite near the lake to share a hiker’s dinner (rice, pasta and beans!), followed by an evening discussing fly-fishing. Sebastian, whose parents are German, lived in Namibia before settling in the United States.




Susanne and Robert HANG (Pyramid guard station, South from Craig)

It all started when I asked Robert for directions after taking a wrong turn. One thing led to another, and I ended up spending the afternoon and then the night in Susanne and Robert’s chalet. The next day, they led me and my mules as far as Elkhead Ranch, north of Craig, where I had an appointment! Susanne and Robert are retired and spend their summers working as volunteers in the national parks with their horses, helping hikers, maintaining paths, and reporting to the rangers. They are housed in a historic chalet at the foot of the hiking trails, but their main home is in Nevada. They also enjoy entering Arabian horse competitions, and Susanne takes part in dog shows with her Welsh Corgi pedigrees.  


Heather Stirling and her family (Elkhead ranch, Haiyden)


Heather welcomed me for several days at her historic 10,000-acre ranch. There, I discovered a real American ranch lifestyle, where livestock is herded on horseback. I participated in several activities, including repairing fences and moving cattle from one pasture to another. 




Bernardo and Cristina (Elkhead Ranch, Hayden)

Bernardo and Cristina are originally from Mexico. Bernardo has spent the last ten summers maintaining ranches and working with cattle, and his wife Cristina has accompanied him for the last two of them. We spent some wonderful moments chatting in Spanish with a cup of coffee and some homemade cookies. They are very proud of their family of 9 children.


Deb Berney (Elkhead Ranch, Hayden)


Thanks, once again, to Chris’s superb Facebook network, I met Deb, and joined up with her at Elkhead Ranch. She helped me shop for supplies at Craig and Steamboat Springs, and drove us northwards (on a five-hour journey!) to Atlantic City in Wyoming, so that we could avoid a horse ride through the Great Divide Basin, a desert area south of Wyoming. Deb gave me my first taste of a real cowgirl, very experienced and good at her job, but with bags of feminine charm.

Deb also sometimes works as a model and actress for photographers and film makers – check out:




Susanne (France)

I met the French student Susanne at Elkhead Ranch, where she was on a three-month course as part of her agronomy engineering studies.  My arrival gave her a chance to take a break from speaking full-time English: not always an easy task! An excellent horsewoman, Susanne helps with herding cattle on horseback, repairing fences, and various chores on the ranch.