Wild west

We hand over the cash and agree to meet back here in one hour, before too many people start to turn up. We don’t want to be hungry later, so we set off for some food and some shelter. We hide in the shadows and peer around as people walk past. After about 50 minutes we make our move. As we approach the car park we can see our contact with three other people in a silver pickup truck, and one more squeezed into a rickety booth.

We have a brief chat with the lady in the car park, then get into our car and follow the pickup onto the single lane highway. Rusty road signs fly past, and sand sifts across the faded tarmac. After ten minutes we reach an unmarked turn onto a dirt track, blocked by a worn wooden gate with wire fences that stretch along the road in both directions. The passenger of the pickup shifts himself out of his seat and opens the gate. The pickup drives through and the man at the gate beckons for us to follow, before shutting us in and cutting us off from the main road. We bounce around the single track and make slower progress than our chaperon who rapidly disappears. An old stable jumps out at us as we turn a corner. The pickup has already stopped and the passenger is out, staring at us. He smiles.

We stop next to the pickup and get out into the heat, no longer secure in the comfort of our car’s air conditioning. “Over here,” the man says, and he steps into the darkness of the stable. We follow. He passes a hat down to each of us, and with saddles over his shoulder he sweeps his hand through the air towards two large horses. “This is the best way to see the park.” We smile.

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