Timeless Mount Garfield

It’s always fun to try to track down the location from which old photos were shot. Judy and I did that this past weekend.

The old photo was published in The Denver Post in a 1909 article about Palisade. The new photo was taken July 7, 2018, about a half mile from our home near Palisade. We drove around the east end of the Grand Valley, taking photos of Mount Garfield from a variety of locations. This one seemed to match up best with the Denver Post photo from 109 years ago. The shadow to the right behind Mount Garfield appears to be from scotch tape that held the old newspaper together.

Thanks to Wanda Beebe for providing the fascinating article to me.

Both photos will be used in my next history column about Palisade peach country, to be published in The Daily Sentinel on July 16.Garfield combo


‘Doc’ Shores hunts them down

Here’s the full article about Cyrus “Doc” Shores hunting down the Grand Junction train robbers.

Doc Shores 7-2-18

And here’s the gun he used on his adventures, on display at the Museums of Western Colorado in Grand Junction.

Shores' gun

Sheriff Shores on the Trail

I’ve written a good number of history columns about outlaws in western Colorado and eastern Utah, and they all produce lots of reader responses.

Doc Shores

My next column will focus instead on one of the most important lawmen in the history of this region — Cyrus “Doc” Shores. And it will detail one of his most notable efforts to track down criminals in the wake of a train robbery near Grand Junction in 1887.

At the time, Wells was the Gunnison County sheriff. Later he would be a special investigator for several different railroads, and later still, he would become the Salt Lake City police chief.

The article will appear in The Daily Sentinel on Monday, July 2. A few days later, I will post it here.

Off to Meeker

I’m heading to Meeker tomorrow, working with David Bailey, Curator of History at the Museums of Western Colorado, conducting a tour of some of the sites important in the events of 1879.

Those events have traditionally been referred to as “The Milk Creek Battle” and “The Meeker Massacre,” although the latter term is not very accurate. I have avoided using it as much as possible.bookcover
We’ll be following the events detailed in my previous book, “Troubled Trails: The Meeker Affair and the Expulsion of Utes from Colorado.” Additionally, my friends Joy and Jonas Grant, Ute Indians from Fort Duchesne, Utah, will be joining us for part of the trip. Jonas is directly descended from some of the Ute leaders involved in the 1879 events.
As I understand it, there are expected to be 17 people joining us on the trip. We’ll visit a half-dozen sites over the two days, and spend the night in the Meeker Hotel. It should be a lot of fun.
Oh, and I might try to sell a few copies of my new book while I have a captive audience.


I’m beginning to get some events scheduled to promote my new book, Historic Adventures on the Colorado Plateau.

Colo Plateau.jpgThe next one is a radio interview with Coach on KAFM Grand Junction, set for 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 29. I’m looking forward to that.

Then I’ll be at Grand Valley Books beginning at 6:30 p.m. May 30 for a presentation and book signing. The events there are always fun and seem to draw good crowds.

I’ll have more next week.

Bear Dance

Judy and I went to Fort Duchesne, Utah, last weekend, where I hoped to take photos of the Ute Tribe’s spring Bear Dance for the Museums of Western Colorado.IMG_0297

The people gathered at the Bear Dance arena were incredibly courteous and helpful when I asked if I could take photos. They did require, however, that Judy and I join them and participate in the dance.

In this annual gathering, dance partners are always chosen by the females, and, as I learned, the woman can never ask her husband, son or brother to dance. It has to be someone outside the immediate family circle.

The music is provided by singers, who also set the rhythm and tone by rubbing tubes across notched pieces of wood that mimics the sound of a bear growling or scratching his claws on a tree.. This group of singers are from Towaoc, Colorado and White Mesa, Utah. They were friendly, helpful, and allowed me to wander behind them to take photos.


The Bear Dance is an incredible social event, where everyone is polite and abides by the rules established by long tradition. In past times, it was a chance for courtship and to reconnect with friends and relatives not seen all winter.

Thanks to all the Utes who treated us with so much generosity during the Bear Dance this past weekend. And here’s a big white guy, dancing poorly.

bob dance


Cavalry Remount Service

Last fall, Judy and I visited Fort Robinson in northwestern Nebraska, which was home to one of the largest of the U.S. Army’s Remount Service sites during the first half of the 20th century.

Army Remount Fort Reno

Fort Robinson also had direct connections to the Remount Service efforts in Colorado, which led me to writing this history column for The Daily Sentinel.

Army remounts 4-23-18

Coming (real) soon

My new book, Historic Adventures on the Colorado Plateau,

will be published May 28 by the History Press, and will be available in bookstores in June. I already have one book-signing scheduled for June 2, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Barnes & Noble in Grand Junction.

Coming SoonThe book is a compilation of articles, based on history columns I have written for The Daily Sentinel over the past five years. All are in some way related to the historic difficulty of traveling on the rugged Colorado Plateau.

History and Horses

cropped-plaque3.jpgDavit Bek was an 18th century Armenian leader.

In 1722, he led Armenian forces in a successful fight against Muslims who controlled the region at the time. I picked up this plaque, which is based on a monument to Bek, when I was in Armenia in 1983. Later, I learned more about Bek and his exploits.

I chose this as the image for my business cards, and now for this web site because I really like the combination of history and horses it displays. Also, I love jumping on horses, and this image represents that. Plus it is so filled with energy, it seems like Bek and his horse will just gallop on.

Horses as aristocrats

“One does not incarcerate aristocrats. It is enough to remind them of their word of honour.”

German author Ulrich Raulff explaining why “No farmer would consider surrounding his horses’ meadow with the barbed wire which was often used to enclose sheep and cattle.” A bit of wood or electric fence is sufficient to keep horses at home, he said.

Farewell horse

Raulff spent part of his youth growing up on his grandfather’s farm, where horses were still employed for much of the field work, and his appreciation of equines is evident from the beginning of his new book.

He has written an engrossing account of the final years of the horse as mankind’s primary source of power for transportation, war and industry, and our most important animal companion for more than 6,000 years.

I have just begun reading it. Raulff  has done tremendous research on the history of the horse, particularly in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. His narrative moves quickly and is easy to read, despite the many statistics included.

The book is to be released in the United States next month. Thanks to Ann and Richie at The Daily Sentinel for getting me an advance copy.