Wyoming: Pony Express

IN MAY 1860, ‘Pony Bob’ Haslam was riding the Pony Express east from Friday’s Station on the California-Nevada state line (where the resort of Lake Tahoe is today) to Buckland’s Station, 75 miles away in Nevada. At Buckland’s his relief refused to ride because of Indian trouble, so Haslam carried on to Smith’s Creek – a total distance of 190 miles without rest, returning after a nine hour break with the westbound mail. The 20-year-old born in London, England, had covered 380 miles on his own during an Indian war, the longest ride ever by a Pony Express rider. Continue reading “Wyoming: Pony Express”

Calgary: The Stampede

THE four teams of horses – four thoroughbreds in each team – charge past, the light wagons they are pulling wheel to wheel as they come around the final bend and gallop, nostrils foaming, for the finish line. The drivers lash the reins, straining every muscle to bring their passion to their teams. Behind, another 16 riders urge their horses in a pack towards the line, as 18,000 screaming spectators get caught up in the spectacle.

No, it’s not the chariot race from Ben Hur, but Chuck Wagon racing at Calgary Stampede – with a cool $1million dollars on offer to the winner. Continue reading “Calgary: The Stampede”

Greenland: Real life… and certain death

‘ONCE your plane takes off again, you’re stuck here until Monday,’ says Susanna, the guide who meets me on Friday morning. ‘There are no more flights in or out.’

Welcome to one of the most remote spots on Earth, where the January temperature averages a bracing -27ºC (-16ºF). Kangerlussuaq in Greenland is the former US Air Force base of Sondrestrom and the attractions for those who served here may be guessed at from a sign in the former HQ, now a museum: ‘Sondrestrom is a great place to be. By order of the base commander.’ Continue reading “Greenland: Real life… and certain death”