I got on the trail early today and saw this gopher snake soon after getting started. I've been surprised at how few reptiles I have seen along the way so far, considering the terrain we have been in; I really expected to see more, especially more rattlesnakes, as it seems their kind of territory.
For most of the day, we did more dropping down off the mesas, getting lower in elevation. At one point I had to pass through a gate that was just an inch too narrow for Takoda’s panniers, which meant that I would have to completely unpack him so he could get through, then re-load him on the other side; instead, I spent a lot of time and muscle power pushing on the fencepost to widen it for him--and finally succeeded!
After that we rode for a long time along a river bed, where it was very flat, until inevitably we had to climb a mesa, which was very steep and tough. On the top we once more were riding along a dirt road. Miles on dirt road seem to go by significantly slower than trail miles, and the afternoon crawled by. About 7pm, we finally got to a junction with a spring about ½ mile off trail and camped at the spring; it was a very nice spot in the trees with grass and lots of clear, good water for the horses.