King of the Dinosaur Hunters by Lowell Dingus

King of the Dinosaur Hunters by Lowell Dingus

Author:Lowell Dingus
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Published: 2018-10-24T16:00:00+00:00

I was absolutely helpless and unable to shift myself or attend to my most trivial wants. Never has an invalid received more conscientious care than did I at the hands of Mr. Colburn. His care and patience were most exemplary, although I fear they were bestowed upon a somewhat unworthy person. If at times . . . I appeared unnecessarily harsh or cross, I trust he will ascribe it to the great mental and physical pain with which I was afflicted, for looking back from this somewhat distant perspective I know and fully realize that to his tender care I am indebted for the privilege I now enjoy of making this humble, though grateful acknowledgment of his kind attention.14

Finally, by June 29, Hatcher could hobble along with the help of a crutch Colburn had fashioned, and they resumed their journey to Gallegos, some five hundred miles away, through the snow, shoveling it away over a patch large enough to accommodate their beds every night. They greatly feared that the Río Chico would be choked with ice when they reached it, rendering it impossible to cross, but upon their late arrival, it was frozen solid to a thickness over which they could simply drive. On July 26, the weary crew rolled into the settlements near the mouth of the Río Chico, where they first learned of the ongoing Spanish-American War. With Hatcher more or less on the mend, they pressed on, leaving their wagon and outfit there and heading for Gallegos on horseback. But upon reaching the town of Santa Cruz and learning that a steamer was due shortly, Colburn decided to take it to Punta Arenas so he could begin his voyage home, since “he had had quite enough of Patagonia.”15

Hatcher had just set off for Gallegos alone on horseback when a ferocious rainstorm that eventually changed to snow enveloped him. Nonetheless, he persevered and reached a small estancia about thirty miles below Santa Cruz about 10:00 P.M., where he was warmly sheltered, “which, considering my benumbed and crippled condition, was indeed most welcome. . . .” By morning, the storm had morphed into a full-blown blizzard, so he couldn’t press on until the next day. The icy landscape made travel treacherous: “In my crippled condition, I could walk only with the greatest difficulty, and progress on foot was not only painful but exceedingly tedious. To mount or dismount from my horse required great effort and was attended with considerable pain.” His unshod horses commonly slipped and slid on the ice, and he eventually had to abandon all but one along the way. On the fifth day of his trek in late August, Hatcher stumbled into Halliday’s estancia, “whose hospitality, as well as that of his wife and family, are proverbial throughout Patagonia.” After recouping for several days under their care, Hatcher crossed the river to Gallegos to retrieve his mail and receive medical care. Then he holed up in Gallego’s finest, yet still hellish, hotel:


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