Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Cattle Drive - Day 2

Click Here for Day 1

Day 2 - We woke up early, at 6:00 a.m. in time to see a beautiful sunrise. We had survived our first night of sleeping on the ground in a tent. The air was crisp and cold. Cowboy coffee, fried eggs, french toast, bacon and O.J. for breakfast started the morning right. After breakfast the wranglers went out and rounded up our horses. Here's my dad with "Sporty" before the morning ride.

We headed out for a 3 hour ride to the breath-taking Half Moon box canyon. It was an awesome morning to ride, cool air, wispy clouds and wide open spaces. We weren't looking for cattle, we were just out to see the sights and get used to our horses. It felt like a little piece of heaven.

photo by Mark MacLeod
I turned around and took this picture of the posse. It really did feel like a step back in time.

We rode past the entrance to the ranch, one of the guests snapped this picture of my dad and I....a couple of cowboy wanna be's.

After riding in the wide open spaces, the trail up to the box canyon narrowed.

My dad took this picture...that makes me smile all on it's own. The pines were tall and scratchy.

We stopped at a watering hole along the way.

photo by Mark MacLeod
Something about that watering hole also felt like we had taken a step back in time. See the little point and shoot camera around my neck? It did the trick at the time...but I sure wish I could go back there with the camera I have now!

photo by Mark MacLeod
The canyon was beautiful, but the pictures really don't do it justice. Tall rock cliffs and big pines. The trail followed a dried up creek bed. We came out of the canyon on this pretty, rustic trail.

photo by Mark MacLeod
Still smiling after almost 3 hours in the saddle...and our day was just beginning.
photo by Mark MacLeod
My dad got scratched from a branch. We decided to tell people that it was from a cougar. No one believed him. :-)

photo by Mark MacLeod
Back to the wide open spaces, heading back to the ranch for lunch.

photo by Mark MacLeod
Dad and I riding side by side, in Montana. It doesn't get much better than that.

photo by Mark MacLeod
Dad with his ever present toothpick.
photo by Mark MacLeod
Let's go "Roany" I'm hungry enough to eat a horse and you wouldn't want it to be you!

photo by Mark MacLeod
A big lunch of Polish Sausage and chips for the hungry cowboys. Then it was time to get saddled up and actually do some work. We had to go up into the timber to look for the steers. The ride was steep and tight in the trees in some spots.

Dad following cowboy / photographer Mark looking for the steers.

The 240 steers were in the huge wooded pastures. We split up into groups, searching in the hills, the valleys and in the brush. Looking over the valley from the top of the ridge really gave us a good idea of how big the country really was.

Hey dad, any steers below? My favorite view is from between a horses ears.

The steers were hard to spot. They hid in the shadows and deep in the woods. My dad and I got to ride by ourselves for a while, checking the valley for strays. We eventually moved the steers to the bottom of the hill to the flat open land.

We herded the steers to a smaller pasture so they'd be ready for the drive the next morning. It was a long day...the supper bell never sounded better!

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