Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Cattle Drive - Day 4

Click Here for Cattle Drive Day-3

All photos on todays blog, except where noted, are by Mark MacLeod of Highlander Photographics

It had rained and then poured during the night. Everything in the tent got wet. It made for a cold, wet, miserable night. We packed up our wet gear to get ready to hit the trail. We were scheduled to leave at 8:00 a.m., but the fog had moved in after the rain and we had to wait until it lifted. The skies finally cleared enough by 11:00 a.m. for us to start out.

We made a big sweep of the big pasture to round up the steers and then we hit the trail.

photo by Pat Young

It was quite the site to see all of the riders and the steers spread across the lush green pastures.

photo by Pat Young

Dad's horse Sporty was best friends with this black boy. Sporty had gotten a little more rambunctious and nutty each day. You can see him acting up as we went down the hill. By the time we got to the flat spot of the pasture he reared straight up, my dad slid off thinking that he was going to go over backwards. Thankfully he didn't go over and my dad wasn't hurt.

After Lee's crash the day before, I really didn't want anything to happen to my dad, so he and I switched horses. I was surprised, but glad that he would do it. Sporty gave me all kinds of trouble for the rest of the day. Swell.

The skies were pretty dark at the start of the drive. We moved the steers along a quiet gravel road.
The scenery was amazing. The cattle were being moved from the Nelson's Half Moon Ranch in the mountains down to their lower ranch so they could winter there. It was about 30 miles between the ranches.
Photographer Mark did a great job capturing the day. The first part of the drive was on the road. In some parts the sides of the road were wide open, other sections had a fence on one or both sides. Fortunately there was very little traffic.
It was a long, windy road. The cloudy skies finally started to clear, our boots finally started to dry out and it turned into a beautiful day.

photo by Pat Young

Rolling, rolling, rolling, keep those doggies rolling.....Rawhide!

We rode for about 3 hours before stopping for a late lunch and a short rest on the road.

It was a very welcomed break.

photo by Pat Young

Lunch was served from the back of the chuck wagon. Roast beef sandwiches, chips and soda to fill up those "spending the week outside" appetites!

A short rest and then it was back on the trail. The steers moved like a flowing river. Sometimes in a tight bunch, sometimes spread out, always changing.

photo by Pat Young

From here we left the road and headed down a steep mountain trail. It felt like you could see forever from there. The trail was rough with loose rocks on the top of the hard ground and solid rocks. Lots of slipping and sliding as we went.

The highlight for me was when Sporty started acting up in the woods and he started spinning and then backed into some big trees, getting a branch under his saddle blanket....the ran forward bucking down a mountain road. Yeehaw! One of the wranglers noticed the branch, I reached back and pulled it out and all was fine....well, except for my racing heart!
It was a pretty good feeling to be back on level ground! Mark rode ahead to get some great photos. I'll let them do the talking.

Glad that those ominous dark clouds are behind us! We stayed dry for the remainder of the day.

It was almost too warm by the time we hit camp. The trees and hills had opened up into vast rolling plains. It felt like you could see forever. What a welcome site to arrive at camp to find our tents set up and dried out.

photo by Pat Young
There was a large fenced pasture next to our camp. The steers and the horses were turned out together. Here is our camp on the trail. The tents were there, the biffs were there, the water truck was there and best of all, the cooks were there!

photo by Pat Young

The cooks were part of the volunteer fire department. They had modified a horse trailer into a mobile cooking shack. There was a large grill, a spot to do dishes and storage for all their pots and pans. They had a 2nd trailer with refrigeration. It was powered by a generator. We sure liked the cooks! Yum...pork chops!

We had time to unpack our gear and spread that out to dry too. The nice warm wind helped. Here's all of dad's gear. What a treat to have dry sleeping bags after two nights of wet!

A roaring fire was just what we needed as the temperatures dropped with the sun.

The fire and a local singing cowboy with a guitar were the perfect way to end a pretty long day.

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