Why Wyo Wyoming Oh My Wyoming…became our song as we prepared to move to Wyoming to manage a vast cattle ranch of 100,000 acres. As I progress along with different Wyoming stories, I’ll show you my first look at where we were to live on the ranch…thankfully the Continental Divide was right behind the house and that is what I looked at…WB knew the mountains out my door would capture me…and it did for several months as we waited to move into our home.
The photos above and below were taken of my mare Shez Alotta Leo, “Lottie” with “my daily take my breath away view”. Behind her are the Wind River mountains, or the Continental Divide, and Gannett Peak. I could also see the Wyoming Range in front of Lottie and the Sawtooth Range behind the ranch as well…mountains surrounded us with the stunning raw beauty of the landscape wherever we went.
I loved Wyoming…it was a cowgirl’s dream. I never grew tired or bored with watching the mountains and the ever changing scenery of the awe-inspiring Continental Divide. We chased flood irrigation on the meadow that first summer, and could not stop staring at this view…it was incredibly surreal to be so close to such rugged beauty that you often wondered if it was a giant painting…guess now that I think of it, it was a giant painting, designed and painted by God above! Gannett was the highest peak in Wyoming and depending on the light of day it was both majestic and mysterious…what a view we had to look at!
Whether I was washing the dishes looking out my window at the Rockies or on horseback moving cows in various Wyoming weather, the views always took my breath away…I lived with a permanent jaw dropping, breathless “Wow” look on my face.
We lived at 7500′ elevation with beautiful clear skies that were a different color and depth of blue during the daytime, while the nighttime sky was filled with stars and different galaxies and more stars, it was spectacular. Due to the higher elevation of where we lived, we did not have air and dust pollution so the skies day and night were clean, clear and pristine. And Lottie is still coming to see me…her white blaze gives her away!
The small community we lived close to was like going back to the good old days where a man could trust in a handshake as truth and a man’s word was a man’s word. From day one we were welcomed into the community and felt like we had lived there a long time…it was a good fit. The closest movie theatre was 40 miles from us in a huge quonset hut building called “The Flick”…the movies you wanted to see usually arrived about a year after they were hits at the box office.
If Lottie could talk, she would be saying “Where the heck are we and why?” The year before we managed a ranch in Central Oregon and Lottie and I had to worry about rattlesnakes…and from rattlesnake hell we arrived in Wyoming skunk country! We had a crabby black Manx named Kalamazoo who was around 14 years old and he got out one evening at dusk…I was outside for an hour with a flashlight calling for him…and then I saw him under the house they were remodeling and went closer and all of a sudden I realized it was black like Kalamazoo but…it had a bit of white on him too with a big bushy tail! I took faster than a speeding bullet steps…running back to the house where Zoo had showed up anyway…he did pretty good for being an older kitty and moving all over with us.
Storms in Wyoming, were incredible as they moved in quickly to storm and then they moved out as quickly…there were no cloudy, overcast, gray days. Yes we had wind chills of -40 degrees and wind that usually began around noon with plenty of snow and lots of snow drifts.
This is walking out of our house onto the front porch…typical winter morning…blowing snow, making drifts…and -30 degrees or more.
WB’s heading out to blow the snow off the road in the early morning. I often rode with him on the tractor to see what type of drifts the night or day had conjured up. I wish I had the digital camera that I have now…this was back before digital but close…these photos would likely be our old Cannon…I still have it:)
Our driveway into the ranch was about a mile long with barrow pit ditches on either side of it…often we had white outs from the wind and blowing snow…you could not tell where the road was! After getting stuck a few times trying to find it, we put up stakes painted with orange paint on top.
I took this photo when we were caught half way down our driveway home by a sudden winter storm, it came in fast with wind as well as a blizzard…typical Wyoming weather. WB had blown the driveway out earlier that morning and by 10:30am it had blown shut.
And here we ended up…WB was driving this time and once you get a tiny bit into a rut or in this case, snow that was drifting, its impossible to pull out of it…luckily we were almost home, but with the wind and wind chill factor and the white out conditions you had to be very careful…WB bundled up with everything we had with us, and I was a Nervous Nellie until I saw him coming back in the tractor blowing a trail to pull out our pick up “Red”…remember we name ALL our vehicles:)
Every morning during the winter snow months, WB had to blow open our road coming into the ranch as we had serious overnight snowdrifts that were deep and once again in the late afternoon so our son could get home from school in his Willy’s Jeep. Everyday the son would try to plow through the drifts in 4 wheel drive and get stuck so WB would blow the road open to where he was stuck, chain the Jeep to his tractor, pull the son out of the drift and continue to blow the road open, getting both son and Jeep home while blowing a trail home.
No matter what we had to deal with in Wyoming, it was all good to both WB and me…everyday was an amazing adventure:)