You Know You Live In The Middle Of Nowhere When…Part Two

You know you live in the middle of nowhere when…begins part two of my memories of the isolated life we lived on large ranches in both Wyoming and Oregon…

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Beautiful isn’t it? Hard to not look at the Wind Rivers all day…the incredible continental divide…with the amazing ever changing views. This was Wyoming and I loved it!

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A typical scene of the Green River Drift…I rode it several times with the ranchers and cowboys either gathering cattle from close to Yellowstone in the fall months driving our cattle home on the drift or in the early spring months, when we gathered our cattle and moved them out for a few months to the high desert on the other side of Pinedale.

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The photo above was taken in the early spring months right after we were hired to manage the ranch in Wyoming. The house to the far left became our home, but first they had to remodel our house and also the owners house which was the log home more in the center, it was a 100 year old log hone. All summer as we chased flood irrigation water, I watched the ever changing Winds, it was like watching a movie that had different scenes all day long:) The tallest peak in Wyoming is Gannet Peak at 13,809′ and I had the daily privilege of this view out my windows. We lived at 7500’…the mountains were incredible as they gave me a beautiful ever changing photo, that I hung on my heart…and yes it’s still there:) Wyoming was…mesmerizing!

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Pinedale was an awesome little town…and here we go…part two.

It’s normal to pack a gun or a pistol as you go about your day as…

In Oregon, we had two kinds of rattlesnakes to contend with…down close to the hay fields you have the standard large rattler…often 6′ long ones lying around the hay fields and anywhere else…you had to always watch where you stepped. We also had to contend with timber rattlers in the higher elevation where we had cattle pasture. Timber rattlesnakes like to curl around the tree branches to blend in and then scare the heck out of you! The first time I saw one curled around a tree branch hanging I wanted to scream oh my GOSH!!! I think I did but not exactly those words!

In Wyoming, we had bears, wolves, bobcats and other critters to worry about…but thank goodness, no rattlesnakes or pack rats! Our elevation at 7500′ was too high for them:)

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And currently where we live, life has changed in the last 15 years…we have a neighborhood watch and we are armed, ready to defend ourselves if need be. I grew up out here during winter months and we used to not lock our doors…now we have security systems on our house, shop and barn along with several high-end cameras. In today’s world, there are people who love to steal things to make meth…farm and ranch country gets hit lots due to the farm chemicals we use on our crops and weeds etc. They steal chemicals to make their meth. If you do not have chemicals, then they steal fuel and copper or steel. It is a crazy world we live in and we are on full alert…laser light and night vision scope…life has changed out here. Don’t bug us!

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You know you live in the middle of nowhere when you begin to visit more with the cows and horses than you do with people as there are no people around…and as time goes on, you begin to hear the cows and horses talking back to you…sharing the moment and shooting the breeze!

The very first time I rode up in the higher elevations in Central Oregon, to gather cattle, I thought I would be safe from rattlesnakes…I mean, come on, everyone would think that at 5500′ elevation, rattlesnakes would not like it right? I had yet to hear a true rattlesnake rattle at me nor had I seen any rattlesnakes…WB told me they were around down low close to where we lived. Little did I know!

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Once we finished with gathering cattle, Steve, one of our cowboys, was leading us off the mountain…he was in front of me and stopped to look at the incredible scenery we could see…

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He turned to tell me something, and his face went white…he yelled at me to move NOW! Lucky for me that my mare, Lottie, knew nothing about snakes either so she did not spook…the rattlesnake was directly under her and was coiling…we moved fast enough to escape! Mike, the horse trainer for the ranch, had been behind me with a four-year old gelding…while I was moving quickly away from the snake, Mike had taken his horse over to the cattle pond to get a drink…it had lots of mud around the edge that you could get stuck in and with all the commotion around Lottie and I, Mike’s horse tried to spook, but was stuck in the mud and almost pitched Mike into the pond…it was a true Charlie Russel painting! Luckily no one was hurt and we all made it safely off the mountain! My eyes were as big as saucers from then on as I was on full alert everywhere I went…

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“Hank the Cow Dog,” was about 10 months old in this photo…he is the 6 month puppy that rode out the massive flood on a piece of a wood and was washed up against the house in a corner…we were so happy when we found him!

In Wyoming, we could feel eyes watching us late at night through the curtains on the large living room windows…its -35 below so who would be standing out there watching you anyway…as you look, you scream, as pressed to the glass is 4 sets of eyes with huge heads and bodies attached to them…MOOSE!

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Did you know that moose have two moods? Curious and MAD! You hurriedly pull the curtains back together….and the moose bumps into the window….you turn off the lights…and the moose bumps up against the window again with a devious moose grunt….you quietly scream again and run to your bedroom hiding under your bed…hoping they will go away…HA!

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The next morning all four moose are curled up on our deck waiting for us! “Good morning Miss Moose…why are you kissing the hand rail on my porch? Miss Mouse gave me a look and grunt and I shut up…Miss Moose can do anything she wants! Sorry for the blur, but she would not hold still for my camera! I loved Wyoming…even the cold weather with curiously mad moose and every adventurous part!

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 You can ride and gather cattle for miles without seeing another person or any sign of civilization…you almost feel like you are the only person left on earth. It is an amazing view to see…no power lines, no smog, no busy highways, no people…almost like unsettled land. This photo shows the Wind River Mountains or the Continental Divide, close to South Pass on the Oregon Trail. The objects you see on the hill are the water tanks…we turned the cattle out on the high desert during the late spring months and watered them via windmills…we had several to maintain.

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Often the desert had quick squalls that would drop in fast with thunder and lightening…the sky would grow black in the middle of the day…but the storms left as quickly as they came. The high desert was vast and huge…when it was time to gather up 1000 head of cows on our 15,000 acre pasture, it took us one morning to do it. I could not believe how fast it went. Growing up on my folks cattle ranch, it took us a few months to gather 800 mother cows and calves on the summer range in the Blue Mountains. And even though you think the desert is flat, it is not as it has more small hills than you can see.

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I wondered what it looked like to the men and women who made it over South Pass? The wagon trains crossed the desert right through the acreage we ran cattle on…what did they think once they got over the divide and saw the vast desert…and the Wyoming Mountains ahead of them? Who may have lived here, was it a family or maybe a fur trapper?

You know the sounds of a cattle truck as it tops the hill that drops into the ranch in the early dawn light…

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First the cab lights crest the hill and disappear as the they drop down the last hill only to pop out in time for the next cattle truck lights to top the hill…15 trucks in all…choreographed to drop into the ranch all in a row…like clock work!

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You can hear the sounds in your head and in your heart…the sounds of aluminum truck gates opening, cattle hooves on metal in the loading shoot…you see the breath of both men, horses, cattle and dogs…as the cattle are quietly loaded like clockwork…like they all knew it was time to head for the mountains for the summer range.

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As one truck is loaded you hear the rev of the semi as it pulls away from the loading dock and the next truck pulls in…you hear a few jokes as your brand inspector signs off on the cattle as you know him like family…and as the last truck leaves shifting gears gaining speed to climb that first hill…and it dips outta sight only to bob up one more time into the bright sunshine of daybreak…it tweaks your heart a bit…another winter is gone.

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The trucks have 200 miles round trip to go so it will be a few hours before they return for more cows…800 head mother cows, along with calves, yearlings and etc. took around 25-30 trucks to haul…the day began in the early morning darkness and would end in the middle of the night or the early morning hours up on the mountain ranch.

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You know the sounds of cattle in the corrals settling down and in the meadow pastures close to you in a new place as the first new day begins for them on the summer range…you shiver as you climb out of your warm sleeping bag wearing your long underwear and shoving on your jeans…boot socks and wild rag as you head out to help feed and do whatever is needed to help…counting cows and calves, moving cattle or settling cows. Later that morning, you head back down to the winter ranch to close things up now that all the cattle had been shipped as well as horses and dogs too. As you crest the hill and see the ranch, it takes your breath away as it is now standing quietly still…the life of both man and animal that was there yesterday is now gone. You pull up to the loading chute and take a few minutes as…

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Your mind plays back over the last few weeks of gathering and the finality that happens each June 1st…as time seems to stand still until cattle and man return in late fall.

Note: The description I used above is based on my memories of growing up on my folks cattle ranch in Oregon where the cattle truck sounds and memories began at an early age.

There is one grocery store in Pinedale to shop in and the prices are through the roof as the next closest grocery store is over 100 miles one way on two lane country roads, either South to Rock Springs or Northwest to Jackson Hole.

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Note all the pick ups…yep cowboy country!

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Once you go into the grocery store to shop, you note that there are LOTS of wildlife mounts looking at you as you shop down the aisles. In the frozen food aisle I looked at Fox, Bobcat or Mountain Lion. On other aisles we saw Mountain Goats, Bears, Antelope, Coyotes, while the bigger animals had a head mount, such as an Elk, Moose, Deer…Buffalo…and even fish! It was quite an experience as the store had all the food we needed except fresh fruit in the summers. It also had hunting and fishing supplies, guns, knifes etc. everything you can imagine under the sun…for the husband as you shopped.

As the day ends, you go to sleep happy and content…your body feels good as it got worked…

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And you accomplished good things in your life on a remote cattle ranch…the incredible isolation and the hard work at hand, can be overwhelming to some, but for me it was always a great joy…one that I grew up in and one that I will never forget. I knew I lived out in the middle of nowhere…the boondocks…the hinterlands…and I loved every part of it!

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It is my life and who I am…I’m thankful I have stories yet to tell…filled with memories of a cowgirl’s life lived in the middle of nowhere…I would not trade it for anything different!

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Have a great evening and a fun week and weekend!

You Know You Live In The Middle Of Nowhere When…Part One

You know you live in the middle of nowhere…the boondocks…the hinterlands…the isolation of country life when…you have no electricity, no water or plumbing, no land line telephone or cell phone…are you kidding? TV and radio are a non-existence item…no news of the world and no local news…you have no clue what is happening in the outside world. No Wi-Fi…DSL or Internet. You are cut off from civilization. Hello? Hello can you hear me now?

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It’s you and mother nature…usually a few hundred cows and several horses along with a few dogs and my cat!

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I thought it would be fun to compile my list of recognizing when you are living in the remote solitude of nowhere, finding yourself in the boondocks of the twilight zone…so here we go, hang on!

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You know when you live in the middle of nowhere when…

1-You do not see another person besides your husband and your son for weeks at a time…we lived in our camp trailer while our house was being remodeled, with Kalamazoo, our black Manx kitty who was 14 years old and our son who was almost 18…oh fun-fun!

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Incredibly, we managed to live for almost six months in our camp trailer together…our gooseneck horse trailer was my pantry as it held my freezer and refrigerator plugged into an extension cord that ran to the house. I was awfully glad to move into the ranch house at the end of the six months of trailer living, but we found silly things to laugh about and we learned what was truly important in life…which is the greatest lesson of all!

2-You can tell which neighbor is driving by in their pick up by the sounds their pick up makes…be it exhaust or the type of engine or maybe it just makes a sound all its own…and you know who it is!

3-You only go to town for groceries and supplies once a month…and it takes a couple of hours to get to town on windy country roads and curvy two lane highways….

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Incredible scenery though:)

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4-You live in the least populated county in the least populated state in the United States…and sing “Oh Give Me A Home Where The Buffalo Roam…” and the song comes true!

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5-You can see a million stars as well as the satellites that pass overhead…you can often see the Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis with the incredible colors. William Shakespeare once said,”My Soul Is The Sky”…he was right as the endless sky and solar system truly feed my spirit with a sense of awe! The night sky is huge out in the middle of nowhere and especially in Wyoming with the altitude, we felt much closer and saw much more than ever before…no pollution…just crisp clear sky that went on forever and ever whether at night or during the daytime…it was and still is incredible to live in the boondocks!

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6-You missed the first Gulf War due to lack of TV reception, lack of radio reception and no newspapers to be found…we had no idea what was happening in Kuwait or Iraq…it was bizarre!

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7-Due to country-itous, you resort to silly games…such as when you talk to your spouse, you pick up a piece of wire from a bale of hay and look them in the eye saying, “I feel really wired this morning from my coffee.” And the humor and country games begin!

8-You literally have to mail order everything from a tube of lip gloss to a much needed tractor part…thank goodness for the mail as it was my salvation!

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9-You catch one of your employees playing “Catch the Live Rattlesnake “with your 15-year-old son on a warm summer evening in your yard no doubt, around your house, where they have the snake on a leash of bailing twine saying “Here Mr. Sneaky Snake…Come On…Come See Me!”

10-The above employee Brian, kills the snake, forgets to tell you that he put the meat etc. into one of your baggies in your back porch refrigerator…then leaves as he forgot to take it when he left…and you get up in the middle of the night for a cold drink of water or ice tea that you keep in the back porch refrigerator….you do not have your contacts in and you see this baggie with sort of dark reddish stuff in it…and you wonder what in the world…you squint your eyes real good and then you see the diamond back skin in the dark red blood…and now you scream obscenities…stomping up the stairs to your bedroom…waking up the husband who hears you swearing and saying some very choice names…and he thinks uh-oh saying “Yes dear, yes dear, I agree!”

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11-Brian hears that you found his snake guts…and he stays away and hides from you for a good two weeks.

In Central Oregon, in one summer we killed 36 rattlesnakes just at the ranch complex where we lived…they were everywhere we went. The hay fields were full of them and often they would get baled into a bale of hay so when you get the job of walking and rolling the bales over…you roll and watch carefully. WB had one bite the fork on the bale wagon and it hung on so hard, it tipped the hay bale over that it was trapped in…their bite is evil and their mouths are so strong!

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12-A night at the movies consists of an evening drive up on that mountain for fun…as you grab your camera and your music, taking your guns just in case you see a snake or a bear or a critter!

13-In Wyoming, you see more skunks than people! We had a black Manx kitty who accidentally got out of the house at dusk…I pulled on my boots…I was pretty stylish with my boots and my nightgown…I grabbed a flashlight and begin to hunt for him…oh there he is you think…What? NO IT IS NOT…it’s a skunk that you have the light on calling here kitty kitty…make another note…always, ALWAYS wear your glasses!

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14-A few weeks later a skunk gets under your house about 3:00am and sprays right under your bedroom….OH MY GOSH! Instant coughing and pungent fumes wake you up as you come gagging out of your bedroom…eyes watering as the smell somehow becomes a taste in your mouth! Our son goes to school the next day and while in home room one of the students and the teacher ask, who got sprayed by a skunk? Your son dies of embarrassment as he is the newest student in a very small school…that night he goes out and shoots a couple skunks for revenge! I could not believe how many skunks there were in Wyoming…they were everywhere!

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And with that said…this ends part one…it’s beautiful out today with clear sunny skies and currently 76 degrees! Have a wonderful week!

Part Two is next…stay tuned:)

 

The Tale Of A Wyoming Buffalo On Top Of Pinon Ridge…

The tale of a Wyoming Buffalo, up on top of Pinon Ridge is one of those stories you live for and live to tell. I know it’s long but it’s worth it! Many of the photos that I have are not digital so the quality is not great…but the heart is:) Most of the photos will enlarge if you click on them…I added several landscape photos with incredible views so you can see the Wyoming I knew and loved…

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I was not ready to pose for a picture when WB snapped this…looks like I am saying huh? He took this photo of me with my hair blowing to show the Wyoming Noon Express also known as the Wild Wyoming Wind! I had hurricane strings on all my hats when I was riding my horse or out and about…so hang on tight as here we go…with the tale of a Wyoming Buffalo up on Pinon Ridge.

It was barely daylight that late July morning when I unloaded my partner out of the horsetrailer, Lottie was big eyed as she looked around taking it all in, this was her third ride with me up Pinon. She had been in Wyoming about six weeks…the first month she was corralled until she was acclimated to the altitude. Then we took many slow and easy rides to build her stamina and overall health…she was doing great and she loved gathering cows!

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We planned to meet where the Green River begins at the base of Square Top Mountain and Green River Lake (above) with our fellow cattle ranchers and neighbors to gather cattle for the twelve ranches we represented.

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The ranches we rode with belonged to the Green River Drift or the Upper Green River Cattleman’s Grazing Association. A grazing association is a group of cattle ranchers who have permits to graze their cattle on public land for the summer months. Each ranch provides a cowboy for the summer to stay with the cattle once they reached the high country. The cowboys check the cattle daily, looking for illness or injury etc. and on this particular morning, we were meeting up with the cowboys to move the cattle to higher pastures up behind Yellowstone Park.

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I tightened up the cinch and checked my gear out, while WB was saddling his horse next to me and doing the same. Lightning was dancing and flashing all around us as the thunder cracked overhead, playing crescendo after crescendo with ba-booms that drummed into  a “Wild Wyoming Rumba In The Sky!”

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I looked forward to the day as WB was able to ride with me gathering cows, however when your hubby is the ranch manager/foreman things can happen…one of our bosses arrived with several Argentina kids that were visiting the US to play polo at his ranch, in Jackson Hole. I looked at WB and then we both looked at Bob, who was the elder cowboy on our outfit, and before I could ask him, he looked at me and said “GO, get gone girl and get going…hurry up go, before you get stuck here, and miss out on riding and gathering!” I took his advice quickly as Lottie and I trotted off to join the group…I didn’t know our neighbors that well yet but Lottie and I caught up with them and we were off for a new adventure, new scenery, incredible scary weather and treasured memories of living on a cattle ranch in Wyoming, at the base of the Continental Divide!

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Lottie and I, heading out to check cows here in Oregon on our mountain ranch…she was an amazing horse…so pretty and smart…calm, dependable and laid back but give her a cue and hang on as she moved like a cat when it came to cutting cows. My Dad would get so tickled and laugh at her as she would be in the pasture moving cows by herself so she could cut them out of “her” herd!

Wild Bill watched as our group rode up Pinon, climbing around 1500′, with lightning strikes all around us, it was something else to see! He saw jagged strikes hit the ground starting several small fires…about the time he was ready to call attention to it, the falling snow put out the fires as fast as the fire had begun. As we pushed on, the snow began coming down harder with a slight breeze that was blowing snow in my face…I pulled my Wild Rag up higher to cover my face up to my eyes, and pulled my cowboy hat down. I could not see the perimeter around me, due to the intensity of the snow, I could only see the cattle in front of me and Lottie’s ears.

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I didn’t know the lay of the land or where we were going, I figured the cows would know where to go as they had summered here before so we stayed with the cows as we disappeared into the clouds of brilliant white lightning and snow, with rumbling cracks of thunder that boomed above us. WB and Bob took the Argentina group for a trail ride away from us so they would not accidentally spook the cattle we were gathering. Fortunately they were low enough that the storm and blizzard missed them, they had a little rain but not much.

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We kept on climbing with our heads down and eyes squinting, gathering and pushing cows as we climbed higher. I continued to look both right and left for my neighbors…all I saw was a very serious snow storm with lightning strikes way to close!

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This photo was taken earlier in June, it is about a quarter of the way up Pinon…looking back at Square Top and Green River Lake and the Green River flowing below…the country in Wyoming was HUGE! Amazingly huge!

The further we climbed, the harder it stormed and boomed! I found myself in a surreal world with near white out conditions, in the middle of summer…the end of July no doubt…while back home in Eastern Oregon my family was in wheat harvest and it was 105 degrees!

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It was a total mind trip as I wondered if I had ridden into a parallel universe or something? I kept moving cows, hoping to break over the top.

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Thankfully we rode into a lush green meadows up behind Yellowstone Park, the sun came out, the clouds parted and disappeared…just like that, we were out of the storm and my neighbors were either there or right behind me! Lottie and I sat looking at the incredible scenery and the cows we gathered…we had gathered a large bunch despite the storm. It was about 10:30 in the morning as we all sat on our horses drying out, basking in the warm sunshine while we watched the herd. One of my neighbors rode over to introduce himself and talk a bit and dry out…and then he said to me, “Hey look, whats he doing?”

I looked and said “Who and what is he doing?”

My neighbor said, “Hey, yeah…it’s Sam, (who rode for our ranch) and he’s chasing after a buffalo in the herd.”

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“WHAT?” I figured it was tease the newbie from Oregon…ha-ha…so I carefully asked him “Oh come on, are you sure its a buffalo?”

“Yep, I’m sure!” He figured it to be a young, maybe 3-4 years old but still sizable…we watched as Sam roped the Buffalo, while a bunch of cowboys and cowgirls gathered around to see what he was doing…and then my neighbor said “Hey, let’s go see what’s up.”

Sam had the Buffalo roped and down. A few cowboys helped him by catching the heels and several cowboys got off their horses to help, as now they had the Buffalo strung out. With the risk of Brucellosis developing, it was felt that the Buffalo had to be castrated to protect the cattle herd. No one said a word…not one word. I sat on Lottie watching the story unfold…wishing I had a camera and something to write on! Silence fell like a veil on us and time was suspended…finally one of the neighbors got off his horse and said “Look, we can’t do this, I’ll come unglued if you do this.”

Without a word, the cowboys dropped their ropes that held the Buffalo down…the Buffalo was a good size and he was mad! I knew what was coming…I asked Lottie to roll back and turn, moving it like “Sue Sally” as we galloped away!

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I looked back over my shoulder wishing I had a video camera as it was a “Real Life, Charlie Russell Painting!” Once the Buffalo was free from the ropes, he got up snorting and madder than heck…he began charging towards the horses, and the cowboys yet on the ground. Several horses took off dragging lasso ropes, spooking themselves as well as other horses who by now were bucking and running to get away from the beast while the cowboys were running on foot as fast as they could away from “Psycho Buffalo!” Lottie and I galloped out of there in record time heading for the high country…at 11,500′ how much higher can you go? I didn’t know or care as we ran fast and thankfully escaped the crazy chaos!

About 30 minutes later we all gathered back again in the meadow and rode off the mountain quietly…thinking of our day so far…it was noon and we were headed for home, back down Pinion Ridge on that crazy day the end of July.

About half way down Pinon, one of my neighbors said “You know, I was born and raised here in Wyoming and that storm this morning was the worst one I have ridden through!” I could not believe it! I figured the storm must not be bad as no one said a word, they just buckled down and rode through it like me…ha! We made it through one of the worst storms on the Upper Green…me and Lottie. I miss her, she was my girl and my partner…we were a team and had a great time together in the 20 years I had her. She was a triple bred Leo mare and she was incredible…a deep red sorrel, except for her white blaze on her face, and three white socks. I would love to find another one just like her.

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Once I made it to the trailer and my man, Wild Bill, I hopped off Lottie and hurriedly told WB about the Buffalo and he rolled his eyes and hooted on me. He thought I was teasing him so he would not listen to me…I said “No it’s true!” He said “Oh sure, I don’t get to go and you see a Buffalo” and I said “Yes I saw a Buffalo” he said “Yeah right”….so I marched over to my neighbors and said tell ’em….and they did, while they were hooting and laughing at both of us!

The reason for the concern about the Buffalo, was due to disease. Buffalo will breed cattle and they carry a deadly disease that can wipe out your entire herd of cattle called Brucellosis. We called the Fish and Game as soon as we made it home that day…and they dealt with the angry Buffalo up on Pinon Ridge…all on a typical day, gathering cows in Wyoming in one of the most beautiful places on earth!

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A few footnotes on Sublette County and the Upper Green River Drift:

We lived in Sublette County which was the least populated county in the United States…Wyoming was the least populated state in the United States and we lived 8 miles from a very small town!

Local ranchers have grazed cattle on public land for more than a century in the Upper Green River Valley. Each spring, cattle are driven north to their pasture allotments and when it gets cold in the fall, the cattle begin to drift off the mountains to head home for the winter. The twice a year cattle drives have become known as the Green River Drift.

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Ranchers who are members of the Upper Green River Cattle Association can be found moving herds of cattle south down the Green River Lakes road during the fall months, to the staging area next to Trapper’s Point monument area about 5 miles west of Pinedale. The large groups of cattle are then moved to the cutting grounds where each rancher’s cattle are sorted out by brand into their respective herds, to be driven in smaller cattle drives back to the home ranches. Our ranch where we lived was down on the flat meadow ground that you see as that was my view of Gannet and the Wind Rivers.

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In the 1890s, the first cattle associations were formed in the Upper Green River Valley as a result of extremely harsh winters that decimated local cattle herds. The Big Piney Roundup Association was formed in 1890. In 1916, the Upper Green River Cattle and Horse Growers Association was formed. The name was changed to the Upper Green River Cattle Association in 1925. In the 1930s, the association added driveways which allowed them to bypass private land and more easily funnel cattle to desired pasture areas. For more than a hundred years, local ranchers have worked with government entities to manage the range allotments and cattle use with the best management practices possible. The Green River Drift, cutting grounds, and driveways have been a part of the valley’s history for so long now some people have suggested they be considered for historic recognition and designation.

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As I close for now, here is where the Green River begins…it flows out of Green River Lake…and begins its winding way to the Colorado River. Square Top mountain is in the background…I often rode above it and could look back and look down to find it as it was so level. Pinon Ridge represents a pivotal ridge due to the three main water ways it represents. Depending on which side the waters flow from rain drops or snow melt, it will either flow to the Columbia River or the Colorado River or the great Mississippi River. Some call it Three Waters Mountain or Ridge…I first heard this the first time I rode up Pinon and it was raining! I loved it!!!

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May you all have a blessed week wherever you are! Minnie is having a Mommy and me moment! HRCG over and out…10-4 good buddy!

This is a special mountain: at its summit converge three major watersheds. Every year during the late spring or early summer, a pile of snow at a certain place on this mountain melts into three distinct basins. When water from one basin finally reaches the ocean, it will be well over a thousand miles distant from the mouths of the other two basins. – See more at: http://www.usends.com/Explore/Elevations/3WM/index.html#sthash.0BimcudI.dpuf
This is a special mountain: at its summit converge three major watersheds. Every year during the late spring or early summer, a pile of snow at a certain place on this mountain melts into three distinct basins. When water from one basin finally reaches the ocean, it will be well over a thousand miles distant from the mouths of the other two basins. – See more at: http://www.usends.com/Explore/Elevations/3WM/index.html#sthash.0BimcudI.dpuf
Meltwater eventually trickles into Fish Creek, which is a tributary of the Gros Ventre River, which flows into the Snake River, which in turn flows into the Columbia River, which enters the Pacific Ocean near Astoria OR. The far side of Pinon Ridge, however, drains into the Roaring Fork, which flows into the Green River, then the Colorado River, which empties into the Gulf of California, which meets the Pacific Ocean way down somewhere between Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – some 2000 miles down the coast from Astoria. – See more at: http://www.usends.com/Explore/Elevations/3WM/index.html#sthash.iupIQ4SI.dpuf

Wyo Why Wyoming Oh My Wyoming!

Wyo Why 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.

Shez Alotta Leo

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.

Wyoming Meadow

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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

Wyoming Morning

This is walking out of our house onto the front porch…typical winter morning…blowing snow, making drifts…and -30 degrees or more.

WY. Snow Blowing Drifts

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.

Our WY. Driveway

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.

Wyoming Snow Storm

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:)

Wild Bill WY. Blowing Road

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.

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No matter what we had to deal with in Wyoming, it was all good to both WB and me…everyday was an amazing adventure:)

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