Tales from the O-NO Ranch
As summer approaches (at least I know it’s s’posed to approach, but at present it is snowing and looks like the middle of January out my window), I think of summers past.
Our second summer in Colorado found our family on the Pleasant Valley Ranch at Ridgway, Colo. My job there was to take care of some 300 pairs and replacement heifers. Most mornings I would head up the mountain in a bobtail truck with my horse or I would just be riding up, depending on where I needed to be on that particular day.
I remember the first time I rode up the mountain. I was riding a big gentle horse and leading a colt and both came off the Texas ranch. The colt was really green and needed some good hard mountain riding. I somehow got off the main trail and onto a game trail, which wasn’t hard for me ” I could get lost in Little Miss Martha’s closet. We wound up in an aspen grove where there was lots of downed timber.
As I picked my way around and over the downed logs, suddenly three bull elk jumped up right under our noses and I thought I might just lose the whole expedition at that point. These ponies had never seen an elk up that close and neither had I, fact of bizness! I managed to stay on top of my ole pony who was travelin’ sideways at mach speed, but I lost my grip on the colt’s lead rope. He didn’t go far and I managed to find my way up to the top of the mountain.
As the summer progressed, I cherished my time spent up on top, prowlin’ through the cows and timber. On occasion I would have to take down the nylon corral and catch a foot rot or some ole sister with a bad eye. I would get a little uptight in the process, as I was a good many miles from the headquarters and if I got hurt no one would come looking for me until late, late evening. I managed to keep the cattle in decent shape and the bulls moved around to cover all the cows.
I met a family from Chicago on one occasion as I had just gone through a locked gate and unloaded my pony and mounted up. They used the same gate to get to their summer home. They were so excited to see a real cowboy that they invited me up to their house for a short visit and a cup of coffee. I didn’t stay long but did enjoy the excitement in those little kids’ eyes as they petted my hoss and rubbed my saddle.
Gentle readers, those types of experiences of solitude in big country and then again tellin’ city folks about that rugged and free cowboy life ” what a way to live!
I do hope that sometime in the future we do have summer this year. I just never would have believed that the wind could blow so hard and so consistently for such a long, long time. It can, and it has!
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, and I’ll c. ya.
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