When I was a kid we called it “the cattle drive.” The most anticipated event of the year (except for Christmas, of course). The Pratts, the ranch I married into, make a similar trek each spring. They call it “the Trail,” the 5-6 day walk to summer range.
The first half of the herd made it to their destination by Saturday. On Wednesday it was a light day, so Seth and I took them by ourselves from Boosies to Cedar Creek, up Womach Hill, and on to White Slides. Every curve and mountain, every creek, every natural marker has a name on the trail. Seth rode Classic, his 4-year-old colt, and I rode lively 14-year-old Birdie. Kate and Cassie went along as well, our border collie dogs.
At Cedar Creek we stopped to water the herd for an hour or so. It’s a special place to me because it’s the site of my Mom’s childhood home. Grandpa homesteaded the ground and made a meager living dry farming. They were forced out eventually, as were all the other homesteaders in the hills. Drought and late frosts doomed the farmers in the end. A fenced marker commemorates the spot where my grandmother served as postmistress of the community of Alridge. All that’s left of the once thriving neighborhood is a rusted combine and a few fallen down cabins.
Several trees still stand at the old homesite. I’ll bet grandma and grandpa planted the silver leaf maple. It provided shade and shelter to their family; now it harbors cavity nesters in its aged trunk. A goldfinch sings from the top of the elm. The creek flows. The breeze rustles the grass. Life continues.
|lounging at lunchtime with Kate|
|done for the day|