The forest is full
of folks seeking solitude. . .
the thrill of the hunt.
Snow settles on ground
left thirsty by months of drought,
now kissed by moisture.
The cows and their calves have happily spent the last three months grazing on the Routt and Medicine Bow National Forest. October 1st is the off date for our Forest grazing permit. Friends and family help us as we bring the cattle down from their summering grounds.
Tiarnan helped tend two sheepcamps. We drove two and a half hours to Shirley Basin, where Guillermo is tending the bucks (well away from the ewes!). We took a back road through several gates, a muddy slough (didn’t get stuck, but it was a near thing) and a “Beware of Radiation” sign. On the way home, we left water for Leo in the Medicine Bow National Forest. I was lucky to have Tiarnan as a helper guy and good company!
The National Forests near us are filled with dead Lodgepole pines, killed by pine beetles over the past decade or so. The trees are long past the “red and dead” stage and are now at the gray and falling over stage. Much of the Medicine Bow and Routt Forests are a tinderbox. We want to see a number of smaller burns instead of a great conflagration.
A few days ago, our range conservationist on the Routt contacted us to let us know of a small fire on an adjacent grazing allotment. We went up and moved our cows away from the fire area. We are praying for moderate weather and no rain. My Dad was a great believer in fire as a range management tool. He may have sent that lightening bolt!
This fire could do our Forest a lot of good and literally “clear out the deadwood”.
It’s almost time for the bulls to seek romance with the cows. The highlight of the year comes just before the summer solstice, when their long months of waiting are at an end, and they get to hang out with comely cows in the beautiful Routt and Medicine Bow National Forests. What more could a bull want?
Along Wyoming Highway 70 between Encampment and Savery, the Battle Creek Overlook provides a spectacular place to view the mountains. Just west of the Sandstone Ranger Station in the Medicine Bow National Forest is a paved road heading south. In a half mile or so, the Overlook is right off the road. The highway passed by here until the great slide in 2010.
October 1st is our off date for the cows on the Medicine Bow National Forest grazing allotment. We have had a blessedly wet summer, so we are leaving plenty of feed behind. The days have been warm, so the cows see no reason to leave to Forest. Still, we have to gather them and trail them into Sheep Mountain, our contiguous private land pasture. Good grass awaits them there. The next project is to work the cows and calves.