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Tag Archives: Medicine Bow National Forest

A long dry trail to summer grazing

Yearlings on their way to water

July 1st is the on-date for the forest permits where our ewes and lambs graze for the summer. While the ewes are lambing at Cottonwood, the yearling ewes hang out in the Badwater pasture, some 40 miles to the north. The ewes and lambs are usually settled on their permits for the summer by the 4th of July. The permit where the yearlings graze for the summer has an on-date of mid-July so it’s their turn to trail. Yearlings can move a lot faster than the five miles per day required by the federal agencies, so they usually move right along. This year was exceptional. Due to drought, very little water was available as we trailed. We discussed hauling water, which is difficult and expensive, but Alejandro said he’d rather make more miles and go from water to water. This meant that one day, the yearlings covered about 20 miles, which usually takes three days. They were tired, but really happy to see that reservoir. They are young and healthy and did fine, but I hope we don’t have to do it again. We rested them in our State Land pasture on the lambing grounds, which had feed and plenty of water, then pushed on to their summer permit. They spend the first few days on our neighbor’s private in-holding. We appreciate the extra grazing, and he values the reduction in grasses for wildfire protection. Alejandro did an excellent job in shepherding them through the dry country.

The reservoir’s in sight below Muddy Mountain

Trailing the yearlings onto their summer permit (Yes, that’s smoke in the air.)

Settled at last on Condict’s. That’s a smoke plume from the Morgan Creek Fire on the right.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2021 in Animals, Folks, Peruvian sheepherders, Sheep

 

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The Fall Gather

Saddling up

We’ve been trailing and back-riding for a week, as the cattle come off the summer grazing grounds. The cows and calves have been on the Routt and Medicine Bow National Forests since June and July. They graze in large rotations and we ride through them almost daily. They don’t want to leave since the weather is still warm. They see no reason to leave perfectly good feed and water. We’ve been watching the Middle Fork Fire, to the south of our allotments. It’s been burning in ungrazed areas, although there are plenty of beetle-killed pines everywhere. We’re glad to be out of the Forest with this season of fire.

Rhen mounting

On the road

home to the meadows

Pat D. and Tiarnan

cows trailing near the Midnight Ranch

riding crew at lunch (photo credit, Pat Danscen)

through the horse’s legs (photo credit, Pat Danscen)

Tiarnan and Battle Mountain

Tate, Sharon and Liberty the filly (photo credit, Pat Danscen)

Dudley Creek

Sharon and Seamus the horse (photo credit, Pat Danscen)

Day’s end

 
 

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Leaving the Medicine Bow

    

 

     Autumn ritual–
     Alejandro’s yearling ewes
     leaving the Forest

 

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Hunting Season

 

     The forest is full
     of folks seeking solitude. . .
     the thrill of the hunt.

 

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2019 in Nature and Wildlife, Poetry

 

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Snow after drought

Aspen Alley in the fall

 

Snow settles on ground

left thirsty by months of drought,

now kissed by moisture.

homestead cabin on Box Creek

Dudley Creek aspens

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2018 in Nature and Wildlife, Poetry

 

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Fall Gather

Chica bringing down the cows

 

 

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.

Cows through the trees

Eamon, Rhen and McCoy

Rhen and Pal

Rhen looking for cows

Rhen, still looking

Home at last

 
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Posted by on October 2, 2018 in Animals, Cattle, Dogs, Family, Folks, Nature and Wildlife

 

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Tending camp with Tiarnan

Leo’s camp with guardian dog puppies

 

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!

 

Tiarnan filling the water bucket at Guillermo’s camp.

Tiarnan helping tend camp

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2018 in Animals, Dogs, Family, Folks

 

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The Big Red Park Fire

smoke plumes rise east of Big Red Park

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”.

 

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2017 in Cattle, Events, Nature and Wildlife

 

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Looking for love

Put me in, Coach!

 

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?

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2017 in Animals, Cattle

 

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Snake Fire

Helicopter with bucket hauling water to the Snake Fire

Helicopter with bucket hauling water to the Snake Fire

 

 

All the Forest waits

to burn, nature’s tinderbox

waiting for a match.

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2016 in Events, Nature and Wildlife, Poetry

 

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