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Ride Sally, Ride

October 6, 2011

The wind is blowing so hard out there, I’m glad the house is still standing.  The first winter storm is here and the gentle fall days of September seem far behind.  It was 6 am and pitch black.  I head downstairs, just because I can’t sleep anyway with all that raging going on outside.  I looked out the window to see if the world is still out there and to my surprise, my neighbors must be doing the same.  You can rarely see a light on , but it seems that every ranch around me is up and well-lit.

I’ve been riding every day lately and throwing in a run for myself most days, so pretty soon I’m going stir crazy inside.  I head out for a walk despite the weather.  I got my coat, my hat, my wool socks.  After about a mile or so, I finally warmed up.  I climbed up toward Rock Creek and decided to explore the other side of the rock formations.  As I wound through the sage brush on a game trail, the scent of rain released sage infused my senses.  By this time I was high up and could see down into the Big Lost River Valley and up to the mountains on all sides.  The sky roiled with clouds, thunder boomed in the distance and in a temporary moment of partial clearing, I could see a newly snow-capped Mt Borah.  At every choice, I took the longer route and soon I was atop another ridge.  The world mesmerized me with its stunning beauty. When I looked to the west, the direction of my house, I saw a solid black sky approaching.  I picked up my pace, hoofed it toward Bartlett Point. An eagle called just above me, but not in the sky.  It was somewhere on the point, but I couldn’t see where.  The heavy rain whisked in right behind me.  Luckily, I had already harvested my dinner.  The wind and rain have not stopped since.

Mt Borah

The next day, I was greeting with snow-capped mountains in every direction.  This time, I took my camera with me when I went out to walk.  While heading past my place, I couldn’t help but notice that there were about 60 extra cows in Sally’s big pasture.  I climbed a big hill to snap some photos of the great light that was going on, and I saw that Sally was out there moving those cows.  I abandoned my walk plans and went to see if she needed help, but mostly, I wanted to take her picture in action.  By the time I got to her gate, she had all the cows on the far side and was splitting off a few.  Her dogs were in full action.  I followed and took pictures, most of them blurry, until I was close enough to yell out.  She told me where to go to herd the free grazers off her land.  They were munching up her winter pasture. After we got the herd out, she thanked me and I mentioned how much I want to help sometime with Two Feathers.  She told me that she already told Travis, a local cowboy, about me and that he agreed to let me help when he had an easy beginner job.  I guess that means next spring.  For now, I’m watching the snow come down.  I made a beef stew in the crock pot and had Sally and her sister Diane, over for supper.  We poured over the topo maps and made plans for all the places we want to ride.  I’m still hoping for a of couple high country rides this year and when I mentioned it, they both told me to look outside.  Good thing it was dark.  I can still hope. But, I’ll settle for the low country, which around here is in the 6000-8000 foot elevation range.  The snow continues to come down, but it’s warmed up to the high thirties and isn’t really sticking.  My dog didn’t get out of bed ’till noon, so perhaps a good few days rest is what we both need.

Sally Johnson, Cowgirl



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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ellie Jenkins permalink
    October 6, 2011 11:36 pm

    Your photos are so beautiful! Love them 🙂

  2. Laura permalink
    October 20, 2011 2:39 pm

    I wish I had some of your beef stew! The rapidly unfolding drama of winter arriving in the Lost River Valley is beautiful and exciting in the way you describe it!

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