Friday, November 21, 2014

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Woman of the West

I am a woman of the west and these are some of my thoughts:

For as long as I can remember I've been riding horses and pulling pack strings in the Eagle Cap Wilderness of northeast Oregon; where within the span of a day you can go from rolling hills of sage brush, to lush evergreen forests, to steep granite peaks.

Growing up we raised registered black angus cattle. As a small child I taught my first bull calf Buster to play the game of "tag." As it turned out this wasn't the brightest idea when he turned into a 1,700 lb  full grown bull.

I grew up just outside of a small town, but with our numerous ranches and vast acres on the main homestead it seemed like the world was my playground. And it was. I would wake before the sun, pack a lunch in my saddle bags, and ride the range until dusk. I often wonder what my mother thought about this ordeal.

Work. I know the feeling of a sweat drenched shirt, callused hands, and cut up arms. I am strong. As a wilderness guide and packer I can easily lift things that weigh more than half of my body weight. However, this said, I know what a sore back and sore muscles feel like.

I love the mornings. One of the most beautiful things is to watch the sun come up and greet you. The air is clear, the day is not yet cluttered, and it is the start to a new beginning.

My horses are my passion but also my live hood. I have put horses down, lost a horse in the wilderness to a high line, and also lost (I like to say "misplaced") eighteen head. Those eighteen mules and horses wandered the Eagle Cap Wilderness only to be collected weeks later.  Some would show up in a ranchers field, a few wandered into town, several came back to the pack station, and two mules ended up in Enterprise... the opposite side of the wilderness area.

One of my favorite spots in the entire Eagle Cap Wilderness is Pine Lakes, on the southern edge of the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Those three high mountain lakes are on an incredibly steep trail, but that every step of that trail is worth getting to those lakes. With the pristine granite and ever blue water it is an ideal place to take a dip, eat a hearty lunch, spend a week camping, or just take in the mountain air.

Dirt. I love dirt. Cover me in some good ol' brown Oregon dirt, add some pine needles, and you have more entire wardrobe almost complete.

A cowgirl has to have a truck. And I've never owned anything but trucks. From my first Chevrolet Silverado to my Ford Lariat I love those big ol' rigs. I've got the beautiful horse trailer for going to town but then I have my trusty stock trailer. Complete with dings, custom deer dings, and nonworking brakes.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Boring Old Life

Right now I'm getting ready to head into Baker with Windancer and Quincy to get their coggins test and health certificate. I think I'm going to send them to California for the winter. Window to heal and Quincy to sell. While Quin is a great horse we just don't "jive" and Windancer has a couple really bad abbesses and some shin splints that need to heal in a drier climate.

I've got a big to-do list between today and tomorrow that include cleaning my truck, prepping for the snowmobile expo this weekend near Seattle, taking the horses to the vet, cleaning, getting clothes washed and packed up, going to a snowmobile club meeting tomorrow night, mailing some stuff, picking up packages, then on top of that I need to go pull our summer camp at East Fork.  (I'm going to take all the mules that haven't been used lately and maybe ride Spirit or Payton up to that camp.)

Time to go clean out garbage and head to town. Hopefully nothing takes too long at the vets and I can be back here to continue to work on my to-do list.

Whew. It's a long day!

Friday, October 10, 2014


I made a website because my dad said I should. Check it : Backcountry Katlin

Let me know your thoughts/ideas/etc.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Unique Things in My Life

We call the grocery store in Halfway to find out what is happening in town or where someone might be.

In the winter 32 degrees in warm.

I can tell how warm it is outside by how many tries it takes the generator to start up.

Driving from Cornucopia to Baker City means driving from high alpine forest to farmland to sage brush and back to farmland.

I can tell which truck and trailer belongs to which rancher.

I've switched from 'heat' to 'A/C' and back in the same day. And changed from snow boots to regular shoes and back in the same day.

The seasons are: Almost winter. Winter. Summer. And dust.

If it doesn't have snow or hasn't recently erupted it's not a real mountain.

Driving on the freeway in snow is no big deal. In fact, I can put chains on all 4 tires in a little over two minutes.

I measure distance in hours. (30 minutes to the post office. An hour and a half to Safeway.)

If you call the wrong number it's ok. They'll give the right number. Or you'll end up having a lengthily conversation with a complete stranger.

The Feed and Seed (gas station) knows everyone by name. And everyone has a charge account.

It seems like everyone is related to everyone. Except us.

I spend most of the winter shoveling snow.

Can't pass a road grader because the on coming traffic is a tractor.

When we go to town, no one asks us where we live or what we do. They all know we live 'up the mountain' at Cornucopia.

When other people ask were we are from and we automatically tell them the larger town near by. (Baker City).

Making it home with warm takeout is impossible. We always end up re-heating it.

I live in a ghost town and have faster internet than most people I know.

Here's one for you. We have weird names in Oregon. Sequim, Puyallup, Issaquah, Umpqua, Yakima, Willamette, Wallowa, Umatilla, and Cayuse.

And those are just some unique things about my life...