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.

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