Down The Mountain

☆ November 5, 2010

fromthetop

View from the top.

Five years ago Tuesday, I moved to Wyoming.
MC, L, and I spent the day trailing off the mountain.

horses

I was the first one saddled.  L’s horse was lame so Mike rode Sunshine – the verrrry fat paint, who is essentially retired – and L rode Mike’s newish horse, Kota, who is also very fat because he hasn’t been ridden all summer.

Kota is also pretty green – not totally broke – but L was up for the challenge, and Mike was all too willing to give it to him.

gatherintop

We found the cows, and started moving them down the mountain.  The older cows know the way and know it’s time, and the rest of the herd follows the lead.

The day was SO gorgeous!
The last two years, this ride has been terribly cold and snowy!

tuningkota

Because it’s an easy trail, it’s a good day to fine-tune the horses.
L helped Kota become comfortable away from Ranger and Sunshine (Kota likes to follow, because new things make him nervous).

treetrailb

Meanwhile, I made Ranger stay at the back, which really pissed him off.
He likes to be the lead on a trail. It was a good opportunity for him to practice patience and manners.

halfway

At the halfway point, we let the cattle rest a while. Kota was in love with L by then. Mike did a quick run back through some of the treed areas to gather any stragglers we might have missed.

watingonranger

I hate waiting.
I just want to ride and ride and ride, all the way down without stopping.
It was a good time for me to practice patience and manners.

blockingthegate

Ranger and I guarded the gate until all the cattle were together…

linedout

Once they’re out, they know exactly where they’re going.
They just line out and walk! You can see little black dots in a perfect curving line all the way to the midpoint of this image. The lead cows are already out of sight.

favoriteterritory

Beauty!
I love this place.

Comments

66 Responses to “Down The Mountain”

  1. Natashja Dewolfe
    November 5th, 2010 @ 10:30 am

    Beautiful.

    I especially like your comments first about Ranger – needing to practice patience & manners.

    Then your comments about yourself and waiting – also practicing ‘patience & manners’.

    Thank you for your great blog!

    Best to you & all yours,

    n.

  2. angie
    November 5th, 2010 @ 10:30 am

    envy envy envy. and much admiration.

  3. hello haha narf
    November 5th, 2010 @ 10:31 am

    gorgeous photos.
    happy anniversary!

  4. Brandi
    November 5th, 2010 @ 10:32 am

    Happy anniversary to you.
    Now I shall go home and ride as well…

  5. Micaela Morris
    November 5th, 2010 @ 10:32 am

    You’re living the dream I had as a kid….living on a ranch and riding a lot thru the mountains! Enjoy!

  6. Nancy
    November 5th, 2010 @ 10:36 am

    Oh happy trails … 5 years!
    Awesome photos, thank you for sharing them.

  7. Keitha
    November 5th, 2010 @ 10:41 am

    It’s wonderful how finding your “spot” can make you so happy isn’t it? I found mine too.
    Great way to spend the anniversary of your move!
    Nice for us to see the big views.

  8. Aimee
    November 5th, 2010 @ 10:48 am

    Your life is simply other-worldy and I love that you share it with us. Happy anniversary, Shreve. Congratulations on following your dreams and making them reality – you’re an inspiration to this city gal.

  9. Assana
    November 5th, 2010 @ 10:49 am

    As I rapidly scrolled down the images and devoured the comments, I realized *I* need to practice patience and manners! Thanx Shreve for sharing your life with us.

  10. Deanna
    November 5th, 2010 @ 10:59 am

    Wow. What a life. This little series takes me far away from my cubicle in NYC. yum

  11. Marlene
    November 5th, 2010 @ 11:01 am

    Its feels soooo right when you find that perfect spot that you can call home! I did too, I love Cambria almost like you would love a person..and can’t even stand to be away! I have become part of it! Happy Anniversary to you! Marlene from Cambria

  12. Leslie Husa
    November 5th, 2010 @ 11:03 am

    Your photos, your story, your uniqueness, really inspire me in so many ways. I love your perspective & how you write & express yourself. I would love to know more of your story from the “early” years. Take good care.

  13. Colleen
    November 5th, 2010 @ 11:03 am

    Beautiful country! Texas also offers such gifts! I’m glad you chose to get out of the rat race and live at peace…Happy Anniversary and many more!

  14. kathy grossman
    November 5th, 2010 @ 11:13 am

    Remind me who L is. [ K ~ L is a friend! ]
    My horses hated being last too. It took being bucked off TWO different horses for me to get the picture. They fear being left behind.

  15. Deanna
    November 5th, 2010 @ 11:24 am

    How in the world do you know you got them all?

  16. Another Two-Legger
    November 5th, 2010 @ 11:32 am

    My guy used to hate being last. He’s got such a huge stride that he just passes all the horses as soon as we’re moving faster than a walk, so it was hard to work on. (No joke, his trot can keep up with some gallops if he wants to.) We worked on it a lot and now he’s fine no matter where I put him. I wish I could ride there, though! I’d want to just ride and ride and ride, too.

  17. carmen
    November 5th, 2010 @ 11:42 am

    This is something I wish I could do….maybe I will in my next life. Thanks for the lovely photos.

  18. Carol
    November 5th, 2010 @ 11:54 am

    Just for the other side of the coin… I think your being here has enriched the Ten Sleep area. You make people think. You make them aware of all that they have… which becomes mundane WAY too easily! You share your enthusiasm easily with everyone… and Ten Sleep loves that about you! Thanks for coming here. Thanks for being my friend.

  19. Jackie
    November 5th, 2010 @ 12:03 pm

    happy anniversary, shreve.

  20. Janet
    November 5th, 2010 @ 12:36 pm

    Poetry in words, poetry in pictures. I am calm now.

  21. pam
    November 5th, 2010 @ 12:55 pm

    Shreve, 5 years! how amazing and incredible is that! and WE are the lucky ones. W/o you, how would we all be so happy every day with your pictures and stories?

    here’s wishing you another 5 plus!

  22. Pat D.
    November 5th, 2010 @ 1:19 pm

    Happy anniversary in Ten Sleep!

    And, as you wrote in my copy of your book, which came this week (thank you!): “wishing you happy trails!”

  23. Holly B
    November 5th, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

    Happy anniversary and thank you for the beautiful photos!

  24. Linda D.
    November 5th, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

    Happy Anniversary!
    Thank you for sharing your photos, story and life with those of us that can only dream of such. And, thank you for showing us the way to Carol Greet’s life on Red Dirt in My Soul.
    Love and best wishes to you and your farmily.

  25. Deborah
    November 5th, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

    Feeling at peace looking at these pictures. Happy Anniversary!

  26. Penny In Co
    November 5th, 2010 @ 2:24 pm

    Most cool. Sunshine, exercise, completeing a very important task….I’d call that a good day :) Happy 5!!!

  27. montanarose
    November 5th, 2010 @ 2:29 pm

    Congrats on your 5th anniversary in Wyoming. My husband and I recently spent a weekend in Buffalo — we hooked up there with a friend from Livingston on our way back to Colorado from the Black Hills — and were reminded all over again of the beauty of the Bighorns. We spent a Sunday afternoon driving over to Ten Sleep and up toward Greybull, then came back to Buffalo via Crazy Woman Canyon. I thought of you as we drove through Ten Sleep, and could just picture you, Charlie, Daisy and the rest of the gang enjoying the gorgeous Indian summer day.

    Here’s to the next five years, and many more!

  28. Chris
    November 5th, 2010 @ 2:47 pm

    Lovely photos, especially the one of the cows bunching up at the gate: the golden light on their black hides…

    “The purpose of all our journeying is to return us to the place where we began, and in returning, to truly know that place for the first time.”
    T. S. Eliot

    Many happy returns!

  29. Birdcage
    November 5th, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

    It’s all very foreign to this city gal …. in the city, we are so used to gathering our “things” into our locked homes and excluding the bigger world from our secure little environments. So it always seems like you just set your cows free into the wild and I don’t quite understand what stops them from taking off and running far away, or getting stolen, or joining someone else’s herd … because this isn’t all land that Mike owns, is it? Those cows can wander pretty far away over the months they are gone? Or do they stay where they are put?

  30. Dawn
    November 5th, 2010 @ 3:15 pm

    Well welcome to Wyoming again Shreve!! Here is to many more years in our state! Salute

  31. Karen
    November 5th, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

    We are so lucky that you share your Wyoming with us! I just love your stories and pictures-

  32. bekka
    November 5th, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

    5 years wow! congrats! i was only in wyoming once when i was 6, and i still remember it. after reading your story and following your web site i am looking for my own “ten sleep”. i am looking for that one place where i can be at home. thanx shreve for making me see my dreams are still possiable. oh and not sure you’ll like this but i’m getting a new tattoo in a few weeks and yes its charlie.

  33. Donna
    November 5th, 2010 @ 4:33 pm

    First – Bekka, wow a tattoo of Charlie, what a wonderful tribute. I have a beautiful bear cub on my lower back.

    Second – loved the pictures, my favorite is the one between the horses ears.. We are having Farm Fair here in Edmonton, Alberta, got to see lots of horses, as a city girl never know horses noses where soooooo soft!

  34. Deborah
    November 5th, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

    HaPpY AnNiVeRsArY! Does it really feel like you have been there that long? I, for one, am glad you are still there, so I can enjoy your life with you!

  35. Steph in Oregon
    November 5th, 2010 @ 5:04 pm

    Happy 5th Anniversary to you, Shreve! So many things had to happen in order for you to end up where you are. Boggles the mind… but there’s nothing wrong with a boggled mind once in a while :)

  36. Sharon
    November 5th, 2010 @ 5:38 pm

    I agree with Janet… poetry in words, pictures, calm~~~~~

  37. Alice
    November 5th, 2010 @ 5:40 pm

    Happy 5th anniversary and many more!

  38. Janet H.
    November 5th, 2010 @ 6:46 pm

    Just want to add my own Happy Anniversary! to all the others here. I appreciate your writing and your wonderful photos and check your sites every day without fail.
    Also, what a great tribute from Carol-I’ve wondered sometimes whether people in Ten Sleep appreciate or even notice your writing about their area. I’m glad they do.

  39. Sheila
    November 5th, 2010 @ 6:55 pm

    Happy 5th Anniversary Shreve and ditto with many above, many thanks for sharing your photos, life with us!! So interesting a view of such a beautiful place, and your most interesting life with the Farmily! Just love Charlie and Chloe being such a dog-love that I am.

  40. Lesley
    November 5th, 2010 @ 7:02 pm

    Thanks for this story with pictures. Wyoming sure is beautiful. (Ranger’s ears sure are cute.)

  41. Patr
    November 5th, 2010 @ 7:32 pm

    I am in love with Ranger’s ears

  42. Tina
    November 5th, 2010 @ 7:32 pm

    nice ethereal place for a five year adventure… amazing, inspirational, bliss.

  43. Chris
    November 5th, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

    Gorgeous images, as always. I especially like the 2nd-from-last: the golden light on the grass and trees, gilding even the cows’ black hides.

    T.S. Elliot: “The purpose of all our journeying is to return us to the place where we began, and in returning, to truly know that place for the first time.”

    Many happy returns, with many more to come!

  44. Adrienne
    November 5th, 2010 @ 10:37 pm

    Congrats Shreve!

    All I can say is, what a life. What a beautiful, beautiful life you have created.

  45. TomT
    November 6th, 2010 @ 5:50 am

    Pretty sweet stuff there. I love to follow your adventures.

    Shreve, I miss your vimeo videos. How ’bout breakin’ out the video camera for us?

  46. Alex Schubert
    November 6th, 2010 @ 6:28 am

    “There’s nothing like bringin’ in a herd!”
    Curly – From ‘City Slickers’

  47. Abigail
    November 6th, 2010 @ 7:59 am

    It was vry strange reading this post. My dog is called Kota and I’ve never met/seen/heard of another animal with that name! Very strange reading about another one.

    Looks like you had a lovely 5 year anniversary and I hope you have many, many more.

  48. Marg
    November 6th, 2010 @ 9:07 am

    Five years, wow, happy anniversary! You must be a cowgirl by now, new calendar idea for next year maybe??

  49. Vanessa
    November 6th, 2010 @ 10:09 am

    Sometimes your soul just knows where you belong; once you find that place your at peace so much more than you ever imagined.
    Happy Anniversary!

  50. Amy
    November 6th, 2010 @ 10:21 am

    Shreve I love reading your posts! Every time I read one of them I want to move out west more and more. I went there once when I was younger and plan on moving out there after college, and hopefully plan on living on at least a smaller ranch since horses have been a part of my whole life. Your posts are so inspiration and I look forward to someday moving out west more and more with each post!

    Happy Anniversary!

  51. RIDivergirl
    November 6th, 2010 @ 10:42 am

    Wow. Happy anniversary and may there be many more equally as happy. Thank you for sharing your ride – it’s been far too long since I’ve seen the world from the back of a horse – and I’ve never seen your part of the world that way. You’re tempting me to forgo one of my typical vacations spent underwater to perhaps try one at a working ranch out west…

  52. catherine
    November 6th, 2010 @ 10:49 am

    Is Monsieur L the gorgeous Gaucho with green boots ?
    Just checking…..
    Happy Anniversary, thanks for the calendars.
    I love the wrapping and sticker.

  53. Julie
    November 6th, 2010 @ 11:30 am

    You have brought to the forefront, the need to understand our animals, and how EASY it is to get them to do what we humans want, when we simply tune into how they might be thinking. With horses (as with dogs/cats) it is SO MUCH EASIER, to just get a little bit of knowledge into the ways a horse thinks, and then BAM! you find the way through, as if by magic? No, it’s by horse thinking.
    Thank you so much for bringing this simple way of teaching (to the horses) to other people’s minds. As I’ve gotten older (late 40’s now, sigh) I am delighted to find my patience stretching, with my animals when I just go the easy way—not bullheading MY way through the learning situation. Bravo Shreve!

  54. Camille
    November 6th, 2010 @ 2:24 pm

    How I envy you! Five years in beautiful Wyoming, surrounded by distant mountains, good friends, and a happy farmily. I live on a plot of woods in the middle of a quickly developing town, and… well, I feel sick and anxious every day I trek to school. I just want to get this over with! Out of school, then to college, and then to my destiny, away from subdivisions and stores…
    THIS is why I want to work for the USFWS or the USDA in field biology and zoology studies. It is my personal promise to myself to never work in an office or anywhere near fluorescent lights- unless we’re talking about aquarium lights.
    I’m so happy that you’re living it up in your glorious niche, Shreve~ Your blogs and book have inspired me more than anything in this past year. I love all of your posts; they help me escape my concrete prison and visit a fresh, new world!

  55. Sarah
    November 6th, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

    Wowie Shreve, what a view!

  56. Angie
    November 6th, 2010 @ 3:43 pm

    Amazing! I love all those sweet cows, and the personality of your horses! Hahah Ranger gave me a laugh.

  57. Jenny C
    November 6th, 2010 @ 4:50 pm

    Happy Anniversary, Shreve!

    By no means has it been easy (winters in that first cabin, Charlie transitioning from coyote-in-the-wild to coyote-in-sync-with-his-human-mom, etc.) but it’s all part of that rich life you have forged, with the good far outweighing the difficult.

    I’ve only been on one cattle drive, a long one, but the work and the sense of joy of being outside on a horse, herding gentle cattle, have stayed with me. Glad you had a gloriously beautiful day for it.

    I have such a crush on Ranger, my fingers itch to break through this screen and scratch him between the ears, and my arms long to hug that beautiful neck. I love every animal in your farmily, but when I need a comedic break in my life, all I have to do is think of Ricardo – man, what a hoot.

  58. John Oliver
    November 7th, 2010 @ 6:33 am

    God’s own earth!

  59. Amy
    November 8th, 2010 @ 6:05 am

    I live in Maryland, but I used to live in Arizona. I have friends who own cattle and would ride in their round-ups with them. I’m craving one now.

    I miss those days. Thanks for the pictures which brought back wonderful memories for me.

  60. Eileen
    November 8th, 2010 @ 8:18 am

    Carol (#18)–what a beautiful and heartfelt comment. It actually made me tear up.
    Shreve, thank you for sharing your photos and glimpses into the life you clearly love.

  61. Pat D.
    November 8th, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

    To Birdcage and others with questions about moving cattle to different ranges, try a book called “Yamsi” by Dayton O. Hyde. He has a great account of seasonal cattle drives, and talks about how cattle know their pastures and usually the veteran cows know just where they’re going. I get the impression that cattle aren’t roamers, being too interested in eating grass, to wander too far afield. And the calves stick with their mamas, of course.

  62. Jo Davis
    November 8th, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

    love the pictures, love your insight and your humor too…. :) thank you for makin’ this dreary, cold, wet Monday a much better day!

  63. Colleen G
    November 9th, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

    I wanna come out there and trail cows with you!!!!! It looks like HEAVEN :D I love, love, love to ride and I don’t get to very often.

  64. dusty pines art
    November 9th, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

    wowie – happy 5 years!! i love the colors in that 4th picture – so old postcard-y! & thank you for sharing your life – breath of fresh air when we all need it!

  65. Cait
    November 14th, 2010 @ 9:22 am

    It’s so funny – after reading this post, I picked up my “La Cucina Italiana” magazine (probably my fave cooking mag of all times), and they had an article in there about this little tiny town in the Italian alps.

    Apparently, it’s home to a family dairy, and twice a year, they do the “transamunzza” – literally “across the mountains” in dialect. The transamunzza is the trailing of the cows from their summer pastures to their winter pastures. It’s an 11-hour walking journey, and all along the way, little old women prepare little plates of food and little cups of coffee and liquor for the men. Also, one of the cows with horns gets a three-legged stool tied upside-down to its horns. On the stool goes a small fir tree (think Charlie Brown xmas-size), and ribbons are tied all over the branches. Interesting pagan holdover, non?

    Anyway, I was just struck by life’s coincidences after reading your account of trailin’ the cows in Wyoming, and an old man halfway across the world doing the same thing. It’s in the current issue of La Cucina Italiana, but I can’t find the article online or I’d send it to you.

    Ciao, bella!

  66. Nancy Dean
    November 26th, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

    What an awesome adventure you are living! I feel like I am living my dreams through your stories. Thanks for sharing!

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