“Ain’t nothin’ better than riding a fine horse through a new country.”
I’ll be the first to say my favorite fictional character had it almost right, he forgot to add in good company (and if i’m being 100% honest a cold beer doesn’t hurt.) The Rafter Y Ranch outfitters are just that, too. Great company to keep and above all that they are testaments to the modern day cowboy lifestyle. So I like to call them up once or twice a year and see if I can’t get in their way for any and all cattle round ups, luckily for me now was that time. Running a cattle ranch is no easy task, no days off and a love and understanding of the caballos upon which we sit, the cattle we love to chase, the dogs that join us and the friends that make it all worth it every time.
Early morning sun greets us as we saddle our stock and plan our day. Planning mostly consists of getting dropped off in the middle of the desert and being told “go find those cows” with a general direction of where we are supposed to go. You know you’re going the right way after many hours when on the horizon you spot a big thing of dust from either other riders pushing their cows or the lunch truck, the oasis of this desert.
For this endeavor, we were moving all the cattle (about 1,400 not including calves) up into the mountains where water is far more plentiful. Near this time of the year, these desert cows start to run a bit low and once they get up higher, water no longer becomes an issue.
It’s not a glamorous life, but it keeps us out of trouble
At the end of the day, riding 12 hours, we like to kick our feet up and eat. While there was plenty of steak to be had, this night we felt that grilling up some elk was the proper course of action. When it comes to the next morning, it’s more rounding up strays and getting other herds from other parts of the desert. When all your assets have beating hearts, you don’t have days off. These crazy cowboys know it and everyday they prove it.
Evan here! Born and raised in Sandpoint, Idaho. Join me on my journey, reins in hand, grilling planks in the other as I discover the tastier side of the desert. I once read “The only healthy way to live life is to learn to like all the little everyday things” and the little things like wandering the desert for cows is one of the best things.