Playing Cowboy, Days 6-9: Cowboy Up
July 27, 2021

I'm sitting here on a Friday afternoon at the ranch trying to come up with what I did on Tuesday and can't for the life of me.  It feels like aeons ago.  Every day here is so exciting, and the excitement comes not from artifical things that we generally consider entertainment, but it comes from the everyday mundane that is life on a ranch.  That's just it, this is living life to the ranchers out here.

Tuesday afternoon Mike and I headed into town for dinner.  I wanted to buy as an apology for the day before and to get to know the guy a bit.  He's quite an amazing dude, having lived much life in his 49 years.  He's been a cowboy all his life, rode bulls in rodeos all over the western US from 15 to 23, and I feel like I've just started to scratch the surface on the stories he holds.  We ate at this place in town called Sangria or Sangrita or something like that and it was delicious.  Walked across the street to the nice bar in town, had a couple of beers, and then stopped by the Mining Company on the way out.  It was music night there.  The place is gas station, restaurant, bar, and that night it felt like the AARP open mic music night.  Mike was the 2nd youngest person in the place.  Hung out there for a bit, headed back to the ranch, sat around a campfire, and then hit the hay early.

My body's adjusted quickly to this sleep schedule, but not so much to the lifestyle.  I'm out of shape.  And since I'm learning a lot of things quickly, I'm not very good at what I'm doing and making mistakes, and mistakes on the ranch usually involve injuries.  Wednesday morning we headed out to do round-up and missed some horses.  We had to go back out and Mariah wasn't too happy about this.  I think she woke up on the wrong side of the pasture that morning.  Mike found them and hollered at me on radio to head back.  I was in the trees and turned around, breaking into a gallop.  She started running really fast and I was cool with this since it was fun and we were on a trail.  Then she decided to leave the trail and run under some Ponderosas.  The branches were tall enough to let a horse under just fine, but not so much with a rider on top.  I took a thick one off the top of my head that damn near knocked me out of my saddle.  The world was spinning as I fought to keep my balance and slow a fast moving horse down in trees.  I dismounted, recovered my hat with a sweet bash where I blocked the tree with the top of my head, and made it back to the ranch with a splitting headache.

We did two hour long rides in the morning.  They came from a new Christian conference center across the valley called Hermit Basin.  They showed up insanely late, both groups, and neither tipped.  I don't get it.  They were like that in my experience on the river too.  So frustrating.  After lunch Dave and I headed over to Cowboy Camp to get it ready for our surf and turf group that was coming out of the high country and into camp that afternoon.  Mike went to pick em up at Gibson trailhead while Dave and I got the kitchen in the yurt ready, tightened ropes on the canvas tents, and put bottom sheets and pillows on the foam mattresses.

They returned with their two trucks and trailers loaded with 13 horses, we put everything away and the horses to pasture, and it took no time because the group was intensely helpful.  They were two groups of three, one couple with their college aged son, and one couple in thier twenties with her mother.  We headed to Cowboy Camp, cooked up some dinner, and enjoyed life for the afternoon.  I enjoyed some Bud Light and Cornhole.  Started a fire, I jammed the guitar a bit, and I was in bed by 10:30.

Thursday I received a much needed day off from kicking my body's ass.  I drove the van taking the group down to the river.  Being at a rafting base camp made me a bit nostalgic, and definitely sad that my knee wasn't better.  I love paddling.  After they started floating down the Arkansas river, I headed into Canon City for breakfast and an electrical outlet.  I sat in this cafe for a couple of hours, played a dozen sit-n-go's on Ultimate Bet, and then headed across the street to a Western Wear place, buying 4 long sleeved shirts and a hat to replace the one I left at home.  I then went back into Bighorn Canyon to sit by the river and wait for them to float by, eventually picking them up at Parkdale just above the mouth of the Royal Gorge.  Since our shower was broken at Cowboy Camp we stopped by a campground to shower on the way back, and I got clean for the first time since Saturday.  It felt great.

Back in Cowboy camp we did some more hanging out, ate more of Alicia's awesome food, and then started a fire.  Barb brought two guitars, her freind Roy brought a guitar and a fiddle, I had my guitar, mandolin, and djembe, and we used them all.  It was the awesomest campfire jam session I've ever been a part of.  We emptied a couple bottles of whiskey and boxed wine, drank the rest of the beer, and realized we should probably get to bed when it was after 11pm.  Most excellent time.

Friday morning on round-up I discovered Ashley's hide and go seek tendencies.  She's a horse who thinks it's a game.  She knows that it's round-up time, and she goes when you get to her, but she makes that a challenge.  Dave used to hang a bell around her neck she was so notorious about hiding in the woods but she hasn't been doing it lately.  She did today.  I saw her with a few others in the woods, cut up hill to drive them to the corral, and she darted off the other direction into the thickest woods in the West pen.  Took me a while to get to her, and when I did she jogged off to the corral like this was standard.  Mike told me a story about a time she layed down to hide behind a log in the woods once.  Dang horse.

We did two trail rides today, one young married couple from Texas in the morning and a group of six in the afternoon.  Two kids, one with Terret's Syndrome, and four adults.  Both groups were great and both rides were enjoyable.  Barb took a group on a pack-in on the high country.  We're all back and the horses are out to pasture and we're headed to town for dinner.

Birthday tomorrow.  My first 29th birthday.  Nothing planned, probably will end up at the Dome or something.  I don't want to go anywhere else besides here anyways.

Peace and good luck,



3 months ago
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