Playing Cowboy, Days 14-16: Lakes of the Clouds
August 3, 2021
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Wednesday morning was the girl scouts' last day on the ranch.  Mark and I started round-up at 7:30am.  Rudy's become a staple for round-up while the rest of the herd (and most of our stronger horses) are in the Sangre's on a 5 day Ultimate Pack Trip.  Blaze, and old boy who was born and raised on this ranch, was awesome for a number of years but has been a PITA to catch lately.  He was fine on Monday and Tuesday, but today he decided he didn't want to be caught.  Mark, a guy who's been around this ranch since 1986 after establishing a partnership between them and his whitewater outfitting company in the northeast, has been here with his wife Barbara all week.  They show up for 1-3 weeks every summer and hang out, helping out where needed, and with Dave, Mike, and Alicia in the high country their help was much needed.  Mark decided that he'd take Blaze, so I got Rudy.  Nice choice kid.  I put my halter on Rudy no problem, Blaze decided he wasn't going to get caught.  It took him until I saddled Rudy and mounted him in the catch pen for Blaze to let Mark catch him.  Round-up was smooth, Mark got most of them as I went into the far woods and only found a useless Paint and colt.

The ride that morning was a girl scouts trail ride, and since my search for socks that morning failed and I was wearing the ones I wore yesterday I decided to sit that one out.  I went over to Dave and Michelle's house, spent some time with Michelle's Dad who was in town, very Alabama, and cracked his first beer at 10am.  I did my laundry, took a shower, and was back at the ranch at 12:45 in time for the afternoon ride.  It was a family from the Springs, mom, dad, sister, college aged son and daughter.  They were a good group and Mark and I instantly were excited to take them out.  It's awesome having groups of competent adults that you can move fast with, it really feels zero like work.  Mark's horse, who happened to be Gary the ranch owner's horse, came up lame for the 2nd day in a row and I took the group by myself for more than the 2nd half of the trip.  I learned some things about gate locations (ie the absence of them) as I took them for quite a detour along a fence line, but the group was awesome and I didn't have shit to do so we enjoyed a longer ride.

That night I went to town for dinner and some relaxing.  I ate at the Feed Store, which used to be a feed store but is now a restaurant, and enjoyed a delicious Oriental chicken salad.  From there I went to Poag's, and it was invaded in no time by the jazz camp.  30-40 kids, aged 13-19, and half a dozen instructors set up shop there.  They played and played and I was so impressed that I made a donation to their scholarship fund.  After a while I decided to stop into the Dome and sniff around a bit.  There were less than ten people there, but that's okay because one of my favorite things about these trips is meeting locals in local's bars.

I sat next to a man named Jim who's a rancher here in the (Wet) Valley.  We talked about hay and I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation (seriously) and then he got up to go talk to his wife.  There was a young good lookin woman sitting next to him that I couldn't help myself but ask her name.  We spent the next two hours chattin and I was glad that I decidced to take a detour to the Dome.

Thursday morning round-up was early since Barb and I was leading a trip up to the Lakes of the Clouds.  On the way she listened to a voice mail that said happy birthday, and bwahahahaha her secret was blown and I was going to do my best to keep it blown.  We met the clients in town, drove to the Gibson trailhead, unloaded horses, and since it was just a day ride we didn't have to do much but saddle-up and ride.  There are three lakes, and we tied up at the lower lake, set up lunch, and then the two married couples were ready to fish.  I wanted to hike up to the middle and upper lakes, the dudes decided to join me, and I'll let the pictures tell the rest.

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It was an amazing day.  We were late coming back, but that was okay since we were loving it just as much as our custies were.  We made it back to the ranch somewhere around 7:45pm, unloaded, put the horses to pastures, and then we high tailed it down to town for a birthday dinner at Sangrita.  It was delish, we had awesome conversation, Barb took off early before she turned into a pumpkin, I headed to Poag's for a beer, and made it to bed before 11pm, which has turned into pretty late these days .

Friday morning I sat out round-up and didn't mind so I could enjoy a cup of coffee, I drove my truck around the ranch squawkin on the radio tellin Mark and Barb where horses were.  We had a 10am trail ride, three girls from New Orleans, they started prissy and turned into troopers, and it was also an enjoyable ride.  That afternoon we herded some horses from North ranch to the corral, pulled four of them some reason that I still don't get, and then herded them back.  Three riders drove them and three of us in three vehicles drove on the road and were supposed to keep them from going down the wrong roads.  It was a ton of fun turning my truck into a cutting horse, but quite intense and scary thinking that the pair that slipped the gate might run onto the highway.  They didn't, turned into the ranch instead of heading straight, and by that time we were ready to go pick up the group coming out from a five day Ultimate.
We hung at the Commanche/Venable trailhead for about half an hour in the rain waiting for them, and then when they (14 horses and nine people) showed it turned into controlled rainy chaos for a while.  It didn't take us long to get rolling, back across the valley to the Ranch, unload quickly, shower, and down the hill to where I'm writing now.  Mike, Alicia, Mark, Barbara, Barb, and I are just finishing up dinner at Sangrita, and life is quite awesome.

Peace and good luck,

Devo
BRYANDEVONSHIRE
Delerium.

3 months ago
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