Idaman

Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of your favorite breed.

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Re: Idaman

Postby regenwether » Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:30 am

I was just wondering what wild game you would eat. Bear? What about fishing?
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Re: Idaman

Postby Idaman » Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:57 pm

Image


A nice string from a lake near Relay.




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I don't remember where from but somewhere near Relay.


We ate a lot of wild game at Empire over the years. The most was salmon. The native people that lived and worked on the ranch would go down to the Frazer river every night beginning in late June through the end of July and dip net salmon which were running up the river. This was as much a cultural tradition for them as was the catching of the fish. They would build a big bonfire and have a great time. The one doing the dipping would have a rope tied around his waist and then to a BEEEG rock and he would stand on a certain rock that stuck out in the river and made the water move faster flowing around the rock. He would dip using a motion that made the net go with the current so a conventional net would not work because the stream flow would push the soft netting through the hoop and prevent any salmon from entering. The best thing for the net material itself was chicken wire as it was stiff enough to not be swept through and get ahead of the hoop. We wondered at first why our chickens were always getting out at the beginning of the salmon run. We started buying a roll of new chicken wire just before the run and then laying the roll of wire right were the old wire had been missing. These people furnished us with so much wonderful salmon that the wire was the least we could to contribute to the program.

By law they could catch and use all the salmon that they wanted but they were forbidden from selling any or even giving it away. They however sure gave us lots and we really appreciated it. They brought so much to our door that in July we were beginning to look forward to the end of the run. It is a real insult to turn down anything they offer as a gift so we were saturated and probably smelled very fishy for a month. This giving of gifts and the need to accept them became a real problem when one of the girl who was close to my wife and very pregnant told my wife that when she had the baby she was going to give it to my wife. You can bet that this problem was discussed many times around our dinner table and often late at night. When the birth came the girl was busy and must have forgotten her earlier statement and after several months we relaxed a bit.

One of our employees really liked selling fish so every night after he had made his catch he would throw the fish into the trunk of his car and head for town to sell them. Needless to say that over time his car began to smell and in the heat of July it began to reek. He complained a lot about all the dogs following him every time he drove through the reserve. Several times he filled the trunk clear full of water and then put in some soap but to no avail. He even poured couple bottles of his girlfriends perfume in there but that only gave it a horrible sweet smell and ruined any effect the perfume might have had on the girl. In the end he had to abandon the car and wait until winter and then strip all the good parts from it.

Next in the food line was the consumption of venison which we used a lot. Empire was famous for it’s’ deer herds so we could stock up during the season and it would last some time.

Next was blue grouse of which we had quite a bit especially around the cow camps because they could be consumed before they spoiled. Our boys also spent nearly every afternoon after school hunting grouse. The younger son would go out every day with his BB gun and wouldn’t say where he was going. We never thought much about it until one day when he returned to the house with a very large grouse. Talk about proud of taking a grouse with a BB gun.

Last was trout. We could catch them anytime but they were only good to eat in the early spring before the hot weather came and in the fall after it had left. In the summer the lakes in that area were so shallow that the fish got very soft and not edible. The ones shown above were caught right at the end of the good time and they were from a high mountain lake. The trout in the streams were firm all summer but the streams were glacier fed so the water was a gray color and the fish were OK but not really good.

The one exception to this in our area was a lake called Gaspard that was big enough and deep enough that the fish from there were always good. There were so many fish in the stream just below the dam that you couldn’t cast a fly without catching a fish. They were small but delicious. There was a Gang cow camp near there and the cowboys left a bucket sitting on a cement wall just next to where the water was falling from a culvert that was the outlet for the dam. The bucket would be just at the edge of the water fall so that often fish who were trying to go up the waterfall would be flipped back and land in the bucket. This was a very simple and reliable way of getting supper. I was there lots of times and always the bucket would be just full of delicious trout.

We did not eat bear as I had tried it in Colorado when I was young and sure didn’t like it. That time we gave what we couldn’t eat to the dogs but the hair just came up on their backs and they growled and wouldn’t touch the stuff. I know that if you do eat bear meat it is very important what they have been eating before you killed them. If they had just consumed a rotten old cow then they might not be really prime bear. But if you must, after the wild berries come on is probably the best time. I know that just skinning them was very different depending on their prior diet.

Moose and bighorn sheep were really great but we seldom got them. The moose were scarce and the sheep were very hard to hunt for trophies let alone meat. The natives got both and relished the moose.
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Re: Idaman

Postby Idaman » Tue Jun 15, 2010 12:41 pm

Some times the bear stories were funny and others they were sad.

One day while driving through Gang Ranch we were passing a meadow called bear spring. A bee man had put out quite a few hives there that were very visible from the road. It was evening but still very light.

As we passed the beehives we saw a young bear up on top of a hive. He was using his front claws to try to pry the top up off of the hive but the problem was that he was standing on top of the lid he was trying to lift. We nearly died laughing at the antics of this young bear.

On the sad or maddening side of the equation was one night at Yodel when two native cowboys were awakened in the middle of the night by the most awful but somewhat muffled sound they had ever heard. It definitely was a sound of agony and panic on the part of some animal that they could not identify. It really spooked them and they couldn’t go back to bed and were too spooked to go investigate in the dark. They stayed up, built a fire and made some coffee. Actually they drank several pots worth. So much that they ran out of water but were panicked about going out and down to the creek to get more. Finally the older man braved up and headed out with a bucket. When he was almost to the creek he heard a noise behind him and he spun around to run for the cabin and ran smack dab into the younger cowboy who had not liked being alone in the cabin and had fetched his gun and followed the other man. After they got up and calmed themselves down some they talked themselves into going ahead and getting the water and heading back.

At first light they saddled up and headed out in the direction of the awful noise. They soon came on the seen that was causing the ruckus. A black bear had knocked a cow down and broken her back so she couldn’t move but she didn’t die. Instead she was bawling while partly submerged in the creek as the bear was eating her entire hindquarters with her alive.

The cowboys shot the bear and then the cow but even after they knew the bear was dead they just couldn’t quit shooting him. They finally ran out of bullets so they headed out for a three hour ride to a mine telephone to call me and tell me the story. They also said that they needed more bullets and they were out of coffee too. I headed right out for the camp with several boxes of ammunition and more coffee but this time I only took decaf. When I got to the camp they were still bouncing around and chattering in a high pitch.
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Re: Idaman

Postby Idaman » Wed Jun 16, 2010 10:12 am

Some people have been curious about the Carl Martin bred cattle out of Texas. Here are two bulls bred by him in the early seventies. They are of straight Lamplighter and Blanchard lineage. They were not certified Anxiety 4ths but were line bred very close to that line.



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This is the bull we called 211,



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Obviously another picture of 211.


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This is bull 212.

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212 again.

These were two of the four that we got from Carl. We earlier showed the picture of one of the other
bulls. Since we had been using an Anxiety 4th bull before and had many of his daughters we crossed these bulls on those daughters. Shortly after this time we bought two Eaton Becker bulls and were going to cross these two lines back and forth. These three bulls from Carl are in every pedigree of the cattle we now have so they must have done something right.

We couldn't continue this plan after the move to Canada as the Martin bulls would just not adjust to the climate although their daughters did just fine. Of course the Becker bulls did just fine being from Montana.
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Re: Idaman

Postby Idaman » Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:26 pm

Bears! If you live with them all around you really need a sense of humor for their antics. If not then they can really get you down and make your life miserable.

On the more humorous side and yet potentially disastrous side would be the following story.

Our neighbor and great friend in his younger days was quite a good roper and liked to practice on anything that came across his path. One day when he and a native man were riding to check the cattle they came across a medium sized bear out in the open where a good chase would be possible. He was on his best roping horse so he shook out his rope and went after the bear. The horse was very fast and the bear got a late start so Jack easily caught up to within roping distance and threw. The rope went neatly over the bears head but before it tightened the bear as he was running reached up and swatted it off of his neck but the rope tightened around his foot instead. Jack thought just as the rope was going over the bears head that something here is just not right. Then the rope tightened around the bears’ leg the bear immediately turned around and started back towards Jack. Then it hit Jack just what it was that wasn’t quite right. He had tied onto a grizzly not a black bear as he had thought he was roping. This fact brought on a whole new dimension to the saga.

Since Jack was on his favorite horse he hadn’t wanted to carry the rifle on this horse so he had given it to the native man to carry. Jack and his horse spun around and headed back by the man carrying the gun with the grizzly in hot pursuit. As he went by the armed man and started making a circle around him he yelled for the man to shoot the bear that was very close behind and gaining... The native man yelled back “I can’t hit a running bear. You’ll have to stop.” Jack then yelled “I CAN’T STOP. Just SHOOT the bear.” Finally the man shot, hit the bear and everyone breathed a sigh of relief, especially Jack.

One of our irrigators was up in a meadow about three miles from the house moving some wheel lines. The upper end line ran up to some chokecherry bushes along an old creek bed. When he was working there on that line an older bear bounced kind of stiff legged out of the bushes right toward him woofing as she came. This spooked him some and he raced back to the trail bike he used to get around the hayfields and piled on with great speed. It was a kick start bike and he immediately started kicking the starter pedal. The bike just would not start and after frantically kicking it for some time he realized that he hadn’t turned the ignition key on. When he did turn it on the bike started and he left the bear in a cloud of dust. He said that he had been kicking the bike so fast that it was turning over at least 2000 rpm when he discovered the key problem.

Later in the year our oldest son was up there moving that same line and again the bear bounced out and woofed at him. He tried his bike but it truly would not start and he had to run quite a ways. After he had gone about a mile he was able to catch a horse and ride on home with the use of a bale twine for a bridle. When he told my wife the story she immediately decided to go after that bear and end this nonsense. I was hunting grizzliesin the back country so she felt she had to do it alone. She took my lighter rifle and headed out with our boys in the pickup. When she got up to the meadow where the bear was the bear was crossing the meadow in the open and heading up a steep hillside. She jumped out, grabbed the 25/06, told the boys to be ready to reload for her and then started shooting at the bear. She hadn’t wanted to get too close so the distance was 3 to 400 yards. I think she emptied the gun twice and although none of the three bears dropped she was pretty sure that she had hit at least one. It was a momma bear, the woofer, her yearling and her that years’ cub. I got home later that night and she insisted that we go back up there in the morning to see if she had hit any of the bears.

When we got to the meadow we ran into the yearling and prepared to get it. She had started this hunt so she wanted to finish it so we let her have at the bear first. It was moving and her first shot creased it on the rear quarters. The bear sat down and started scooting along in a sitting position like a dog does sometimes. We were all laughing real hard until she shot again and downed it.

Later we found the sow dead very near where she had shot at it the day before and the cub, also dead, not far from there. She was quite proud of herself for her shooting and bear hunting.
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Re: Idaman

Postby Idaman » Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:41 pm

During one our earlier springs at Empire we were moving our calved out two year old heifers to a small pasture and corral setup that was called the calving barn, It was about three miles from the house so we didn’t use it for calving heifers because no one wanted to stay up there in a rat infested barn when his house was only three miles away. We put the heifers there in the small pasture with the gates open to the open range so that they could mother up well before going out.

Several of the workers mentioned that they had seen a bear hanging around that little pasture, just playing with the calves. We figured that was one habit we didn’t want to encourage. So every evening my family and I would drive up there and see if we could spot the bear in his antics. One evening we spotted him walking along the road just above the cattle. He was a ways away and we didn’t want to spook him until we had a chance for a shot. He turned and started off the edge of the road and I broke a rule I have always had. Don’t shoot until you are absolutely sure you are going to hit and kill. I mistakenly took a quick shot as he disappeared over the bank. We were pretty sure the bullet had hit but we didn’t know just where. We drove up to the spot where he had been and sure enough there was blood there but no dead bear. There was a fairly large patch of chokecherries at the bottom of the hill that he had probably gone in. There was no sign or noise that the bear was in the bushes.

My wife suggested that maybe I should go down into those bushes and see what had happened to him. It was nearly dark by then and the prospect of crawling through those thick bushes was not all that appealing. Besides we only had one gun and we were having trouble deciding just who was going to have it. She thought that I should leave the gin with her and then she could shoot whatever was chasing me out of the bushes. I argued that this might not be the best plan as the bear might get to me before I could get to where she could shoot at least one of us, depending on how close the bear was and just how much she led him. I was able to keep up the discussion without going down there until it really was dark and we headed home.

Later in the fall of that year we began to notice a very unusual track of a bear that had three normal foot prints but one very rounded and odd shaped track. We figured that this was the bear I had hit earlier in the year. The next spring one of the riders saw a bear in that same area that was missing a major part of his right rear leg and we were sure that was the bear. He lived for several years in that condition but we were never able to get another shot at him. We saw his tracks for several years and then one year they just disappeared so he must have passed on.

We were hunting grizzlies in the fall and staying at our Yodel cow camp and the whole family was there plus one native man. My wife started sleeping at night on a cot along the west wall of the cabin. The first night we were there a rat that had his entrance right under her cot came indoors which we didn’t hear but after getting in and stopping he sneezed real loud. My wife raised up off of her cot still in the prone position. She was unable to sleep much that night but we assured her that he surely would have cured his cold by the next night and she would be OK. Right after we were starting to doze off he came in and stopped and sneezed again several times. She repeated the prior nights’ performance but this time she got up and moved her sleeping bag to the top of the table where we ate. It was great, high, rat proof and quite large. She became a permanent resident of this table for every night we stayed there for many years. We named the rat “Sneezer” and we tried everything to rid ourselves of him lest we catch his cold. :D
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Re: Idaman

Postby Idaman » Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:06 am

Image






This is a picture of the Frazer River and of the suspension bridge near Gang Ranch. It was a major bottleneck for the two ranches on the west side. Not only were the approaches very sharp ninety degree turns there was also a 27 ton weight restriction. Normal cattle liners or pots couldn’t get onto the bridge from the east and if they could have they couldn’t be nearly fully loaded. What we call a truck and pup or actually an a-train could get on the bridge but again it had to be less than half loaded. This made for a lot of shuttling cattle from a corral on the west side, for that purpose, to the waiting trucks on the east side, The truck and pup had to leave the pup on the east side, cross, and go up to the ranch which was about eighteen miles. After loading the truck would take the load back down cross the bridge and then unload the cattle into the pup. Next he would come back to the ranch load again, head back down, cross, hook back up to the pup, and head out. This absolutely took all day. Any feed came in the same way by breaking up a B-train at the bridge and then shuttling the feed up to the ranch. Needless to say when we got a trucker in that had gone through this procedure they never came back.


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This is a picture of the trailer we had purchased before moving to Empire to be used just for the purpose of hauling our cattle across this bridge. Here it is pictured going in on the day we first arrived at Empire. All of our furniture, appliances, and personal possessions were on that trailer. The red sides are 4x8 plywood sheets that can be put on the sides to keep dust and water out. When removed the sides are normal open sided slats for cattle hauling.

The reason that this approach to the bridge was so impossible for the liners was the two suspension cables you can see just above the trailer that angled into the bank on the left. When you tried to get around the corner and on to the bridge you had to swing wide and stay as close to the steep bank on the left side as you could. When you did this then the cables were just too low at that angle to allow you enough swing room to be able to get onto the bridge. Our trailer was only a straight trailer that wasn’t as high as the liners and the rear wheels were very far ahead making the wheelbase very short and maneuverable. You still had to almost scrape the top of the front of the trailer on the cable to be able to make the swing. Even when this worked you had better have a tractor with an exhaust pipe on the right side or it got bent. There was nothing worse than seeing one of the shuttling truckers come into the ranch yard with the left new, chrome, tall, exhaust pipe bent back. We knew that we were in for a time with a very irate trucker.

In the early days Gang Ranch and Empire had to force their shipping cattle to swim the river to get out to market. They used boats to keep the cattle headed across the river and not turn back to the shore from which they had come.

Even with these problems we felt fortunate to have any kind of bridge as the two ranches next to us down the river had to cross all of their cattle on a small ferry. They had a set of corrals on the west side where they held the shippers. They had an alleyway about 100 feet long out into the river that the ferry docked into. When the ferry stopped they would lower a ramp and the cowboys would force ten or fifteen cattle onto the fence decked ferry, load their horses, and head across. On the other side they would drive them off of the ferry and put them into a holding pen. Then they would ferry back and do it all over again enough times to get 50 to a 100 cattle across. Now in more recent times logging has brought roads into these ranches from Lillooet and they only face a long haul to get the cattle out to market.
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Re: Idaman

Postby alacattleman » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:43 pm

like that 211 bull real well,,,, enjoyin' your stories too idaman ,,,thanks for taking time :cowboy:
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Re: Idaman

Postby Bonsman » Wed Jun 23, 2010 1:37 pm

This is such good stuff. I could read these post all day. Thanks Idaman!!
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Re: Idaman

Postby gbrumbelow » Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:39 pm

The truck and pup had to leave the pup on the east side, cross, and go up to the ranch which was about eighteen miles.


Like few other 18-mile stretches of road I've ever driven. Sometime you should describe your 18-mile lane and tell us some stories about navigating it.
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Re: Idaman

Postby Idaman » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:32 am

gbrumbelow, will do. I'm short on time today and I just remembered another local forklore story that happened at Gang Ranch.

There was a native cowboy by the name of Jiggs that was born at Gang Ranch, lived all his life there and rode there for many, many years. Jiggs was pretty short and not very heavy but his most noticeable characteristic was that although a native indian he was extremely light colored. I would venture to say that he looked most like an albino. Every part of him was much more white in color than a caucasian. There was a very slight pink color to his face from the years in the saddle. The other noticeable thing about him was that he had only one eye. When I knew him he was totally missing that eye but I understand that when the eye accident had first happened he wore a glass eye for many years.

He was staying alone in a cow camp cabin at what was called Blue Door Meadow which is quite a few miles from the headquarters. Gang Ranch hired a new young non-native cowboy that was pretty green and was totaly new to the country. The manager told this young cowboy where the cabin was and sent him on his way, horseback. He arrived at the cabin OK and moved in with Jiggs. Jiggs was wearing the glass eye at this time. When they went to bed that night they were in two small cots that were paralell in a small wing of the cabin. So whoever was sleeping in one cot looked right at the other sleeper. No one told the young cowboy about the glass eye but when they went to bed he began to notice that Jiggs while seemingly asleep continued to look at him with one eye. Jiggs was asleep but the glass eye just never closed. This unnerved the younger man not liking to be watched with one eye all night so much that he got up and moved his own cot around the corner to where he couldn't see the staring eye. He still couldn't go to sleep so every few minutes he would get out of bed and go around to see if he was still being watched. Of course he was. The next morning he saddled up, rode the 35 miles back to the headquarters, quit, and left. No one ever told him about Jiggs' condition and he never figured it out.
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Re: Idaman

Postby Idaman » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:03 am

Image




This is Churn Creek. The Bridge crossing the creek is on the entrance road to Empire. The road going to the left extends for about fifteen miles from the bridge to the headquarters. Along this fifteen miles it gains about 1500 feet in altitude.
This canyon goes about 30 mile to the west, stays this deep and rough, and provides the boundary fence between Empire Valley Ranch and Gang Ranch. It was a very easy fence to maintain and the bulls didn’t seem to fight across the fence much. In that distance there were only about three places that had narrow trails down from the plateaus on each side where animals could cross. Occasionally one would but very rarely.

About eight miles up this canyon there is a small gold mine claim that two miners were working during the summer months. There is a cabin on the claim where the miners lived. I don’t think they worked very hard at the gold digging or panning but just used this place as a summer getaway. At the cabin they kept a life sized inflatable Playboy Bunny that was pretty scantily clad. The miners left the bunny at the cabin in the winter when they had returned to civilization which was probably the best decision depending on the broadmindedness of their wives. The bunny seemed to fascinate some of the cowboys and they often rode down in there to see if she was still there. On one of those outings the two native cowboys arrived at the cabin only to find the miners in residence there. The miners invited the two in for coffee and they happily obliged. When they entered the cabin the bunny was standing in the corner of the kitchen just looking at them. One of these native cowboys was very much into Indian religion and spiritism. They were served the coffee and as they started enjoying the fresh coffee the Indian religion guy leaped up from his chair, RAN out the door, jumped on his horse and “gave er both sides” up the trail toward home.

The other cowboy visited, enjoyed his coffee and leisurely left back up the trail. When he reached the top he saw the other man sitting on his horse and just looking back down at the cabin. The man that hadn’t left in a hurry asked the other man why he had left in such a big and rude hurry. The man who had left in a hurry said “She winked at me.” To my knowledge he never went near there again.


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This is the confluence of Churn Creek and the Frazer River. In the fall a lot of Humpback salmon swam up Churn Creek to spawn. We tried some for eating but they were way too soft and inedible.

Notice the difference in the color of the water. These were taken in the last week so Churn is still in the spring runoff stage and the Frazer is fairly well cleared up. In all the years I lived there I only saw the Frazer clear twice and that was in the winter through the ice. I guess since it was glacier fed it was always kind of murky.
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Re: Idaman

Postby Txwalt » Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:37 pm

The first thing I look for when I log on is a new story from you. I was retelling some of your stories to a friend of mine today, while the cows were munching on some cubes. We have 7 cows. I can live vicariously through you. :D

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Re: Idaman

Postby gbrumbelow » Sat Jun 26, 2010 12:57 am

Hey, Txwalt, I'm surprised you have only 7 cows. Didn't you make a lot of money doing that detective show on the TeeVee? ;-)
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Re: Idaman

Postby Idaman » Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:45 pm

These are pictures of the Churn Creek grasslands that are an integral part of Empire Valley Ranch. The main reason that I include these is that the government of BC has purchased Empire Valley and declared this grassland a Provincial grassland and has a website for information about it. They chose this site because of what they said were its’ pristine qualities. I think that even though a grassland like this can be grazed annually for 150 years it still can be called pristine. We used this pasture for November and December grazing every year we were there. Two years we were able to stay out here until mid February.



Image

This is looking down Churn Creek from the eastern end of the pasture. The bridge crossing the creek on the entrance road to Empire that I pictured before is on down this canyon to where it meets the Frazer. To the right is what was called dry lakes and at the lower end of them was an area called Chickensh$t pass. I’ll let you guess how that pass got its’ name.

Image


Looking off directly into the Churn Creek canyon from the same point as the upper picture. You can see why this canyon made an excellent border fence and why cattle almost never crossed. This canyon and the hills on both sides is the home to a fantastic band of bighorn sheep. Almost exactly on the spot where the cameraman is standing I saw five of the biggest rams ever. All were 1 ¼ to 1 ½ curl and absolutely beautiful. That was in late November and at that time they weren’t too wild. The local guide said that they were only wild from late July through the middle of November. I know he was correct because he and I rode right in among a band of about 20 in May when we after the grizz. They were no wilder than cattle at that time. My wife went for a walk through this same area a few days later and walked right up on the same band. She and the boys watched them graze and the lambs play for a long time. She said that she even saw some of the lambs jump up and stand on their mothers’ back.


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Looking north across the junction of little Churn and big Churn. Where these two creeks come together is where the cabin is, that was the residence of the rubber Playboy bunny. Last we knew she was hanging in a tree along the trail. Probably put there by one of the wives of one of the miners when they discovered just who their husband was spending his summers with.


Looking up and west along Big Churn.

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Looking across the grasslands toward Gang Ranch. It was down on this lower flat where I saw bighorn sheep digging up the grass out of the snow and then our steers taking it away from them to exist. Also down there I witnessed bighorn sheep and cattle licking the same salt block at the same time. We are standing on almost the exact spot where I saw my first wolf track in the snow.


Image


One more of the upper grasslands.
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