Memories from my Tin Box of Poetry & Prose. I continue to find the stories scribbled ink on paper. These will be with me always.
An adventure in every way. Traveling to new places, meeting new people, taking part in a piece of Americana - a cattle drive. What else?
The drive to Bridgeport was fantastic. I had never been beyond Lake Tahoe. Venturing into Nevada and driving through open valleys lined with tumbleweed, surrounded by omnipotent Sierra mountains capped with snow and shrouded by dark clouds. The aspens were a shade of yellow that only unseen powers could create. After passing Lake Tahoe, we dropped down into the Carson Valley - flat and wide-open. The sun was shining on a few chosen spaces. Farther along was Topaz Lake. Just beyond, we crossed back into California. The land was mostly scrub and brush with jagged hills on either side. A small stream, a lovely cascade of water and rocks, shadowed the road. The sky was still cloudy with breaks of sunlight.
The people on the cattle drive have been amazing and made me feel a part of this longstanding gathering. CJ Hadley, a British writer living in Washoe Valley, dressed me out in her suede chaps and her Australian outback coat. Terry Sullivan, a classic cowboy, tied his flowery neckerchief around my neck. With CJ's hat resting on my head, I was transformed into the complete cowgirl. The ultimate show of generosity was CJ letting me ride her horse, Gibson. And so, on our second day on the trail, I rode into Sweetwater Ranch with an extraordinary family of cowboys: Terry Sullivan, David Roundtree, Glenn Allaback, John Ascuaga, and Richard Houle, Chef gone cowboy for a day. We rode on through a majestic valley ringed on all sides by the Sierra Nevada with 900 head of cattle keeping pace.
The next day started with another of Richard's heartfelt meals - steak and eggs, home fries, toast, coffee, and a smile. The world was icy; nighttime temperatures had dipped to a chilly 15 degrees. Bridled and saddled, the horses' tails, manes, whiskers, and eyelashes were tipped in a frosty white. One restless pony pranced feverishly in the corral. Certainly she would not be left out of the day's journey. And she wasn't.