We heard about a cattle drive the other day and went out to investigate. Off in the distance we could see a bunch of dark shapes with dust rising here and there. We cautiously approached, not wanting to get in the way or make the cowboys' job any harder.
Right away we could see some action. A calf was making a mad dash away from the group, and a cowboy and his horse galloped after the wayward young'un.
The calf had spotted open country and decided to make a run for it. It obviously wasn't thinking about other consequences, i.e. it would be lonely and hungry without its mama. This calf was living in the moment.
But the calf didn't have its freedom for long, the horse caught up and turned the calf, all at high speed.
The calf sprinted back to the rest of the cows, the horse urging its quick return. Dust rose as hooves pounded the dry, hard ground.
It was such a high speed chase that the cowboy's hat even fell off!
They're still running.The calf had strayed far from the herd. The cattle were being moved from winter range to summer range, and it was the calf's first time to see this terrain. I can feel it's curiosity, crossing over the pass and seeing so many different things. And sometimes a kid just has to run, to stretch his legs.
Hurray! Back with mama and the rest of the cows and calves. A couple of cows used the distraction to take a snack break.
Then it was time to get the cows moving again. Four cowboys and some dogs kept the cows walking most of the time. It's a fairly slow process, but with steady pushing they can cover a lot of ground.
It was a beautiful day, with pleasant temperatures and beautiful scenery. My brother-in-law Dave came over to ask a question. I took the opportunity to get some close up photos.
He still has a wide smile at this stage of the trip! He knows that it will be many more miles and hours to go.
In places a lot of dust is raised. Being a cowboy can be quite dirty work.
Now the cows are moved along the little two-track road. These cows aren't quiet as they walk along. In fact, they have quite a lot to say as they tell another cow to get out of the way or comment on the brown cow's butt or share calf-raising tips or cuss out the cowboys. You can hear a sampling in the video below. What do you think they are saying?
And then away they go, slow and steady, the sound fading as the distance increases. Quiet returns to the desert, interrupted now by grasshoppers whirring from one bush to another, horned larks chirping, and the wind rustling the squat vegetation. The moment of excitement has passed.