Mike Moutoux's Ranch Notes
I was back in the Pecos Wilderness to help some friends move cattle from their winter range up into the mountains where the cattle will spend the summer. Joining our crew were Jim Jones and Randy Huston’s dad, Darrell. Jim is a fellow singer-songwriter and in anticipation of that I brought an old guitar along for our evening campfire sessions. Sure glad I did.
The weather was great and the little rain we got did not dampen our spirits a bit. The grass was still short up there but turning green and little blue irises were blooming just about everywhere. Here is a photo of the pack horses grazing among the flowers while we took a lunch break. The gray is Gringo, the horse I rode last year.
Pushing the cattle up the trail to the meadow country was awful easy—the cattle knew the way and moved right along to where we wanted them to go. Pushing cattle is sure a lot easier when you push them where they want to go. My old boss, Jerry McDonald, used to say the trick is to make them think the whole thing is the cow’s idea. A little pressure and a little patience often do the trick. We passed through quite a bit of aspen up there. I like aspens in the Fall, but those trees are just dang pretty every day of the year. Here’s is part of our crew winding their way along though a pretty stretch. Randy is first followed by Jim, Darrell and Kleve Bain.
Speaking of Kleve---he tossed his jeans in his truck for the night and got up the next morning to put them on and realized he had left his keys in the pocket of his pants when he threw them in the truck and locked the doors. So here is a flattering shot of Kleve rescuing his jeans from the front of his truck. Kleve has a fine figure and I’m sure he wouldn’t mind my posting this.
On the second day, we went back to the cattle and tried moving them to a new meadow closer to where we intended to put some salt out for them. This operation was all about pushing them where they did not want to go. It’s quite interesting trying to get ahead of cattle that have angled off the trail and into the forest. We earned our beans and bacon on that deal. I had some fun rides on Randy’s horse, Jose, loping across the meadows to turn cattle back, bouncing off the stiff branches of fir trees as we attempted shortcuts through the trees and hopping over fallen logs.
We moved the cows a good bit finally deciding that the animals knew who was in charge there and put out the salt. We took the trail for camp enjoying a real nice day and each other’s company as we rode through the forest single file. When we got back to the meadow where we had first seen the cows, there they were—they had beaten us back and were now right back where they had been when we started. Of course we let them think that was their idea as we are real cowboys. Here is a photo of the cattle as we rode by. New Mexico has the best clouds I’ve ever seen and I like this shot.
On the last night we had another fire and passed the guitar around again. Here is Jim at the fire entertaining our crew and a few guests. We have a knack for meeting nice folks on these trips. Besides moving cattle, it is probably our best talent.
One final note: around the fire one night I came up with a pretty good idea (forget now what it was), and Randy’s dad agreed. I said, “I’m not as dumb as I look.” He looked at me and replied, “Well that’s a relief”. Yes it is.