Sunday, August 28, 2011

Packtrip Pano's

Here are a few panoramic images that I have put together since I got back from the trip.  Check them out let me know what you think.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Deafening Silence

Grazing Horses in the Wildflowers

Why Deer Creek Trail is dangerous
Recently my job took me into the backcountry.  100 miles of horse riding over five days into God's wilderness where the silence is deafening.  No audible sounds but nature were present in the wilderness.  I expected to hear birds and other forms of wildlife but during our trip it was eerily silent with only sounds of rivers and streams and the ever present wind gusts that would relocate your hat about 40 feet away.  Our trip began from the ranch  up to the deer creek trail ( aka the widow maker trail).  We made our way over deer creek pass which is 10,000 ft above sea level and were greeted with spectacular views that stretched clear to yellowstone.  We made camp on the Bourner Fork for the evening and were welcomed into the wilderness with a great storm and a spectacular rainbow.  

Real Cowboys 
Interesting history tidbit about the Bourner Fork, it is commonly referred to as the Boner Fork.  In the early 1900's Miss Bourner who owned Cassie's a local roadhouse in Cody, decided to set up a brothel back in the wilderness to service the hunters.  Hunters in this time period came from all over the world to hunt for six weeks in Wyoming, they would hunt every species Wyoming had to offer Bears, Big Horn Sheep, Elk, Deer, Wolf and Coyote.  Miss Bourner's brothel was located in a large meadow where the hunters would venture through in weeks two and four of their six week trip.  It is said that Miss Bourner and her ladies serviced high society members, Arab princes, and even one of our Presidents.  I personally thought it was a hard trip back into the wilderness 25 miles but can you imagine hauling in box springs and beds and big canvas tents by horse back into the back country that far?  The old box springs are still there, rusted out of course, but they sure make for one hell of a cool history marker.

Bourner Fork Wildflowers

On day two we moved camp farther into the back country over a few more mountain passes and made camp towards the head waters of Butte Creek.  We awoke the next morning and went for a really cool short day ride further up in to a valley with a snake like river.

Thoroughfare River

Deer Creek pass
On day four we started our two day journey back home down Butte Creek through some seriously washed out trails.  This trail had not been used this season so there were plenty of downed trees impeding our journey and we were snapping branches left and right on horses as we made our own trail through the wilderness.  The last day we proceeded back up to deer creek pass.  My poor horse Ringo got a rock stuck between his foot and his shoe and he suffered a bruised foot, really painful but not detrimental to the leg.  He was limping pretty badly and I felt bad for the horse so I got off and led him by the lead rope for 4 hours about 13 miles up and down the Deer Creek trail.  We made it back safe and sound and Ringo's foot is feeling alot better, however my feet took a serious beating and im not sure I have recovered yet.


All I can say is that trip was epic.  I slept early and woke up with sun sometimes covered with frost and other times drenched in dew.  But it was rejuvenating to my soul I felt replenished and full in spirit.  While there, my mind was continually thinking of John Muir and the similarities we both share.  He found his peace in the wilderness and it was his connection to God.  I found this quote of his that really sums up my experience on this trip.

Deer Creek Trail with a view of the Hawkeye Ranch

"Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature's darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature's sources never fail." ~ John Muir

Butte Creek Sunrise

Friday, August 19, 2011

When it rains...........

Well today was supposed to a great day.  Off to Dubois for the start of our pack trip that would take us along the edge of the Teton National forest, Yellowstone National Park, and then back in the the Shoshone National forest a 7 day journey spanning 100 miles of wilderness.  I was so excited to see the back country, to be away from people.  Take photos and enjoy scenery that few ever get to experience.  Well it was not to be....  The boss is having some medical issues and the plan at 4 am this morning was to go with out him.  We have 3 other guests that were planning on going as well.  But while we were loading horses at 4 am the trip got canceled after a meeting of the powers that be.  Well I was really excited about going and so were the other members of the staff who had been preparing for the last several days.  We still may be able to go on a short 3 day trip into the Thoroughfare, which is where the 3 rivers meet that feed Yellowstone lake.   To compound on our disappointment all of the following events took place from 6am to 9am this morning.  We hit a deer with a truck that didn't belong to the ranch and was on loan for this trip.  Our horse trailer's air break locked up and completely shredded one tire and damaged a second.  The boss is at the doctor.  So bad things happen in three's, but thats like 4 things including the canceled trip.  So I wonder if bad things happen in multiples of three's?  Here is to hoping that those 4 things were enough for today!  Hoping for some more great new photos at the beginning of next week.

On a note of humor one of our guests got an ATV stuck in the river  yesterday to the point where it was floating down river.  It finally got stopped.  Then I had to go out there and tow the ATV all the way back to the ranch. Lets just say that it was the second most fun time I have had on an ATV; the first being my bachelor party in the hills outside of bishop with my groomsmen, Jeff, Chad, Rob and John Bradley I still get chills thinking about much fun we had.  I drove the ATV into the water till I was soaking wet from waist down, 40 degree water is CHILLY.  But we got that thing out in a jiffy and took an interesting obstacle course back to the ranch over tree stumps through other parts of the river and up a few hills that were entirely made of river rock.

Gonna relieve some disappointment by shooting my gun.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Running Down the Dream

Lone Rider in the Mts across the river

Well life on the ranch is a little quieter now.  The guests have gone and we even got a day off, our second one in six weeks.  But I will say its worth it to live in this place.  It is truly a photographers paradise so many new things to see.  Every day we move a little closer to fall and the mountains are changing colors from green to golden yellow.  Cant wait to finally live in a place where I can see the fall colors and get some snow hopefully.

Preparing to cut for Hay

At the end of this week we will have been at the ranch for 5 months.  I have never slept better in my life.  I have also never had job that is this low stress.  I feel great and I am excited to work.

This week we also leave on our pack trip.  Seven days in the mountains on horses, no tents, just sleeping bags and a five star chef.  I don't think anyone will have any trouble sleeping with the amount of booze we are bringing. It should be alot of fun with great opportunities for some pretty spectacular photos due to the remote locations.

Fall colors

Here are some photos from the last two weeks ill try to get one more blog in before we leave but check back at the end of next week for some good photos.

Halden Wofford & the Hi Beams at the Hawkeye Ranch