City Slicker Tries to Feel at Home on the Range

April 22nd, 2013 by 63 Ranch

cattle2By Les MacPherson, The StarPhoenix
August 27, 2011
Last week, while city folk toiled in their grim cubicles, I was in Montana. On horseback. Driving cattle.

Yippie ki-yay . The place was the historic 63 Ranch, a vast spread of pastures and pine trees and mountain meadows, nestled up against the Absaroka Mountain Range, just north of Yellowstone Park. Beyond the forested Absarokas looms the jagged, sawtooth ridge of the Crazy Mountains, with nearly vertical peaks reaching almost two miles high from the Yellowstone River valley. To try to go over them, you would have to be crazy.

The 63 Ranch is a family operation, staked out in 1863. Since 1929, it has been a dude ranch, but always with a big herd of beef cattle, too. The cattle have to be moved to new pastures from time to time and us dudes sometimes are allowed to help. The legitimate wranglers could manage without us, I suspect.

My horse was Shiloh, a bouncy and responsive sorrel gelding, splashed with white. What really distinguished Shiloh, however, were his eyes. They were two different colours, one brown, one icy blue. He sometimes gazed back at me over his shoulder with that icy blue eye. I think he was admiring my hat.

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