In May there was a Search and Rescue tracking course. It was still baking hot then.

The instructors were from the coast and could not believe how hard and dry our ground was. They conceded that the track, which had been laid the day before, was very difficult to follow. Below is Jim holding a tracking stick. With it we measure the size of the person’s foot and the stride length – by this mean we can determine where the next track should be.

The next event was the annual Precipice cattle drive. I drove down only for the day – takes about 2 and half hours to get there. En route I saw a coot in one of the sloughs.

Then down the Precipice tote road,

Running the gauntlet of Fred’s army of stone people.

Aspen leaf miners have been a major feature of our area – until last year. This year they were just starting up again. Google told me the larvae were from a beetle, but then I found a site in Alaska specific to the aspen leaf mine, and this perpetrator is a tiny moth. The eggs are laid in the buds and the caterpillar chomps it’s way through the leaf between the outer walls eventually pupating, often under the edge of the leaf, which it rolls over.

Here is the rancher, Lee

And the cowboys – who are mostly young women who have been doing this for years.

Even though cowboying is done traditionally in this country, I was amused to notice that even cowboys have cell phones…

And off they go, up to their summer pasture. I hid behind a fence to take these photos, thinking the cows wouldn’t see me but I was wrong!

An unusual visitor to the Precipice this spring was a trumpeter swan. His contemporaries would be in Alaska nesting; no one knew what was wrong with this one. It has adult plumage. They mate for life so was odd to find it alone. It is moving around the valley so not incapacitated.

It was extremely cold when the Tatla Lake Gymkhana came around. The wind was bitter and we had squalls where it snowed.Each day has different events – I went on the second day this year and caught the hanging tire competition. A person perches behind the rider and gets off on the tire. He or she must not touch the ground. The rider goes around a barrel then tries to pick up the passenger. Most horses aren’t happy with this arrangement and the audience laughs it’s head off!

After this, my camera acted up and I didn’t get any more photos.

I never win raffles. But at the gymkhana last year I won a cord o0f firewood. It was not available this year, but I won again. This time a rotary sander. I had been wanting to refinish my table for years. I cut the boards from an amazingly large whitebark pine in the mountains. It had been hand-sanded before but I had not realized until I put oil on it how badly the coarse sandpaper had marked it. (Unlike lodgepole, whitebark is a soft wood.). Here is “before.”

And here is “after.”

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