Tag Archives: sooplolallie

Precipice Cattle Drive 2018

I couldn’t make it for the start of the Precipice Cattle Drive party on the Friday night, so drove down early Saturday morning.  It is a 2-hour drive, part of it on a very rough road, but one of the residents has enlivened the journey with stone people. The Precipice is lower and warmer than where I live (and wetter) so the heart-leaved arnica were in bloom.I was in plenty of time to observe the cowboying, and by then the weather had improved.Last summer’s fires had got very close to the ranch buildings.First a couple of cows with weaker, smaller calves had to be cut out – they would be kept home for a while.For one reason or another there were fewer locals attending this year.  However, there was a new helper, Cody, who has a ranch higher on the Chilcotin.Now they are starting to bunch the cows; Cody is picking up stragglers.The youngest cowboys generally begin their training on  ATVs. The cows must be nudged through the gate.  No one wants to be first.But then they go through.Lee, the rancher, is giving instructions to an ATVer.  They go ahead so they can block off side roads.  (Ida is doing that same job on her horse here.  The horse seems very interested in what Lee has to say.)Up to now, Lee has always walked in front, calling his cows.  But they will be taken to the top of the rise in the background, and last spring Lee seriously blew his knee so he is not quite up to mountain climbing yet.The old cows know where to go so there is generally not much fuss as they head on their way.Now is a quiet time.  I, of course, am interested in what is growing. The leaf miners in the aspens at this elevation are full bore.The soopolallie is in full leaf.  The dusty look is caused by gobs of pine pollen.Wild strawberries are blooming everywhere.And in shady areas, elderberries are laden with flowers.By lunchtime the cowboys were home again – enjoying a well-earned rest. (Flesh is tucked away because of the mosquitos.)By the time Lee put the steaks on the grill, it had clouded over and the mosquitos were starting to get really bad.It didn’t stop us enjoying the food, however.Here is Pat, Lee’s wife, who always makes the hospitality run so smoothly at these gatherings.The following morning I visited the lower property in the valley.  The few kilometres between the two places had been burned on both sides of the road.There are always a number of bears in the valley in the spring, but this was the only one I saw.  He was enjoying the new lush growth between the burned patches.