There are many beautiful places in the Big Horn Mountains, but my favorite is the south end. This view looks northwest, and the peaks in the background are beautiful, but the broad shoulders and high mountain plateaus with open prairie stretch before us in a grandeur that is only found in the south mountain range.
A few Angus cattle graze below and what a pasture they enjoy! In the early 1900’s more sheep than cattle could be found here and now it is a mixture of both. This is private land, not national forest. The ranchers that have grazed their livestock over the past 100 years have, for the most part, been good stewards. Earlier homesteads in the late 1800’s gradually evolved into larger parcels to provide a livelihood.
As dusk approaches the light changes from golden to a muted color. Rugged country, it seems empty to some who feel the need to be surrounded by settlement or ranch houses.
An old camp tender’s cabin is flanked by a more modern version, a camper trailer. Star filled skies here are quiet except for an occasional coyote.
Once the predominant herds on the mountains, sheep are now far fewer in number, replaced by cattle.
That old refrain, “where the skies are not cloudy all day” could not have been about Wyoming. The clear blue skies are usually a combination of impressionistic cloud formations that can lure the observer into daydreaming.
A more primitive living quarters for the camp tender. This old sheep wagon has seen better days but serves as a reminder of what life was like before the more modern mobile home or camper trailer arrived on the scene.
Many parts of the Big Horns are heavily covered with sage, which is where these sage grouse call home. Wyoming has the greatest population of these birds of any state, and we go to great lengths to preserve them.
Steep slopes and rugged terrain dictate the terms of transportation. The horse is still seen as a vital partner in the gathering of sheep and cattle on the mountain.
The drive down the face of the Big Horns on the Slip Road affords a view of the red wall country and a stop for a cold beer, seated on a flat rock we favor. The view differs from season to season and due to changes in the weather but is always magnificent. The grandeur of the open west never ceases to fill me with wonder. I hope it stays that way.