A fond memory
I am going thru a box of photos, slides actually, and as I go thru them I realize how fond my memories are of this area, this ranch and the good times we had while there. We are in Colorado here, just to the south of Grand Junction on what is known as the Colorado National Monument if you are ever traveling through that way. It is well worth a trip to drive the Monument loop, better yet take a little side trip to the Glade PArk Store and then head due west into the country that I remember so fondly.Thats where mom and I had a great cow camp for the winter, no electricity, spring water, wood stove and the quiet of a deep canyon to live in........
Title: Cow Camp KItchen
Photo & retouching by: Jeremiah Watt
We lived for the winter in a deep side canyon that ran some 20 miles down to the Colorado River which lay to the north of our little cow camp. When we awoke in the morning looking north out the kitchen window we could watch the rising sun paint the Book Cliff range thier red and orange hue, deep and long shadows formed by canyon walls held the sun at bay up and down the TZ canyon. The rich greens of Juniper and buffalo grass had to wait to burst inot thier seasonal glory, hidden by the imposing 600 foot walls of our canyon.
Ours was a new camp, added the first year that we worked for this ranch enterprise, it at one time had a huge haying operation down on the banks of the fast flowing Colorado river. The canyon floor was sandy soil, light and did not hold water well. It was never a strong hay producer so the management decided to let the desert reclaim what was once her's, and the hay meadows gave way quickly to cactus and the seasonal grasses of this part of the Colorado desert.
Title: TZ Canyon horses
Photo by: Jeremiah Watt
Our work through the winter involved buying new horses for the ranch, riding the new mounts and working on corrals. The horses are turned out in TZ for the winter, where they can rest and get ready for another long season in the desert. We rode nearly 20 new horses that winter, some where great and others were burro's as far as I was concerned, each had to make his way into somebodies string of horses come spring and we had to know what they were all about. So we rode some each,, headed into the canyon with them, watched Mule deer and Elk while we rode. There was a huge set of corrals built up at the headquarters that winter, and Colleen actually spent more time up there than I did. When I wasn't riding, I build saddles and bits. I had a tiny shop in a seperate building, with a much needed wood stove, and a coal oil lamp. My little shop sat in the shade of the canyon wall to my east, so it stayed cool for quite awhile. I used coal oil lamps for light, and I can't say that I am attached to working by lamps, that part of the romance is gone for sure.
Title: Feeding in TZ
Photo by: Jeremiah Watt
This part of Colorado had sheep men roaming through here years before we had arrived there, the remains of there time were still visible. Up higher on the mountains we would search over the trunks of the Aspen for the oldest date carved into it's bark by a wandering sheperd, later that carving turned into a black scar, an epitaph of someones coming and going. The oldest we found was 1903. Down here closer to the river where our camp was, there are no Aspen, what we had to show for the sheperds passing where old buildings, shacks where winters were spent, and fences to hold livestock.
Title: Rustic Fences
Photo & retouch by: Jeremiah Watt
Yes, this dusty box of pictures eminds me of some great times, and what beautiful places I have had a chance to live in. I can remember riding, and being miles from that wandering silvery line that we knew was I-70, and we could see tiny silverspecks of cars passing by.........we just knew that most folks ould be complaining about the darned heat, or no Mall etc..........and all the while they were driving right past one of the most magnificent canyon land sights in USA!