Friday, June 17, 2011

Almost there...

You haven't lived until you've trailed sheep. For reals.

The anticipation absolutely sucks, but the reward when the sheep get to their destination is like no other. The camaraderie is amazing because it takes every.single.person to get it done successfully. 

Last Sunday was the last leg of the big trip and it started early. We were up and at 'em at 5:30 am and met where the sheep were taken the night before. After a quick, "Good Morning," I continued on to my destination which was the intersection on the main highway. It was a chilly morning and I found myself doing jumping jacks to stay warm.

I waited there for about 20 minutes in the middle of the street with my flag. When I heard the baa-ing I knew it was "go" time. The sheep came around the corner, I started waving my flag and stopped the first car. Thankfully, the car wasn't in a rush to get anywhere and wasn't pissed that she was stuck behind sheep. You see, some people will get super angry and annoyed and others will say things like, "Oh, neat!" or "Wow, that is a lot of sheep. How fun!"

The sheep were only on the highway for about 30 minutes until they got on the county road.

Once they got on the county road it was a piece of cake from there.

We trailed about 2 hours and hit our first rest stop. Pop and J arrange our stops beforehand since some people may not be up for a visit from the sheep.

The people that owned this lot didn't mind one bit and they want us back next year!

2.5 hours later we hit our lunch spot.

We wanted to take advantage of the feed there and give the sheep, our herders, J, Pop, Gell and myself a break so we stayed here for about 4 hours.

After that long break, we were on our way again!

See Pop's truck and sheep camp up front? He was front flagging in the car and I was trailing behind the sheep. I've learned it's best to front flag because in the back you see everything! Every time a sheep or lamb would go off trail my heart would start pounding. On top of that, any stragglers get put in the back car (my car) to be taken back to the ranch.

From now on, I want to front flag (walking) like I have in the past.

It's so fun to see all the families that make an event out of it. We had families with their lawn chairs, in their robes and some that came out to shake hands with our herders. These kids were pretty excited. 

These llamas were pretty excited too!
It never fails that animals along the way walk up to their fences to see what is going on.

People tend to try and help along the way. This guy was "helping" on his 4-wheeler keeping sheep on the trail using a rag.

The view along the way is always so beautiful. This house is just gorgeous, don't you think?

Once the sheep got to where they would stay for three nights I was able to breath again. All of the sheep (except the one mama and three babies we had to take back to the ranch) made it safely.

Thank goodness!

Here they are at their last stop for the next three days!

We took two guard dogs, Embre and Gringo up to the high country later that evening since there are bear and coyotes up in the high country. The dogs will help ward off predators.
"Take me to my sheep!"
There you have it, the sheep are up in the high country and they are happy, safe and have GREAT feed.

Funny story...

Once we got to the location above a man drove by and told us there was a bear wandering in a nearby field. I decided to try and find the bear, in my car, of course.
Smart, I know.

I snapped this picture thinking I found it!

Turns out that was a tree stump. :(
Huge FAIL on my part.

As timing would have it, just when I get this post published it's time to move again! J did a move yesterday and there is another move on Sunday. Now it's just a matter of getting them up in the mountains. We spread these moves out and stop along the way when the feed is good and if the people along the way are up for a visit from the sheep. This year is a good year for feed and the landowners up the way don't mind the sheep, so we are taking advantage of that. :)

Happy trails and wooly white tails!


Colette said...

I love your pictures and hearing about the adventure! Gringo may be my new favorite of your dogs :) And I would LOVE to spend some time at that gorgeous house you took a picture of -- what an inspiring place!

texwisgirl said...

wow, what a life! i think its neat that some things remain almost exactly the same as in the old times (except for trucks and ATVs of course). but the concept remains the same. your sheep look like they have a great life!

Farmchick said...

Really a great post. I had no idea that you moved them so far.

Katie @Pinke Post said...

This is a fantastic blog post. I love it. The second photo is stunning with the field of sheep. In the house photo...yes it is beautiful. I've always wanted a log house. And HILARIOUS you thought you found the bear! Loving all the sheep updates! enjoy your weekend.

Rachel said...

I love this!
Reminds me of home, and all the many miles we trailed our sheep, as I was growing up. :)

myblackfriendsays said...

that _does_ actually look like fun (:

Anna said...

AWESOME!!!!! So exciting! I would love to participate in something like this, what an amazing experience!