Wyoming - The First Cattle

Living only a few blocks from the North Platte River, I often think about how important it once was. Not that it is unimportant today, supporting wildlife and providing power along with, much needed the past few days, irrigation water down stream and providing recreation for tens of thousands of people year round.
North Platte River in the Red Cliffs area a mile north of Guernsey, Wyoming

What I am talking about is how important, as a boundary, it once was.  When cattle were first brought into southeast Wyoming, all lands north of the river were Indian lands. Wandering, and often hostile bands of native warriors made sure the land would not be used for cattle grazing.
The first cattle in the northern part of the state were brought in by Nelson Story in 1866, who bought more than a thousand cattle in Texas for ten dollars a head and drove them to Wyoming. After reaching Fort Laramie, he took the herd up the Bozeman Trail to Fort Phil Kearny. Because of Indian problems in the area he was ordered to hold the cattle at the fort until something could be worked out. After a three week wait, Story became impatient and drove the cattle from the fort at night. The herd was soon located and drove off in all directions by area tribes, and in the days it took to round up the cattle more than 30 Indians were killed.
These Longhorns of today are a bit, okay, a lot, bigger than the 1866 version

Nelson Story went on to establish himself, and the cattle ranching business, near Bozeman, Montana, where he became both rich and influential.

Today more than one and a quarter million cattle can be found in Wyoming, and more than two and a half million in Montana. Guess story knew what he was doing. 

We took some friends from Texas out to the Ruts yesterday - always fun!

Hot Weather - The Rendezvous & Sitting in the Shade

What About this Heat?
It has ben hot the last couple of weeks. So hot that grass is turning brown fast, tough for ranchers and for city people who like a beautiful green lawn. Wyoming’s all-time record high was 115 degrees set in Basin in August of 1983. We have been over 100 but thankfully quite a few degrees from 115. Reminds me of the old Wyoming joke about the heat – “I watched a Coyote chasing a Jack Rabbit and it was so hot they were both walking.”

During these hot days of July, nothing beat sitting around in the shade, swapping stories, and in the case of many trappers, drinking, and overeating. Rendezvous took place this time of the year, July, a time when trappers really had nothing to do. Must have been quite a site, these Rendezvous, with boisterous talking, games, races, music, and dancing.  Trappers from big companies were joined by free trappers and Native Indians and salesmen with trade goods. The trade goods often include not only trapping supplies, but women for hire, and large quantities of bad whiskey. A few trappers brought in their wives and sometimes children. Some of the later rendezvous included tourists, newsmen, and artists, leaving behind a rich history. A history that is often fiction, as much as fact, interesting and colorful times they were indeed.

Enjoy the heat and remember it brings on, great gardens, baseball, barbecues and many other great summer activities.

Now I think I will go outside sit in the shade and read a good book.

Speaking of good books if you would like a bit of Wyoming fiction, you can see all my books here. Thanks for looking, all available in softcover or eBook.