3 Round-ups ?

3 Round-ups

Livestock retrieval?  Bringin’ in the cows ?

Well, one cow.  Whatever …

This past weekend I went on a road-bike ride.  Parked the car at the intersection of Kannah and Purdy Mesa Roads.  I hadn’t been on a ride in that area for a while and intended to do a short loop – go up Kannah, switchback up Purdy Mesa, then back down to the car.  I had barely gone a mile and was passing another ranch to my left.  Kannah Creek Road hugs the right edge of the valley, with the irrigated bottom-properties to my left, and Kannah Creek pretty much at the toe of the slope on the other side.  It was (and is) calving season, and I get a kick of seeing the cows with their newborns.  A man was bringing hay to the cows in the fenced-in field.  As I passed, I saw him get off the tractor to round-up a couple cattle outside of the fenced-in area, but still within his property’s gate.  I continued up the road, enjoying the mother-offspring pairs in the field.  About a quarter-mile further I startled a little brown calf out on the road along the fence.  I debated about continuing to ride, but within a half-minute decided to go back to inform the rancher of this.  As I turned, the calf started running away – fortunately back towards the ranch gate.  I rode just fast/slow enough to continue chasing it, hoping it would turn into the ranch-gate.  It did.  The rancher looked up, gave me a wave of appreciation, opened the gate, and presumably a mother-child re-union ensued shortly thereafter.


A few years ago I was up above the location mentioned previously, riding my mountain-bike up the dirt-&-gravel Land’s End Road.  I passed an open flat area where people frequently set up camp – usually hunters (must have been the autumnal season).  I saw a few people out among their tents and trailers, and it appeared they were looking for something.  They weren’t looking at the ground, but scanning about, so it probably wasn’t a lost wallet.

A couple switch-backs later I’m feeling my usual borderline fatigue, eyes focused on the ground just ahead.  The road surface (hardly dusty due to recent-rain-congealed soil) was pretty optimal for maintaining and showing tracks — of vehicles, the occasional deer crossing the road, and horse hoof-prints with a snake-like line between the hoof-prints.  I put the proverbial two-&-two together, and deduced that a run-away horse had just been walking/trotting up the road, with the tether-rope dragging behind – as there were no vehicle marks more recent.  A turn or so later I saw the horse ahead, and somewhat surprisingly, did not startle him/her as I passed.  I got about 20 yards ahead, laid down the bike, and, again, was lucky that I was able to approach the horse without spooking it.  I grabbed the tether-rope and was able to lead it … where?  I was briefly overwhelmed by considerations as to how to go back down to the camp with the horse.  Abandon (hide) the bike?  Nah, I found a nearby wide spot on the road and securely tied the rope to a tree, but off the main roadway.

I then pedaled (coasted, actually) the half-mile or so down to the level meadow-y area and approached who seemed to be the “main man” of this temporary village.  In retrospect, I was just a little dismayed that he didn’t show even a semblance of appreciation – that this dirty sweat-soaked mountain-biker (of all incomprehensible personages, I suppose) would tell him that his horse had been (1) found, (2) tied-up, and (3) safe, about ½ mile up the road.


The year was either 1966 or ’67.  I was in high school, and, of course, living with the family in our house in Evergreen.  My mother’s sister, Babs, had come out from Florida to visit and stay with us for a week.  When it came time for her to leave, I was asked to drive Mom and Babs to the Denver airport.  Mom was going to reciprocate Babs’ visit and stay in Florida for the following week.  Evergreen is in the mountains not far from the big city and the airport was on the other side of Denver.

We went in my car.  The car was given to me by my grandfather, a 1956 Buick Century (special?) – it would be quite the classic collector’s item today.   I drove as safely and prudently as I could.  (Well, what do you expect? — my mother and my aunt.  Not my usual thrill-seeking moronic teenaged passengers).  I dropped both of them off at Stapleton (this was, as you might have surmised, many years before DIA).  Driving back home the 40+ miles, mostly along somewhat ‘back roads’ (this was a few years before the Interstates, and C-470) I felt … PARANOID.  I don’t think that werd (‘pear-annoyed’) was a commonly utilized vernacular back then … didn’t our present society become more-&-more paranoid during the psychedelic/marijuana-smoking era of the 1970’s?

Maybe this feeling was enhanced by the 6-pack of 3.2% Coors beer I had hidden in the car before the drive down.  Having seen Auntie Babs and my mom safely (?) off at the entrance to the airport, I opened the first can of beer to drive home.  Yeah, it had to have been in the summer, and it was hot, and I was thirsty.  I skirted what I (at that time) perceived to be the “main roads” so I could motor along noisily (& drinkingly) in my V-8 muscle car on more remote roads.

I gradually drove my circum(ad)venturous route around the north, and then west edge of the Denver metro area, until I could finally go up U.S. Hwy 40 towards home.  The paranoid feeling didn’t diminish at all – I wasn’t really doing anything wrong, nor driving too fast, and halted for most stop signs, but I continually worried that the police would stop me.

Back then the ‘shortcut-road’ to get to U.S. 40 to go up the mountains was an ill-advertised  gravel road between U.S. Hwy 6 to the US40 frontage road.  I knew that shortcut well.  Turning off from US6 onto the gravel road, I felt that I was finally free from whatever ghost or demon or unbenign spirit which had been haunting me.  I sped around a corner and had to stop in a hurry as there were four or so law-enforcement vehicles blocking the road!  I could hardly believe that the police had arranged such a large-scale ambush for me!  All the cars’ lights were flashing, and a couple policemen hurried over to my car.

“Could you park your car there?” one asked, pointing to a space between two of their vehicles.  I was, of course, stunned but quickly learned that a couple dozen horses had gotten out of a pasture further down the road – and were being herded towards us.  Our cars pretty much blocked the road between the fences on either side, and there was an open gate a few yards away.  I was asked/instructed to stand in an open space between two of the cars, and wave my arms to prevent any errant equines from slipping through.  A couple minutes later the herd came thundering toward us, followed by some cowboys on their horses.  As planned (and hoped-for) the runaways went through the gate, which was quickly closed, and our job was done.

One of the cops shook my hand and thanked me for being so quickly and surprisingly drafted for my involuntary public service.  Turned out to be an interesting and, sort of, fun day.



Betty & I (& dawgz.  ‘n  bikes) drove up Land’s End Road middull of last week.  Our somewhat over-due autumnal fall-colours “Color Sunday” sojourn.  Colorful, none-the-less. All photos by Betty!  None are “enhanced”! Amazing thing is, to get to the … Continue reading

72-Hours of Extreme Trauma, and the $400 bottle of tequila

  Below, me and an acquaintance, before my 72-hour mind-melting ordeal ~ I’ve recently experienced (endured) the most traumatic 72-hour span of time I can right off-hand remember.  Granted, my me(s)mory ain’t what it used to be, in fact, it might … Continue reading

awn tawppuv the whirled @ LAND’S END WHACKAROONY

A nite or two ago, out peeeng in the yarrd, cigar in the other hand, the warm nite breeze stirring what’s left of my ever-diminishing hair, clothes scattered somewhere in the house, dogs snuffling about in the bushez nearby, i … Continue reading


Above:  “the Mesa” last winter.  For my two or three (ir)regular readers, it’s pretty much THE VIEW from our house to the east.  In later September, ‘fall’  was hitting the high country at full peak, so …

d dool forest

Betty decided that a trip up dere wuzz a good idea, to ride our bikes, get the dawgz out, and take lotsa photos.   B ‘n “Doolie” on the Mesa-Top Trail.

We drove up Land’s End Road which is not the way to get up there for anyone in a hurry.  The Road is ‘serpentine’ — winding, switchbacking, gravel with a good crop of washboards a lot of the time.  The upper five or so miles it’s barely wider than a vehicle, so special caution is recommended there.  However, today, we stopped frequently to try to capture the changing of the seasons, and the few other people we encountered were of similar dispostion.

view towards top

We  slowly gained in altitude.  Above, we approach being level with the Mesa rim.  The Grand Mesa is often called “the world’s largest flat-topped mountain.”  Could be true.  Geologists say that umpteen (25?) million years ago, there was a volcano 15,000-some feet higher than the present 10,000-foot plateau.  A combination of the volcano blowing up and an outpouring of lava down to the valley floor resulted in the somewhat impermeable difficult-to-erode basaltic layer comprising the Mesa top today.

Looking down at what we’ve just driven up.  The Mesa top is over 5,000 feet higher than the Grand Valley floor, our house included.  What isn’t characteristic in this photo is the HAZE.  Usually things are a lot clearer.  There was a big forest fire up north in Wyoming, and the winds ‘n breezes must have been prevailingly nor’easters.  So, we were afflicted with a much-more-so-than usual diminishment of clarity.

However, we discovered that the haze also diminished as we gained in altitude.  The sky became clearer, blue skies, long as we didn’t look down the mountain.  Still, you can tell that off the foot of the mountain the landscape is the ‘high desert’ of west Colorado.  Also — if not for the haze, we would be able to see the LaSal Mountains just east of Moab — about 100 miles to the west.

Not all the aspens change at the same time.  Generally, however, this is a function of altitude, and the higher we went, the larger percentage of trees had experienced “the change.”  There was more red than we expected.  I hope that is reflected in later photos.

I’ve backtracked in sequence a little.  More haze, a couple thousand feet in elevation down from the top.

We are on top, the top of the world, looking south at the Flowing Park / Indian Point arm of the Mesa.

Above, is the view adjoining the previous.  Dropping off into the haze, down to the desert.  You might be able to recognize that a pine tree (fir, I think) towards the left in the far foreground (in front of the golden wall of aspens) is also pictured in the previous shot, towards the right.

I jump out of and back in sequence — this is perhaps 1,000′ or less in climb to go, with another darned section of washboards in the road.

Dually hangs close to Betty.  The other two dawgz were (as usual) off harassing small creatures and/or looking for mud bogs to roll in.

I don’t know about you, but the zenith of the Autumnal Peak practically is shouting here.  And I didn’t notice the contrail ’til later.

A few more colors in the palette used here — reddish, orange, yellow, green, the grey of the brief pavement section in this section of the Mesa.

Note (and memorize) the profile of the distant hazy ridge.  You should recognize it again, further away, in the next photo.

Yes, we’ve stepped back from the previous view.

Back home, this bizarre fellow was clinging to our door.  Stick-bugs might be abundant where you live, but for us, this is a more-rare sight than the more-common praying (preying?) mantises out our way.

On the other side of the door … we also recently lost (so we fear, it’s been several days now since we last saw him) the H P A (one of Walter’s other nick-names, the “Humongus Pongus Among us”).  He was our favorite.

A typical vista for the day — just a bit down from the Mesa rim — with the trees framing the typical basalt cliff-face which, in turn, frames the Mesa top.  The exposed cliff-rock is the edge of the foundation, as it were, of what makes the Grand Mesa what it is.