Cantering on Toughie Was The Day’s Highlight

Today was a day of exploring and of course, riding, at the SK Ranch in Montana. We headed out over the soft hills on our steeds to round up some cattle that needed a drink. “Cattle are too lazy to walk to the water, they would rather stand in a corner and wish there was water than move,” explained Steve. So we hustled the Angus over to a far corner where a cool drink awaited. I bounded up a hill on Toughie, and broke into a trot, then a full on canter, loping along and loving the excitement. I wasn’t sure if Toughie knew that I had never gone this fast but boy it was fun!

After our ride we took a long drive to see the Teton River and the majestic peaks in the Lewis and Clark National Forest. The fires are still on everyone’s minds and the policy of not putting the blazes out irritated some of the locals. “They’ve got spotters who can detect a tiny puff of smoke, so why didn’t they do anything about it back in early July when it was small?” asked one man I met. Outside a faint rain fell, weak droplets, and for a moment we felt some relief, but it was gone soon after.

Tensions are a little high here as the blazes are reaching residential areas and the draught is now about to qualify this county as a disaster area. It’s been a fifteen-year draught cycle, said Steve. “My kids have never known a time when we were not in a draught,” he said, “nor have we ever been able to have a bumper crop…that gets tough after a while.”

We met a mentor of Steve’s who owns the Deep Creek Ranch lodge, where we got a tour and watched hummingbirds battling it out on the feeders beside the windows. A cold beer made us feel right at home as the owners showed us around their rustic and comfy lodge. Tomorrow we take a very long ride…it’ll be sad to say goodbye to Montana.