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10/22/18 You will see a name change on the blog. Lots of things have changed in my life in the past few years, and I feel compelled to share my story.
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunday Stills ~ Fall Foliage (Into McCoy Creek Canyon)

~I feel rooted to the earth like an old oak tree 
and no one can move me.~
~Nancy Park 1897~

I've missed the past couple of Sunday Stills photo challenges...but I'm hopefully back on track again!!

This week's challenge is Fall Foliage...and I actually got something other than dry grass and a sunset like last year!!  The past couple of weeks has been lots of saddle time on Colt gathering and moving cow/calf pairs. Friday, Dan asked if I wanted to help him search for some of his missing pairs by "going down into the canyon." Well of course!!! I wasn't sure how bad it might be, but if he goes in, it couldn't be that bad.

The day was gorgeous (the calm before the storm), and the Quaking Aspen trees added the perfect touch...colors galore (well...this is about as good as it gets for our high desert)!

Steens Mountain, SE Oregon
The view of Steens Mountain on the plateau above the canyon.The mountain is 9,733 feet high. I don't know what elevation we were at, but it's probably at least 7,000...we were a ways up there.

After a half hour drive up to Moon Hill, we got the horses out and started riding east. There's been 2+ inches of rain in the past couple of weeks up there, and all the grass looks like new spring growth. Lots of feed for the cows and it's not very cold...that's why they aren't too interested in coming home yet.

Following cow trails with fairly fresh cow tracks, we came to this gorgeous plateau with a spectacular view of Steens Mountain. It was still very early and the sun was not in the right position, but I knew I wouldn't be back that way, so I shot what I could. The immense expanse of open land is awe inspiring.

Across the Plateau
Lookin' south across the plateau.

Gunsight on Steens Mountain
Zooming in on "Gun Sight" the notch on Steens Mountain. The huge gorge you see is Kiger Gorge; one of three gorges that make up the interesting geographical shape to Steens.

We didn't find any cows, but they're up there somewhere. Dan will go back for them another day. Our goal for the day was to ride into the canyon and see what we could find.

Lookin' into McCoy Creek Canyon
Lookin' down into McCoy Creek Canyon.

The bottom is somewhere down there! As we rode further down, I asked if those were cows or stumps on the other side of the canyon...yep...cows. That meant riding to the bottom of the canyon and half way up the other side to push them to the bottom...hard riding on a horse, but they've got to be gathered.

Juniper, Aspen & Sagebrush
Part way down the canyon lookin' up.

Going a lil' but further we took a cow trail to a fence line toward the south...no tracks...that's good. But the Quaking Aspen trees were calling to me!! I wanted to tie my horse up and spend an hour or so just taking pics and listening to the trees...its was soooooooo perfect. But, there was a job at hand...

The rest of the trip into the bottom and back out was busy. We had to dismount for a lil' bit to get through some trees. But just as we hit McCoy Creek, we find a cow...and another...further up the creek we find a few more. Eleven cows and about 9 calves (two of the cows were dry). I took this lil' herd up out of the canyon on another trail while Dan went down stream to search for more.

Trailin' 'um off Moon Hill
The lil' renegade herd of cows with their calves up out of the canyon.

Dan and I met up hours later. I had got the herd back to the two track road and heading down hill, put Colt into the horse trailer and drove behind the herd (had to get Colt out a couple of times to get them back on track) to the meeting place. Dan never did find any others...it was a really hard ride and his horse was exhausted. By the time we got these down to the Ruby Springs pasture, it was dark. The full moon helped!

Hey...can't say I didn't try hard to get some color shots. Maybe next year I could take pics when I'm not on my horse (yes, all of these were taken horseback...as usual!)!

Thanks for ridin' along~

Check out lots more colorful fall shots on Sunday Stills...go to the comments to find the links.


Linda said...

I'm envious of your week! I love the color in that second photo, it's awesome.

Jeni said...

... I've said it before.. but yanno city folk pay good money to be cattle drivers... LOL

Pictures are terrific, I love seeing your world through your view finder!

Janice said...

Wow Karen beautiful shots and the story was pretty good too.

Crystal said...

Wow that second one with the trees on that side hill is georgeous!
Looks like a fun but long day out in some pretty nice country.

Reddunappy said...

Beautiful rugged country!
Hard work too! Bet it keeps Colt in good shape! and you too, LOL

5 Starr's Farm said...

How fun !............Beautiful pictures I always enjoy them.

DarcC said...

Great narrative and I'm sure no pictures could do complete justice to that vista! Good shots, they make me long to see it in person.

Mikey said...

Such gorgeous country! I want to be there so bad! But then I remember.. it snows soon.
Beautiful though, just absolutely beautiful!

Anonymous said...

LOVE your blog! Beautiful pictures of beautiful country. Whoa.

Shirley said...

Abs'tootly beautiful country! A great way to get Sunday Stills shots- I'm jealous!

CCC said...

Such pretty country

Ed said...

Too cool! dare I say majestic scenery and what an adventure, great post and pics..:-)

Susan said...

I imagine the storm that is here right now has hit you too. So much for the beautiful fall weather. Sigh.

Cheyenne said...

Thats some country!!!!!! Hell, I am in awe. There are often superlatives bandied about, but looking at the photos, and reading the narrative, I am pleased that good folk like yourselves have care of that land!

Anonymous said...

very nice :)

Oregon Equestrian said...

Great photos of Steens country!

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