The spirit of the west still lives and my trip to Wyoming lived up to my lifelong dreams. How often does that happen…
The ranch was 300,00 acres and the landscape incredibly diverse. Some days we were shooting in a Painted Desert moonscape and others in high mountain passes filled with golden aspen trees. One of the moments I will always remember was moving 50 head of horses across Shell Creek from one pasture to another. The horses splashing through the water and the dust kicked up from the running horses and cattle combined with the shafts of sunlight were spectacular. We got to experience many facets of life on the ranch-from shoeing the horses to training sessions with young colts.
The wranglers all had different stories of how they came to be in Wyoming. One of the families running the ranch is originally from Belgium and having just been to Belgium this summer and seeing the city life there I was in awe of the courage it takes to make that kind of complete change in one’s life and lifestyle. The home they are building now had the most amazing view and a canyon in their front yard that was calling me to ride off into the sunset. I am sure everyone they know in Belgium is coming to visit and taking back the fabulous feeling of freedom that I took back to New York City with me.
Most of the wranglers had ridden and worked with animals all their lives. One woman came from Bolinas in Northern Ca. and was in college and planning to run a horseback camping travel company.The head wrangler was from Mexico and rode with amazing grace and power. It looked like the horse was an extension of his body. Another cowboy was from Idaho and had grown up on a dairy farm riding horses in his neighbors paddocks as a way to get to school. One from Texas was a former football player and the one of the women in the office had seen an advertisement for job in her home in Florida. One couple met in China doing mission work-she from New Zealand and he from Colorado-they met, then married and now live in Wyoming.
One of the best parts of the trip was meeting everyone and experiencing the rhythm of the life on a working ranch and watching the cooperation, camaraderie and teamwork necessary to run a ranch and the family feeling that develops.
I have traveled to many far off lands and will continue to do so but I have to say this was one of my favorite trips ever !