Friday, September 4, 2009
Time for the Cows to Go Home
Every spring the cattle arrive. Brought in large cattle trailers behind semi-tractors they get dropped off at lower gates of properties owned by ranchers and National Forest leases. They roam up the mountain grazing as they go until they reach the high meadows to spend the summer. One of the first signs of fall are the same cattle moving down the mountain to their pick up points.
Yesterday as my sister, her husband and I drove the national forest roads along the mountain ridge cows, this year's calves, and fattening steers like the one above were on the road or beside it working their way down.
Early frosts had touched the forest flower and turned once green leaves to orange and gold; their color replacing the wildflowers of just a couple weeks ago.
And in the trees vines were suddenly visible with their fall dress of red and orange.
We wound our way to the top of the mountain to meadows where just recently cattle and elk had grazed to find them empty and the tall grass turned to gold.
Rain was moving toward us in mountain valleys below shrouding the hills in mist. It was a beautiful early fall day, but sad because it was clear summer was again gone from these peaks. And in not too long there will be snow.