Monday, May 2, 2011

Summer In The Light - Winter In The Shade.

 Our neighbor's new little foal is now a few days old.
He is tall and thin and healthy and spunky and his mother follows him everywhere.
He is still working to gain control of his long and gangly legs but is figuring it out a little more each day.
It is much fun to watch him wander in the field and, as with all new babies of all species, it is also much fun to watch his first encounters with......everything.
Everything is new.  Everything is a first.
Watching him takes me back to my first child so many years ago.  
Watching my new son discover the world was like rediscovering the world again for myself............

Yesterday we had a first hand opportunity to see how the "other half" lives.
With only a couple of sunny days scheduled for the next few days my Mountain Boy and I were determined to make the most of it and we decided to take a drive out to the South Fork.
A beautiful area that gets even more beautiful the further you travel from Cody.
The South Fork is a community of homes and ranches surrounded by towering and snow-covered mountains.
There are no stores or gas stations or town buildings or any other signs of civilization.
Only homes close to town and increasingly large ranches the further from Cody you travel.
Eventually the South Fork ends at a national forest and river that was dry the one and only time that we have driven the entire way.
Chris our neighbor was also in the mood for a drive and asked us if we would like to go out to see the ranch that she used to work for when she worked as a cook.  
It sounded like great fun so of course we said yes............

After driving out of town (and passing multiple homes and small ranches) we eventually found ourselves on quiet paved highway, with increasingly high mountains and cattle and horse ranches that continued to get more beautiful and much larger with each passing mile.
There was money out this way.  Lots and lots of money.
About 30 miles from Cody we pulled off the main highway and traveled for a couple of miles along dirt and gravel road, passing large herds of both black tail deer and antelope.
With Chris' direction we eventually drove into the driveway of a beautiful piece of property.
This was not where our neighbor had worked but she had friends here that she wanted to visit.
Large wide open fields in front.  High snow covered mountains in every direction.  Green(ish) lawn.  Lots of trees still without their leaves.  A creek running behind the house, with a small bridge leading directly to a gate that led to another open field.
Somebody was very very lucky to be living in such an extraordinary place.
We met the people who lived on the property.
They were the caretakers and have lived there for over 20 years.
The people who actually own the property visit for a couple of weeks each summer.  
Aside from that the caretakers have the entire spread to themselves.
I smiled as they told me this and wondered how on earth people get these kinds of gigs.
The 160 acre property is currently on the market for $8 million.........
 These pictures were taken from the front yard near the parking area...........
 The main house and the caretakers' home.
There were small rustic buildings throughout the property (some were tack buildings but many were cabins for family members of the owners who visited only infrequently).............
 I wandered around the front yard for quite a while taking pictures and taking in the view, while our neighbor and LC made conversation with the caretakers.
I loved this place.
It was like a different world.
So quiet.  So isolated.  So incredibly beautiful..........
 A chuck wagon close to the entrance to the driveway...........
 I had made initial pleasantries when I first arrived at the ranch but had no desire to work hard at making polite conversation even with seemingly nice people.
I don't have the energy to do that.
LC and our neighbor happily talked and visited with the caretakers for a long time while I was content to walk and look and enjoy and take pictures.
This path was right next to the parking area.
I had taken many pictures from the front yard and LC joined me down this path when I began to casually wander down that way.
There were four or five small and rustic wooden cabins at the end of the path..........
 The beautiful creek behind the house............
 When I was living in Juneau I wrote on this blog that it was so beautiful I would sometimes just snap a picture, move my camera slightly to the left and take another picture, move my camera slightly to the left again and take one more picture.
That everything in front of me was like a postcard.
I have felt that way while driving up towards Yellowstone.
And felt that way again while exploring this beautiful piece of property..............
 A tack house behind the house and on the other side of the creek............
LC and I continued through the gate and walked down a long dirt path to a field where the caretakers grow hay...........
 One of three or four very very sweet horses on the property..........
 There are many grizzlies in this part of Wyoming.
Both the caretakers at this ranch and other employees of a second ranch we visited yesterday told of close encounters with bears in the area.
Nobody (as in nobody) walks anywhere in this area without carrying both bear spray and a firearm..........
 All of the horses we met yesterday were sweet, even tempered, good natured and friendly animals.
A testament to both the owners and the place.........
 After walking through one more closed gate we arrived at this wide open field surrounded by mountains.
The pictures I am taking are not picking up all of the green that is finally appearing in the landscape of Wyoming.
The greens are still too subtle.
But after the shocking-to-me monochromatic beige of six weeks ago the change is astonishing.
It is changing daily.
It is beautiful right now but is getting more beautiful by the day..........
 We live four miles outside of town and I thought that it was quiet there.
But this place was absolutely silent.
Both physically and metaphorically.
LC and I stood in the middle of this wonderful and beautiful field and hand-in-hand quietly talked.
It was wistful talk about what we have and don't have compared to $8 million 160 acre ranches.  
Wouldn't it be nice if.........
Of course it would be nice if.   
But starting a new life again takes time.
It would be nice if.  
But it would be nicer still if we didn't have to start a new life ever again..........
After spending a long time at this place we loaded back into the truck and drove down to the adjoining horse ranch.
I thought that the first one was large but it was nothing compared to the second one we visited.
Multiple large buildings and cabins for employees.
Eighteen full time ranch hands, an employee cook, landscapers, a private chef for the owners.
Very large homes complete with bowling alleys and movie theaters. 
A huge and well stocked private pond.
A large hill between two homes - constructed to obscure the red roof of one home from the sight of the owners of the other home.  
Apparently the wife did not like red roofs.
We were told not to take any pictures so did not take any pictures.
More money than God.
A very nice place.
But I liked the first place much better........

One last picture taken from the front yard of the first fancy-ranch that we visited...........
These pictures were taken from the front porch of our house late yesterday afternoon.
It was a beautiful day yesterday.
Mostly sunny, but sometimes cloudy, and for just a few minutes late in the day it snowed.
Such is life in Spring at almost 5100 feet
Such is life in Wyoming...........
It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:  when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade............Charles Dickens

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