Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sink Valley

We have some good friends who own a ranch up in the mountains about 30 minutes from us. It's called Sink Valley, I think because the water table was so high that there were lots of sink holes. I think.

Anyway, it's a really beautiful place, 5400 acres of pasture and timber and cows and pink cliffs. Marty took some days off this week to spend some time with the kids before they went back to school. We went to Sink Valley to get a load of firewood and have a picnic and let the kids ride through the ranch in the bed of the pickup.

Of course I took my camera, that's entertainment enough for me. It truly is a breathtaking place - a high desert forested haven - remote and unspoiled, with wildflowers, ponderosa pines and sage.

We drove across the ranch to a place called Thompson where there is an old, old cabin. Our friends have partially restored it with a new tin roof and some other improvements. It sits in a beautiful meadow with a little stream running through it.

Of course I had to take a quick portrait of Brynn in the shade of the cabin. (She's wanting to grow out her bangs again - much to my dismay - I hate this stage where they're too short to pull back and too long to leave down.)

The cabin is surrounded by a grove of aspen trees. In some of them are carved the names of the cowboys who've ranched this country over the years.

I had to take a photo of this one -

Garn Blackburn and Earl Sorensen - two legendary cowboys around these parts. Earl owned this ranch and passed it on to his son, who owns it now. Earl was a great roper and at his funeral they told stories of his roping exploits. He roped deer, jack rabbits by the ears and even a mountain lion once. Garn and Earl were some of the last of a dying breed and it was cool to see their signatures in the trees of this private little valley.

We parked in the shade of the aspens and had our picnic lunch. It was a special treat to have Pringles and Oreos with our tuna sandwiches.

On our way back, I snapped a few shots of the fantastic pink cliffs as they poked out from between the pines. Amazing!

Apparently, in this part of the country, when the farmers plow a field and plant new crops, they also end up with a bumper crop of these little yellow sunflower type deals. They only come up for one year and then the new grass crop takes over. Pretty, though.

There were also these sweet white wild flowers everywhere.

I wish I had a true macro lens, but I dont. Rats. So I had to make due. Even without a really sharp macro, this was my favorite shot of the day. Farmers and ranchers hate thistle, but I thought it was really pretty. Love that bokeh!

By the end of the day, we had a truck full of red cedar and oak and I had 361 photos. Enough for several blog posts at least.

Next time, the old house they ordered from a Sears catalog that still stands at the ranch.