The Last Ride of the Year

I have a love-hate relationship with fall, though this fall there has definately been more love in our relationship than ever before. Montana is not known for a long, leisurely falls. Last year, fall lasted for exactly 48 hours. The aspen leaves had just began to show a tinge of yellow and then WHAM!, a foot of snow and freezing temperatures. And just like the leaves that turned black overnight, so did my hopes of getting our engagement photos done among the fall colors. This year, on the other hand, has been literally picture perfect. Sunny and warm, the countdown to winter began this past week, as the weather forecast came in… Winter storming warning for Park County, extending from Monday to Tuesday evening… Ignoring the mountain of laundry that had been calling my name all week, I donned my jeans and boots and set out to enjoy my last ride of the year.

The snow was lower on the Crazies than it had been it months. As Cowboy and I saddled our horses, I could not help but notice that the air tasted different on my tongue, a mixture of Earth and something I can only describe as pure. It’s like the scent after a thunderstorm, that obscenely clean and pure sensation. Mix that with the smell of horse and you have a scent that is not only addicting but liberating. 

Off we rode, towards a bunch of cows that had come off the mountain and down into the hay fields. Good to be out? Cowboy asked as he looked back at me with a little grin. I nodded, too happy and relaxed to answer.
Once they saw us coming, those cows turned and headed back towards where they belonged. Cows are funny. The older cows know the routine as well as we do. Stay as high as possible, as long as the grass stays good.  Cowboy and I rode side by side, watching as the dogs kept the stragglers moving.

To be continued

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