My shadow is getting long it is time for me to saddle up. Walking thru the pine trees I find the horses I was in for a bit of a ride tonight so I went for Reno a nice bay that can run with the best of them if needed. Leading him back to the hitching post I put on a feed bag and begin to curry him. After checking his shoes I saddle him up. I put a little more oats in a bag and rolled up and tied it to the saddle.
Off I traveled to the east should be able to drop out of the mountains right at dark if everything works out right. The mountains themselves gave me some time to smoke a few cigarettes before I had to really try to stay undetected. The clouds in the sky were clearing a bit more than I expected so I once I got to the herd I would have to move them to the north east heading out towards the basin traveling through a wide coulee but at the same time would have to travel slower not spook anything that could be bedded down. I need to save some time so I decided it would be best to come out of the mountains early and cut fence to get to the heard.
Always hate cutting fence just for the fact it shows the path you came from but I had to be in the basin before sun up to get the herds on the trucks. As I came to the first fence I was careful not to make to much noise with the wire for they can act like a phone line if someone or something was paying attention farther down. I did make sure I pulled the wires back enough that if I had to make a quick getaway I could do so. Before riding any farther I feed Reno the rest of the oats, he was going to need this energy now.
As I rode out I soon could see fresh signs of cattle in the moonlight following them I came over a ridge where I could see a small herd of about 30 heifers I was expecting more I reserved enough trucks for 150 cows. Usually in the spring the herds were kept here but not this spring I guess. Still going to take em but I will have to cut across the coulee and see if I can pick up another herd.
I must say that it is no easy task trying to keep a herd together and cut fence then get them to move through it all the time trying not to excite them into making a bunch of noise or in rare case stampede them all over the range. This would be bad for me as I would have to answer to a few pissed off people. Luckily I was riding Reno and he had a good head for working cows.
Once across the coulee I could see another heard well over 250 cows, I was running out of time though and was going to have to move them all. Get what ever I can on the trucks and leave the rest. Thinking about it I didn’t think it would be that bad whatever got left behind could cover the tracks from my ride. Still wish I had enough time to fix those fences I cut.
As I entered the basin area I could see the dark silhouettes of the trucks lined up at the end of the coulee this was the best place to load cows for the coulee wall were high and the trucks could back right up to the wash out so we did not need a loading shoot. The cows had nowhere to go but on the truck.
Things worked out smooth once the cows were loaded I took an envelope of cash from the drivers and they pulled out. I pushed the remaining cows back up the coulee just a little ways, not that I wanted to return them I just wanted to make sure my tracks would be covered. Once they were far enough up I headed back to the basin.
In the basin I could hear the sound of a truck pulling a trailer and as it approached it was Jake. He pulled off to the side I unsaddled Reno and loaded him in the trailer then I took off my boots and put them in the back of Jake’s truck. I peeled a few bills that I earned and gave them to Jake some for him driving and others to get new bottoms on my boots (customary after a job). I told him to take the old creek road to stay undetected and don’t turn your headlights on till you get close to the highway. Out here people can see for miles and you can believe these ranchers are brewing their coffee by now.
Soon as Jake pulled out another car came with no headlights stopping right in front of me as I stood in the middle of the road with no boots on it was Sheila and she slid over and I hopped in She handed me a bottle of Black Velvet and I proceeded to down it for if anyone seen me today I figured it best to look like I really tied one on last night.