A month ago when I was at Pine Butte Guest Ranch I was impressed with the wildflowers – the ever-so-showy arrowleaf balsamroot literally covered meadows and mountainsides. Those same areas now seemed to be covered with a true wildflower mix. I won’t even begin to say the names, because I don’t know them, but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the explosion of color covering the area.
As we rode away from the ranch headquarters we climbed through trees and then some open areas. Ranch manager Jim Culver was in the lead. Actually, Sunny, who just may be the fastest dog on the planet, was leading. This sweet little collie-mix pup probably covered two miles for each one mile that we rode.
I really wanted to stop and shoot photos but I knew we needed to cover a little ground to get ahead of the next group of trail riders. Finally, I just decided we had to stop and capture the setting. We got off our horses and asked Jim to pose for us on a mountainside.
The mountain peak behind us is Ear Mountain with an elevation of 8,580 feet. It’s an easily recognizable geographic feature from several locations on the Rocky Mountain Front. This entire mountainside was covered with flowers and lush vegetation.
The riders following us had crested a mountain and it was time for photos of their group.
Super-wrangler Nikki was in the lead, followed by a couple of kids about 9 or 10 years old, then a father and daughter from New York on their annual summer getaway to Pine Butte Guest Ranch.
The kids were wearing riding helmets and seemed to do quite well on their horses. One teenage rider said she rode English style at a stable near her home but then said, this is the REAL riding style. I would sure like to hear the Montana stories they tell classmates when they return home.
I don’t have a keen sense of direction but I would venture a guess that we were riding slightly northwest. We climbed one more mountainside and took photos that probably have a backdrop looking east. I should probably not even refer to directions!
This photo shows our amazing big sky, a moniker known throughout the United States.
As Jim gave the horse an affectionate mane scratch, we continued our photo shoot. Sunny was rarin’ to go because she could see the other riders advancing ahead of us. I was also rarin’ to go and decided I would get on my horse all by myself. I was rather puffed up with pride sitting atop my horse until Jim strolled over and told me that I had forgotten to untie the horse before I climbed on.
Ah, my cowgirl days are fun but short-lived.