Summer on the Mountain

“The owner wants his fences hog tight, horse high, and bull strong.”

What you figurin’ on doin’ this summer, Slim?”

The owner always called me Slim, although my name was Brad. I guess it was because of my slender build.

“I figured I’d roll up an’ loo for a ridin’ job somewhere,” I said.

“Well, I could use you here,” said the owner.”I was thinkin’ we could use you furin’ the summer to check our cows on the Forest Service land up on the mountain, fix fence an’ pack some salt. You interested?”

“I might be,” I answered.

“You’d have to live in a tent, do your own cookin’. Mabel won’t be deliverin’ home-cooked meals up there. You’ll be alone all summer.”

“I’ll need a couple of days to think about it,” I said.

“You think all you want,” said the owner. “Just let me know.”

***

I tied on horse to the pack saddle on the other horse, got his lead rope, got on my horse and left the ranch. As I topped the ridge past the ranch, I took a look back at the ranch. It was to be my last loo at civilization for the summer. I had no regrets about leaving.

I set up camp and sat outside my tent until after dark listening to the sounds of the mountain. It was peaceful.

The next day, I grained the horses, saddled one and started to explore the range I was going to be riding during the summer.