Summer Commute

There’s a reason why we drive beat up little four-wheel drive pickups. Our summertime commute is not full-size pickup, sedan, or new vehicle friendly.

Getting to stock tanks on summer range or to salt locations requires using Forest Service roads.

The ones we frequent are a little more than a two-lane cow trail.

Driving on them is jarring and rough, and necessitates going five miles an hour on the toughest looking trails.

When it rains, low spots create mud holes and wash out already steep and rocky roads, leaving large boulders exposed or jutting dangerously out of the ground.

Heavy snow storms in winter leave behind canopies of bent over sapling trees in summer, or downed trees that block the road.

Our commute requires small and less cumbersome vehicles that set higher off of the ground to clear jutting rocks, logs and the like.

Our vehicles take regular beatings and need luggy tires that can get traction in muddy conditions or climb over rough routes. Little Toyota pickups seem to hold up to our daily commute and allow for hauling the dog in the back, the generator, and fifty pound salt blocks when needed.

Instead of a pickup box, flatbeds are utilized more efficiently for our needs out on the range.

Especially on hot summer days, it’s vital that livestock has water and salt available to them.

It’s our job to make sure water is still flowing, floats work to keep water from overflowing and that springs can keep up with the demand.

During the worst of the drought, many springs had minimal if any water supplies. If certain springs or wells were low or dry, we hauled water out to those locations.

This particular watering spot has a well but the line was clogged for some reason, so every day, somebody had to haul the generator out to pump the tank full.


There’s more than one route to get to the many places we check, some are shorter, some are less rough.

Changing up our driving route is always refreshing, but now that summer’s waning, the drive is starting to get stale. The cows are nearing the end of their summer stay on Forest Service, which means we have about a month left to take this commute. Once we pull cows off summer range, we’ll be going to work in a different location; one with a highway.

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