We sold our old ranch when I was about 30, right after I got engaged on a horseback ride there. After it sold, I did not go back, although I still think about it almost every day. The pictures I have in my mind are very vivid. We had an airplane that we used to fly over it to check on things — many of the images in my head are of flying over its great expanse. No photo could capture those aerial images of great plains of yellow grass with antelope running this way and that as my father chased them with his plane.
So I got the idea lately that my girls were big enough to go on some adventures with their grandpa and that I should visit the old ranch with him and them. He also became friendly with the new owner who said we could stay there (thank you).
We went for one night last August, and it was still as stunning as I remember and just like walking into my dreams.
Here are some pictures.
This is the entrance road looking back at the mountains. There was a monsoon that afternoon and even though it was late August, it was very cool. My oldest daughter and I sat in the car with windows rolled down and tried to take photos of lightning.
Above: This is the view that seems to go on forever and is forever in my mind.
This photo above what I did a lot — sit and play in the sand of a dry creek bed while my father hiked around looking for something for hours. My mother sat in the truck with the newspaper or her magazines and we waited for hours after driving around the ranch for hours. We probably had no food or water either!
Below: these are the corrals at the headquarters. They weren’t as nice when we owned them. That’s horse hill in the background where the horses were kept. I hiked around it and up it countless times.
Grandpa and the girls in the Ranger that he learned to drive that weekend. He took off with my littlest daughter around the time it turned dark, and I had a panic, but they came back after driving to the well about a mile down the road.
The ranch dog getting some love…
A lone stallion…
I even love the road home…
Bye bye ranch. I love you.
I loved this Nina! Great seeing the old ranch again.
Hot Rod Cowgirl said:
I too grew up on a vast cattle ranch in Eastern Oregon…we had mountain pasture and high desert pasture for winter time…the ranch was sold when I was late 30’s. Its where I grew up with my mom and dad. We had 800 head of mama cows, black angus to care for. My dad’s brothers farmed the wheat ground while my parent and I ran the cattle part. Today I live in the same 100 year old house that I grew up in during winter months on the wheat ranch. I miss the cattle and I miss the mountains…we did not have telephone, electricity and no running water..no newspapers or much radio…but life was wonderful each day as I was dad’s right hand man…loved growing up that way!
Was the ranch you grew up on in AZ. or? My hubby grew up in Vale, Oregon on the Owyhees…I loved that area too. I rode for cattle with the BLM out at the base of the Steen’s…your photos remind me of that! I loved seeing that kind of country too.
Thank you for your reply! I love your blog. I grew up in Tucson where my dad had a construction business and we spent most weekends on the ranch about 2 hours away and North of Willcox at the base of the Graham mountains. I always think it looks like Montana when the grass is green after the summer monsoons. We started with 800 head but sold part of the ranch off and ended up with about 400 hundred. I think they were a Herford Brahman mix with some cows from Mexico, and he got Beefmaster bulls. I helped my dad as much as I could! That is amazing that you live in your old house. That is very special and it looks like such a beautiful spot. My family has been ranching in Arizona for four generations so there are several of “old” ranches/farms in our family with lots of memories. Now I live in San Diego and help some ranching friends here, but I miss Arizona a lot and want my girls to know a little bit about what it was like.