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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Lonely Abandoned Ranch

On the day we visited the Rocky Canyon we passed through an abandoned ranch site.  I’m sure the property belongs to someone; at least someone has re-built the windmill fairly recently.  The watering trough is full and the whole area has cattle tracks and cow piles around it. 
It was another one of those sites that carried a sense of history. 
There was a rock house that was tumbling down. From a distance it was nearly invisible among the brush and rocky landscape.  At one time it was a pretty decent home for the times.  Laid up neatly of stone, there were two decent sized rooms with sizable beams that must have been hauled a long ways to make the roof.  It didn’t appear to have had a board floor, but that might have been covered by years of blowing sand and trash sifting over it.

(Here's a closer picture in case you can't see the house.)

It looked like another pile of rocks if you didn't know what you were looking at.

The home site had once had sizable cottonwoods growing around it but now they were dead. Some stretched along the ground; other still stood offering skeletal arms to the sky and weather.  All around now brush crowded the walls. 

Across the way in front of the house there was a corral.  It was built with a combination of the old close-set-stake fencing, wooden post and rails and woven wire.  I think it had probably been used more recently than the house.  It might have been able to contain my mom’s placid milk cow, but I’m not sure any animal with more energy would have had much difficulty getting through it.
The ranch site stood in the center of a bowl surrounded by ridges and cliffs.  We arrived there after a long bumpy drive across the desert through sage and clump grass.  In the middle of the bowl a hundred (maybe) yards behind the house was a huge boulder that had broken free of the cliff off to the right.  And when I say huge, I mean huge!  It was larger and much taller than the house.

We parked the truck and walked around the site for a while.  It was evident the property had been intentionally abandoned.  There were no articles of living remaining in or around the house.  The corral had been maintained but there was no other evidence of use. 
Once again I was awed by the courage of the men and women who lived here.  We had driven probably two or three hours across country in a TRUCK from the nearest paved road.  The nearest town was probably an hour, hour and a half from the turn-off.  For a man on a horse it must have been most of a day to the nearest town.  With a wagon it would have been two days.  You know those cowboy movies where Pa hitches up the wagon and trots in to town and back by noon?  Well it didn’t happen here!  I doubt I we would have made the trip and back in the truck before noon.
 All of these things go to demonstrate how very fleeting life is.  Men build in wood and stone as permanently as they know how, but nothing lasts.  And yet man persists in believing his works are supreme. 
Who do we think we are anyway, when our works are so easily destroyed?
"When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?  5For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour  Ps 8:3-4

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