The chickens lived in splendor…and we were the most exotic, amazing variety of roosters and hens I’d ever seen. They seemed to look down their beaks at us with fine-feathered disdain. An interesting hobby for a glamorous, sophisticated woman like Ms. Israel.
Then off we drove toward the most exciting portion of the trip…Valley Ranch in Valley, Wyoming. We spent a night in a hotel in Salt Lake City and while eating dinner (the usual roast beef, potatoes with gravy and green beans with cherry pie for dessert) Uncle Hugo pointed to a nearby table. There was one man sitting with three women. Uncle H. explained that they were Mormons and the man had three wives. I found this shocking news and stored the information away to examine at some later time. But initially thought to myself “how convenient, to share the house cleaning, washing and ironing with other wives”!
We stopped for lunch in Cody, Wyoming at a touristy restaurant filled with more bleached bones (this time of cattle, etc) hanging on the wall along with sample lariats, photos of Buffalo Bill and taxidermy specimens. Can’t imagine why I have forgotten what I ate…I would guess it was BBQ beef and fries. Anyway it is a logical lunch for a 40s gal!
Forty miles later, we arrived at The Ranch! I was more excited about this adventure than anything I had experienced. The most majestically gorgeous mountains surrounded the valley and just down the road (dirt) was the fast-flowing Shoshone River. The main ranch building was filled with unimaginable things to do. The large dining room with long tables and a huge fireplace, with a chandelier made up of antlers of all sorts. Navajo rugs on the plank floors…a BILLIARDS ROOM…a reading room…sitting rooms…and an enormous kitchen. There was a little shop where we could buy frozen Milky Way bars and soda pop, postcards and stamps. Further down toward the corrals and barns there was a tack room where a talented little old man hand-tooled leather articles: belts, bridles, leather ‘bracelets’ and whatever clever requests from the guests came his way.
Aunt Burt bought yellow slickers for Arle and me … we had official cowgirl hats and wore jeans and boots. The day after our arrival and after we had settled into our log cabin with two bedrooms and two baths plus sitting room, we chose our horses for the two week visit. Arle’s horse was Teddy and mine (a pinto with one blind eye) was named Arrow. This had no connection with his ability to run straight and fast, but it was a pleasant name. On the first trip out with our guide (name?) Arrow’s hoof hit an exposed metal pipe. He reacted dramatically, throwing his body all about the area, in deadly fear of the sound.
This was the case each time we rode out of the ranch as we were forced to take this dirt road in order to get anywhere. So I braced my tiny self against his contortions and somehow managed to stay in the saddle at least most of the time.
On one of our rides we actually helped the wranglers who were rounding up some wild horses.
Some of them began to break away and we were asked to help round them up. Very exciting it was !…the horses were brought to the ranch and corralled for later “breaking”.