I ended the cattle drive around 1995. I couldn’t keep it up. It was too much work. We had a growing farm and a growing family and we just couldn’t justify it any more and it made me sad.
When I was young, our every summer was spent driving our herd of cattle to alpine grazing at Goat Meadows (aka Miller Creek ). We thought it was normal for children to push big old bellowing cows up a mountain. We were little ruffians with rocks and sticks and running shoes. We darted and loped across the brushy hillside, cutting off escape, alway trying to make the cows think we were impassable.
Dad was alway there, in charge, and always at the back, patiently trying to instruct us on the instincts of cattle and how to use them to make this job easier for all.
When my sisters and I were small, we mastered sleeping on horseback double (although that may have been mostly me.) I remember how a horse’s shoe can turn the pitch black into daylight as they struggled in the dark on the steep rocky trail. We took a lot of these trips in the dark, after Dad’s work day on the farm was done. Our old workhorse type horses had no problem travelling in complete darkness.
The cattlemen had a cabin in the Second Meadows where we would camp and cook and play while the adults did the hard work of cutting out trails or building bridges.
Our destination was the Third Meadow which overlooks the Pemberton Valley. Our cows knew the way and once their memories of last year in the meadows kicked in, it became a slow walk to paradise.
Coming into the Third Meadows was uplifting – the smell was amazing of alpine flowers and grasses. The view opened up to grassy Meadows, and far below at the end of the Second Meadows was the massive Miller Glacier which roared constantly on the breeze lifting from the Second Meadows.
Beautiful pics — beautiful story — gifted childhood :)) :)) We have also ridden in pitch dark on our trail horses, and I’ve “slept” while still upright in the saddle — amazing what the human being can do! :)) Dawn
Great story, Bruce. So fortunate that you have pictures from these excursions. Nice to see your mom as a young woman.
Thank- you Connie .Shortly after this picture was taken the horse slipped off the trail and mom and I crashed down the hillside with the horse.I was a sleep so mom just hung on to me and took the fall.
Be nice to make way up into those Meadows today and experience s little History. Is it likely only game trails as access ?
There is some forest road access ,but you may want to wait for summer. Typically the snow leaves the meadows in early July. RIght now there is probably about ten feet of snow.
Wonderfully nostalgic story. Love the photos. Do you still hike up there in the summer?
We have a few times , its time to go again.
I try and get up there as often as I can. Brought the family last year for their first trip to see the family cabin in the third meadow. Getting a bit run down. May have to bring some supplies next time!