Hello my sweetheart,
Today the men/boys took a long beautiful ride up Prop Canyon and then all the way up to top of the mesa. You know that part just as you leave the west boundary of the ranch onto the BLM land and begin climbing up the mesa, and you turn around and you can see that "Big Sky"...you know it...it's beautiful.
When we got to the top, we found a big ugly rattlesnake on the trail. After admiring his tenacity for about 60 seconds he died of lead poisoning...it really wasn't very sad. One less rattler to worry about up here. He'll make a nice meal for some buzzards.
Then we rode all the way up to Bluewater Lake. Boss went down to the boat ramp to ask the local fisherman how the catch has been going. Then we finished the loop by getting back on the ranch at the North end.
On the way back to the house I rode alone through Indian Draw, the place where we took Doug for a ride that one day. The memory of it was vivid, and my heart was happy, but then became heavy. I remember riding with you on the back and watching Doug follow us. It was a beautiful day wasn't it. I rode more slowly the rest of the way home, thinking of you and how our lives have changed, and thinking of Doug.
This place is still a magical place for me. I was afraid that my love for the ranch would be ruined by the memory of the tragedy that followed on our return trip the last time we were here. But I think we have enough wonderful memories and experiences up here that it keeps us pointed in the right direction: faith, love, optimism, family, etc.
Tonight everyone rode/drove out to Nielson Canyon where we had a big fire and roasted dogs, smoores, and pop-corn-on-the-cob. Of course it included the usual medley of ranch songs and some good campfire conversation, but I missed you. I missed you on that long ride. I missed you at the campfire, holding you tight and keeping you warm and safe.
I love you so much Stephanie. You are the love of my life! Can't wait to see you tomorrow!