Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Bull Whisperer ~ June 3, 2012

Junipers Reservoir RV Park is located on an 8,000 acre working cattle ranch in the southern Oregon Outback. Sagebrush and shrubs interspersed with evergreens and wildflowers, creeks, marshes, and wildlife. We wake up to bird song. There are only a few other campers in the park so it's quite peaceful.

After breakfast we suit up for our annual hike and take off about 9:30 with layers, sunhats, sandwiches, water, an apple, cameras and binoculars. The trail around the ranch is about 6.6 miles. We've been doing a lot of driving and sitting, so this is going to be a welcome challenge. It's warm and breezy, clouds are moving through with the possibility thunder showers this afternoon. About 1/2 mile into the walk we spot two Great Horned Owls. We can only watch with binoculars, they're too far away for a photo because I have the wrong lens ~ rookie! We follow a new track this time and do a little exploring.

We come up out of the meadows to an area of sage brush and walk along a dirt track through a stand of gnarly old moss covered junipers. We almost stepped on this little guy he was so well camouflaged. He didn't look to happy with us, but shortly after we took his picture we found a heart shaped rock and a hawk feather ~ gifts from the source.

About 3.5 miles into the walk, at the White Rocks, we come upon a very large herd of cattle milling about on the road and around the pond. When we were up in April of 2011 they were all down in the lower pastures. We stand our ground for a bit and think about our next move.

Some of the bulls have their heads down pawing the dirt, others are calling to their harems (the sound is like bull frog on steroids ~ echoing along the ridge), and a few are paying no attention to us at all. The cows and their offspring are watching us with great interest. Hmmmm what to do? We really want to finish the circuit and not turn back the way we came.

It appears my husband is a man of many talents ~ add Bull Whisperer to his resume. He leans over to me and says "Baby girl you may want to put your red fleece jacket in the pack while we're navigating this bovine traffic jam". I comply in a heartbeat. He starts talking to them in a low, soothing voice, assuring them we mean no harm and slowly walks forward at the same time. I'm tracking in his footsteps like a shadow. 

The cows and their young start to move off in small groups, trotting up the hill away from the road and the pond. The bulls have a few more conference calls and then slowly amble off in the same direction. Okay, cattle whispered, it's time for lunch, we find an old foundation to plop down on and dine with sun on our backs. The remaining 3 plus miles to camp is a gentle trail through pastures and along the reservoir.

Our little excursion was about 5 hours and once back in camp we hit the showers. Next we pull out the lawn chairs and flop in the shade to read and watch the afternoon and evening skies change. A day well spent, we're gonna sleep well tonight.