Looking back, I have to laugh at my ignorance. I grew up in rural Eastern Washington in a small town far away from anything. You had to drive 140 miles to find a town bigger than 3000 people. My great- grandparents homesteaded in this area. In fact, I still have the original homestead certificate.
I'd like to share some childhood pictures with you of where I used to ride.
|My friends and I getting ready for a trail ride.|
|An old homestead near a lake|
|My fiend, Connie, opening a gate next to a cattle guard.|
|The ghost town of Golden, WA The road in the distance is the same one in the picture above this one.|
Two or three mine shafts were cut into the rocks in the surrounding hills. Being kids, we did explore a few of these. But ever wary of rattlesnakes, we never went too deep into the mines. The rattlesnakes were everywhere in those hills.
|Exploring an old mine near Golden, Washington.|
If we planned to be out all day, we'd take lunch in our saddlebags, put halters on over the bridles, and tie the leadrope to the saddle horn. We never concerned ourselves with helmets. I have no clue where we'd buy any if we were so inclined to wear a helmet. We wore boots, jeans, t-shirts. Our horses wore various western saddles and bridles with simple curb bits. I never laid eyes on an English saddle until I went to college.
|Stopping for lunch near a small stream|
Once in a while, we'd chase cattle we found grazing on the rangeland. Something which I'm sure the local ranchers weren't too thrilled about. All the cattle were Herefords, maybe a few Angus. Other times, we'd take the horses swimming in Blue Lake, known for its healing qualities because of the minerals in the lake. It'd be so hot that by the time we got back to the barn, everything would be dry.
I was sad to see a little piece of my childhood barricaded from the public. I look back on those years fondly and regret that today's kids won't get to ride to the old ghost town or the homestead cabin. They won't get to imagine what it was like one hundred years ago when the first settlers came to the area. I was one of the fortunate ones, and I know it. Boy, do I know it.
I loved growing up "out west."