Cactus, Cows, and Cowboys!
OK, so there’s lot’s of cactus where I went but the cows and cowboys have largely gone away… I was there to catch a glimpse of memories from SO long ago and enjoy the chance to return to my youth. Yes – I was
a very young lad the last time I was actually on that property. Living out a dream of being a cowboy and riding “the range”. It was a brilliant trip down memory lane!
Walking Box Ranch and the YKL
The BLM has done an amazing job of restoring and preserving the Main house that was the home of Rex Bell and Clara Bow from the early 30’s. Clara Bow was known back then as the “It Girl” from silent films and Rex Bell was a Western B Movie star. It was called the Walking Box Ranch at that time. When I was there, the ranch was called the YKL. Karl Weikel was very kind in taking on this kid from Napa to work on his ranch and show him the ropes about cowboying in the high Mojave Desert. And there was a LOT to learn…
The Ranch Now
As I drove up to the gate, all those memories of working in the Mojave summer heat and freezing winters came back. This time around, it was a pleasant May morning with clear blue sky’s. The first thing I noticed was that the “bunkhouse” building they had there looked a LOT better than it did when I was working there. :o) That’s a good thing really as I’m not sure many folks would want to see the inside of the bunkhouse I slept in…
The air conditioning unit is certainly much bigger now and it is much more air tight from the elements and critters that used to enter the building! No more rattlesnakes getting in by the water lines to scare you half to death at 4:00 in the morning!!
Once Upon A Time
When I was working there as a young man, there was the foreman, myself, and the cook. During each round-up season, they’d hire on one or two others to help with the gathering, branding, and moving of cattle across 157,000 acres of desert. There really wasn’t ever a ton of folks around but it was a real ghost town when I was wandering around this time. The crunch of my boots in the gravel and sand was about the only sound besides some birds and flies.
Any other sounds were just echos of time spent there a long time ago…
The desert will always hold a place in my heart and the memories of a cowboying youth and a return to the past as a much older man will be cherished forever. This road trip through southern Nevada and the high Mojave Desert was very special and I am am thankful that I took the trip back down memory lane!