Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mississippi Max Makes a Return Visit

On Sunday, we will experience a rare event. A previous guest is coming back for a second visit. What Mississippi Max lacks in judgment, he makes up in southern charm. If you follow my blog, you probably look forward to reading his cowboy poetry that he frequently leaves as comments.

After riding Little Guy for a week and hanging out with the High Plateau bunch, we will see how his experience last year compares with his return visit. As a guest blogger, Max shares his 2008 visit with us.


I’ll begin with the following public service announcement…

“Officials in southern Utah have noted a tremendous increase in the
incidence of ‘Prone Disease’ in the immediate vicinity of the
Parasite Ranch just outside Grover. The symptoms are lethargy,
followed by temporary long muscle paralysis, deep REM sleep, and high-
volume, atonal snoring lasting for several hours. Though frightening
to little children and local wildlife, the sufferer is not in mortal
danger and will recover to near normal with time. It is not now known
how the disease spreads, but it appears to be confined to the
immediate vicinity of Parasite Ranch and may be related to the eating
habits of its denizens. Those not wishing to be exposed to ‘Prone
Disease’ are advised to avoid the area around Parasite Ranch,
especially at suppertime. Additional advisories will be issued if it
is determined that the condition is beginning to spread or is moving
toward urban areas.”

A Day At the Office

“A Day at the Office” is a picture from a ride I took with the Grover
Boys in June of 2008. I’ve had it framed for my office with the
following caption: “I’ve already had to deal with three today… don’t
make it four.” Dangerous says the caption is flawed and that it
should read, “I’ve already had to deal with four today… don’t make it
five.” I feel pretty sure I know what he’s alluding to, but I’ve
decided that’s between him and Utah Jack.


Doesn’t this remind you of one of those Renaissance paintings you can
see in the Louvre? Of course Fremont and Utah Jack aren’t naked (for
which we can all be grateful) like those nymphs in the paintings
usually are, but they’ve got that “reclining in a field of
wildflowers” look down pat.

By the way, if you ever want to have a unique travel experience,
you’ve got to make arrangements to ride with Fremont Bob when he’s
hauling horses to a trail head. Not only is the conversation
stimulating, but the ride itself also promises to be memorable. First
of all, you’ll likely be sitting in the seat usually reserved for
Blue, Bob’s Catahoula Cur (and the only Southern boy on that trail
ride other than me). Blue won’t mind you sitting there, but be
forewarned that, when he gets good and ready, he’ll make himself at
home in your lap. When he does, don’t expect to nudge him to the
side. He’ll just look at you with an expression that clearly
communicates exactly who the interloper is in that truck cab. You
have two choices -- settle in and scratch Blue’s back or move to the
trailer with the horses. It’s your choice, and while he doesn’t care
much which choice you make, he does have a slight preference for the
back scratch. The other thing that makes the trip exciting is Bob’s
penchant for off-the-cuff comments at critical points during the trip,
like when you’re topping a long, high grade with several thousand
pounds of horse flesh following you and Bob might say something out of
the blue like, “You know, I’ve been meaning to get these ol’ truck
brakes checked. I’m pretty sure the trailer’ll hold; that should get
us by. Stay light in the seat just in case.” At that point Blue will
probably turn to you and grin. It seems that he knows all of Bob’s
jokes by heart.


In the right hands, this scene could inspire a work to rival those of
the great painters of the west. Even more revealing is that it’s not,
in my opinion, the most beautiful landscape I saw on this ride. I
hate to spoil that thought with comment, but Boulder Mountain and its
surrounds are truly areas to be treasured. I can see why Doug gets so
“heated up” when talking about the things that threaten its pristine
existence. Personally, I hope there will always be a resident
curmudgeon like him tramping around the Boulder who loves the place
dearly and will gladly share it, but who will fight to his last breath
for its natural beauty and wildness.


Now here’s a fun thing to try sometime. You’ll probably get a good
laugh out of it. Take one good ol’ boy from south Mississippi, put
him on a mountain in Utah in June, and watch him grin like a goat
eatin’ briers. “Did ya’ll know there’s snow up there?!! I don’t see
much snow in January, much less June!” I’m pretty sure the Grover
Boys got a real kick out of watching me that day. I know Rosie
enjoyed the snow about as much as I did, but for a different reason.
By this time on the trail ride, her paws were a bit tender. She stood
in that snow as long as we were still in sight, just coolin’ ‘em
down. Smart dog.

Bear Country

This is a picture of Ole Dangerous, Dottie, Fremont, Hemingway, and
Blue making good time though bear country. They had been showing me
all the scratch marks on the aspen for the last several miles and I
think may have gotten themselves a little spooked. Of course they’d
deny it, both being noted bear wrestlers in the Boulder Mountain
area. At least that’s what they told me…

Mississippi and Chief

“His day of playing cowboy

Is like a healing hand

Of things that draw the hourglass

This one is worth the sand”

‘Nuff said. Thanks, Rosie.

Well, Max gets here Sunday, and we head south as soon as his airplane lands. Wish him luck, and I am sure you will here about his next adventure riding the High Plateau. Love to hear from you!

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