The guys and gals at the T Cross are hard at work getting the ranch ready to receive dudes and dudettes for the summer! Opening day is just a week away and it may surprise you to know the amount of chores involved in this operation.
Because of its high elevation and remote location, the T Cross is buttoned up for the winter. Depending on the snow pack, starting as early in May as possible Mark and the crew return to bring the T Cross out of hibernation!
First, the water has to be turned back on and then all of the pipes and valves checked to make sure nothing’s leaking and that everything is in fact running. Everything that was packed away to protect it from 4 legged and 2 legged critters that might be in search of nesting material, a meal or a souvenir has to be unpacked and put in its rightful place. After some winters there can be a lot of work that needs to be done to repair or replace roofs and other structures that were damaged from the weight of the snow. Cabins have to be re-chinked periodically and the wood for all of those stoves and fireplaces has to be chopped!
This is a chore even the most devoted horse owner procrastinates about, so I cannot imagine having to do so many all at once. There are fences that need to be mended and, finally, horses that have to be rounded up!
The T Cross horses winter in Crowheart on a couple thousand acres so there is an annual trek to round them up, load them in trailers and haul them up to the ranch. This year, as luck would have it, an early spring snowstorm made for a chilly greeting! Mark had been hauling hay up from Utah so they didn’t have to scrabble through the snow to get a meal. The snow only stayed for a day or so, and soon the meadows and pastures will return to their usual lushness that keeps the T Cross horses fat and sassy all summer long!
Then there are trails; miles and miles of trails that have to be cleared. It is downright amazing how many trees come down smack dab across a trail. This is work that will continue well into July as the snow in the higher elevations melt and those trails become accessible. This is what keeps the wranglers occupied on Saturdays and Sundays at the T Cross in the first half of the season!
All of these things go on before we dudes arrive, but you would never know there was such a flurry of activity. Mark and Gretchen along with their crew do such a terrific job of getting everything organized and ready that one would think they never buttoned up for the winter months. Soon the rhythms of the T Cross return and another summer filled with wonderful memories unfolds.