A little pioneer spirit is enough
Published 12:00 pm Sunday, January 15, 2023
By Bonnie Brown
I’m certain that many of you have been watching the series “Yellowstone.”
It’s a modern-day western about a ranching family in Montana. The patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner) is not above doing
whatever it takes to preserve the lifestyle of the Dutton family and the sanctity of a way of life dating over decades.
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See the history of the Dutton family through Taylor Sheridan’s two other series “1883” and “1923” chronicling the family’s
struggle in settling the wild west.
Most scenes in the Yellowstone series involve cattle, horses, and cowboys. The characters seem quite authentic as they ride the
horses and carry out the duties of the ranch. Impressively so.
My husband Tom and I did a road trip out west in May of 2004. We have done several of these road trips and enjoy the beauty
of the west. I’ve often joked and said that if Tom ever runs away from home, I’m pretty sure I’d find him in Monument Valley.
On this particular trip, we spent a lot of time driving and exploring the scenic Highway 12 in Utah, dubbed one of the most
beautiful highways in the world. This 122-mile-long highway starts in Panguitch and ends in Torrey. It also affords access to a
number of national parks, state parks, national monuments, and scenic overlooks.
The reason I reference the series “Yellowstone” and its portrayal of a ranching family is because we happened upon a real-life
cattle drive near Torrey on this trip.
We guessed that the cowboys (and one cowgirl and a young lad of maybe 6 or 7) were moving the herd from the winter pasture
to their summer grazing ground. We loved watching the cowboys contain their herd, and drove behind them when they were
actually on the paved highway.
It was such an interesting and unexpected experience.
We finally got around the herd and drove on to Boulder where we had lunch at Burr Trail Outpost and discovered we seriously
needed to find a car wash. Our truck was covered in cow droppings.
We then drove down Burr Trail through Long Canyon and returned to Highway 12 and on to Calf Creek Falls where we did a 6-
mile hike. Our next stop was Escalante where we luckily found a car wash. It wasn’t simply a matter of spraying off the cow
debris, but we had to do quite a lot of scrubbing to get our white truck white again.
After the 1994 ice storm, I realized that I had no pioneer spirit. I declared that it was a good thing that I was not responsible for
settling the West. I wouldn’t have made it past Missouri!
Enjoy the Yellowstone series, and be grateful for those who did have pioneer spirit. And if you ever have the opportunity, drive
the scenic Highway 12 in Utah.