Just Me, Marshall and the Mountains

Before this point the only type of vacations I took with my family were ones that would be considered your typical ‘relaxing’ vacation – you know the ones where you lay on a beach or by the pool, eat food, sleep in, and casually walk around to explore. This trip was much different.

A two day cattle drive in Alberta that required 6:30 a.m. wakeup calls, six hours a day in a horse saddle, and being one-and-a-half hours away from any civilization besides the other travellers who were staying on the ranch with myself, my sister, my mom, and the ranch workers and owners. Although there were other people with us, this was easily the most isolated I have ever been whilst on vacation.

Everyone arrived on Friday but the actual cattle drive occurred on the Saturday and Sunday. When we first arrived on the Friday, we got to our cabin that looked like it came straight out of a western movie – it was made of wood, the furniture was made of wood, there was western photography all over, and our backyard view was the mountains.

On Friday afternoon, after settling into our cabins, we were all partnered with our horses that would accompany us over the following two days. I had ridden for several years prior to the cattle drive but had not gotten on a horse in quite some time. So, I was happy when I was paired up with a horse named Marshall – a brown and black six-year-old horse that had a personality sweater than some people.

There was a big group of people going on the cattle drive but since we would be pretty spaced out, trying to keep the cattle together, for the next two days it was pretty much just going to be me, Marshall, and the mountains of Alberta. This was something I was nervous about. I was nervous I would be terrible at herding cattle, I was worried that it would rain, I was nervous about whether me and Marshall would get along, and I was nervous about pretty much not being able to talk to people over the course of the drive (except for when we took breaks or stopped for the evening and went back to camp).

My fears stayed with me for a bit. But about an hour into the drive on Saturday, it was beautiful picturesque sunny day, I looked at the mountains surrounding me and thought to myself ‘what are you really worried about?’ I wasn’t herding by myself, if it rained I had a jacket, Marshall and I hadn’t given each other a reason not to trust one another, and catching up with everyone in the evening would be all that more special because we would have our own versions of the drive to tell each other about.

People herding cattle on horseback.
Day one of the drive.

Once I was able to overcome my fears, I was able to relax and enjoy the cattle drive. After I let go of my worries, I was able to accept that it was just me, Marshall, and the mountains and I was completely okay with that.


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