PDF Mountains on My Mind: Poems of the Mountain West

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Amid the rubble of a livelier day. Just over the bridge near the end of the road, Where Panther Creek dumps its violent load, Of frothy white liquid into the swirl, Of the river herself at full howl and full hurl. A road there rises up through the pines, A dusty dirt road that heads for the mines, Of Leesburg and the crumbling town, Where old rickety buildings were falling down. Once we got there and parked the truck, We jumped out to maybe try our luck, In looking around for a thing or two, For a souvenir of sorts or who knows who.

Then came a voice from out of a shack, Or maybe that dugout hidden out back, Of an old saloon with a westward lean, A raspy old crackle with a tinge of mean. A man stooped and crumpled with age, Came out of his hovel in a fit of rage, Shaking his fist and giving a show, That he wanted us to turn back and go. We approached the old guy shaking his arm, And seeing that we meant him no harm, We sat a spell just to bone our jaw, And for a fleeting moment in his eyes we saw, Something strange as we sat in the grass, When he first came to this mountain pass, A flickering light from out of the past, Of a girl once loved with a love - his last.

It was a lonely life down in his mine, Abandoned and left alone to dine, On berries and game with shirt in a tatter, It seemed to him now it didn't much matter. Unlucky in love and unlucky in life, His mind was no longer as sharp as a knife, From all the long years working his mine, He now would sit, wonder, ponder and pine.

One thing though was quite certain, Something that somehow healed the hurtin', The mountains and the river down below, Welcomed him back whenever he'd go.

17 of the Best Songs About Mountains

In winter he said, he just watched the snow fall. In springtime it melts and flows down the wall, Through puddles and streams and creeks till it's done, Flowing to where all the snow pack has run. At about the same time and with the same speed To join in the ruckus of a watery steed, Soaking in spray and covered in white, Rushing west to the coast by day and by night.

The river returns when mountain lakes freeze, On the wings of storms brought in by the breeze, Of westerly winds billowed full of white snow, That melts and runs back to the river below. So the river each season always returns, To the mountains, hills, the trees and then turns, To rush out and to rush back and then, It returns and comes back again and again.

Mountains of the Mind: A History of a Fascination

A river this wild knows only her own, They're unkempt and unruly and often alone, But it's that feeling of home that'll quietly turn, Them back to the River of No Return. These "old-timers" form an important and unforgettable link to our western heritage. I will never forget the times I sat and listened to them as a kid - once they would start talking. Sleep comes fast along the trail, Twilight, moonlight and a coyotes wail, Echoes along the canyon wall, It's a haunting cry and a lonesome call. Calling tonight through the cold and clear, To the distant past or some future year.

My eyes grow heavy; I nod off to sleep, On a saddle blanket in the canyon deep. When the coyote calls down moonlit dreams, To a boy still bursting at the seams, Asleep in the canyon 'till the morning dew, Dreams like this always come true. Evening cool raised a gentle breeze, As the horses pawed the roots of the trees, Of the picket line standing tall and true, The years to come came into view.

You came to me though you never knew, We walked a while as warm breezes blew, A seaside, a riverside, a far off place, I saw your smile, long hair and face. As sunrise kissed the morning dew, I knew that some day I would find you, And each to the other would belong. It was all right there in the coyote's song. We found each other and have lived the dream, That came beside a mountain stream. Asleep in the canyon 'till the morning dew, Dreams like this always come true. Paul told us: "This took place in the summer of during a pack trip with my father through the Tetons.

We made a loop around the range starting from the Idaho side - up Devil's Staircase down through Death Canyon, north along the Wyoming side to Cascade Canyon, then up and around to Alaska Basin and back to Idaho. This poem is included with our collection of Cowboy Love Poems.

Lambing Time in the Rockies. On the way to the ranch we had to stop, At a country store to pick up some pop, Some pliers and pairs of gloves for our hands, As well as a bunch of small rubber bands. The pickup took off with a spurt and a wheeze, For a few days of lambing up in the trees. It rolled out of the lot and onto the road, Heading on up once we'd picked up our load. We stayed in the cabin just built and brand new, With a Franklin stove and round eight inch flue.

It kept the place warm in the cool spring air, In the Rockies again, we were glad to be there. Grandpa Jess cared for the rams and the studs, The rest of the clan grew the beef and the spuds, It had been a good season with lots of new lambs, About sixty were born to the yews and the rams. The work of the day went forth as planned, Long dirty tails each got a new rubber band, Some of the lambs got a freshly docked tail, They scurried about with a bleat and a wail.

The lambs went in a pen to grunt and to moan, Young bucks winced whenever they'd groan, As each was castrated and sent over beside, A vat holding gallons of sheep dip inside. Some ewes were covered up to their throats, With smelly stuff that soaked their coats, Those that went in couldn't wait to get out, To shake themselves off, to bleat and to pout. Counting the ewes Old Jess kept a tally, The rams had been sent down to the valley, As lopped off tails piled up in the grass, He counted and recounted one more pass.

One more time he scratched his head, One ewe was missing, he hoped not dead. Old Jess jumped up and into his jeep, All through the trees he looked for his sheep. About the time when the sun sunk low, We finally found her and hurried to go. The pregnant ewe lay all distressed, Unable to birth the lamb that pressed, Against the birth canal too small, To let a lamb struggle and crawl, Out to the air, to light and to life, Grandpa Jess slowly took out his knife. He opened the opening a wee little bit Then onto the ground he took a sit, To pull the dead lamb from out of the ewe, Relieved from all that she'd been through.

He picked her up slowly, got a good hold. She was sweating chills and getting cold. He then placed her gently back in the bed, Of the jeep pickup where she quietly bled. Back to the ranch house on a dirt road, He anxiously carried his precious load, Then the truck hit a rut that had a big rock, The ewe flew out and lay there in shock.

In the dirt she split and came unwound, Her innards fell out and were lying around. Carefully lifting her up once more, Jess put her back in and closed the door. Back at the cabin we hung our hope, On boiling water as we took out the soap, A needle, some thread, iodine and bands, Grandpa Jess carefully washed his hands. He went outside and washed out the ewe, As best he could, as best he knew, Then placed her insides back inside, And closed her up by sewing her hide.

Old Grandpa Jess had done his best, We went to the cabin to get some rest. Jess prayed mightily for that old sheep, Hard as he could, then dozed off to sleep. Sleep can come in many a way, That sheep died before the new dawning day, My throat got lumpy as I watched Jess weep, Love for his herd went bone marrow deep. Staying in the cabin just built and brand new, With a Franklin stove and round eight inch flue, Part of me grew up in that cool spring air. That wrinkled old man had taught me to care. Tell me it ain't so, Or at least that you don't know, That the sky's not all that blue up there, And cascades don't fall through mountain air.

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Tell me it just don't figure, When you start to count each river, There are more here that begin and end, Through canyons deep that twist and bend. It can't really be, But at times it seems to me, That the wild wind still blows free, Over the plains and in from the sea.


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So tell me that on that plain, After a storm of desert rain, There is no scent as the sage awakes, No rabbits, rock chucks or rattlesnakes. It wouldn't make a lick of sense, To think that this side of the fence, More mountains grace this state, Than any other of the forty-eight.

Make it sound like it's the truth, There are no mountains called Sawtooth, No granite spires, no Redfish Lake, No pines, no firs, no trees that quake. Just tell me it ain't so, That the mountains high and valleys low, Have more miles of rocky trails, Than most places have of roads and rails. Just tell me, tell me just once more, There is no thunder in the Snake River's roar, Please tell me; just tell me it ain't so, Until I get back to Idaho.

Paul told us, "The best time of the year around our place is in the late spring when we brand our cattle and put 'em out on the high mountain pastures in Island Park, Idaho. This poem was written in the winter in anticipation of that event. Sunday Drivers. At the bottom of Lost Trail Pass, Near to where you can buy some gas, Some good ol' folks live there still, In a little place called Gibbonsville.

Now one Sunday we were out for a ride, Taking a gander around the countryside, When what to our wonderment did appear? That old jalopy we gave away last year. It was free you know, it cost not a dime To Ma n' Pa Riggin who'd had a hard time. They could have it as long as they'd please. Beware the motor had a snort and a wheeze. As that bucket o' rust rounded the bend, Hangin' out of the hood was someone's back end.

And to boot and by golly it was still movin' along, With a pitch and a roll like an out of tune song. A stranger contraption you'd never seen, With Ma at the wheel behind the windscreen, Those two legs dangling out of the hood, Came dangerously close to the spokes of wood. That old sedan would slow near to a stop, Then with a burst take another hop, And now with a jerk it started to slow, Then a burst of speed, and off it would go.

But not too far before Ma n' Pa saw, They's watched a little further down the draw, From the looks of things as we came to pass, The root of the problem was a leak of gas. The gas line had busted completely in two, But that ol' Pa Riggin knew just what to do, Suck up the gas and a split second later, Turn and then spit it into the carburetor.

It was by this method under the hood, They managed to move along pretty good, By a suckin' and a spittin' with Ma at the wheel, And Pa workin' the gas and a draggin' a heel. We stopped and offered to help if we could, Pa was still poking out underneath of the hood, Ma just said "no thanks" as her eyes came alive, "We're just out for a Sunday drive.

Paul told us: This tale is based on a true story that happened to some good friends from Salmon, Idaho It's been a good year for the cattle situation, Beef's high thanks to Atkin's innovation, That helps people of every persuasion, Shed that pesky patina of civilization. The doctor's formula is tried and true, But it's really nothing very new, Throw a lot more beef into your stew, Some peas and potatoes - but only a few. Every ounce on those cloven feet, Is worth pure gold on the market o' meat, Keep 'em out of the cold and out of the sleet, Contented, well fenced and out of the heat.

If you do all this, that you've been told, You'll get a big check once they're sold, Their weight gain per day steady will hold, At least two pounds for a three year old. Early in the mornin' of the first snow, We corralled and penned 'em ready to go, Into the truck and the trailer - all in a row, We got each one in and had 'em in tow. When we got 'em down to the feedlot scales, There'd been leakage underneath their tails, We waited our turn amid the stockyard smells, Pushed open the door and the steers down the rails. Then I looked on the scales and began believin', There in front stood a herd with sides a heavin', I figured out fast that I would at least break even, Or come out ahead due to the liquidity they were leavin'.

There's a time in the mountains beyond the hill, You can't drink it all in and may never will. The cattle are shipped and drop fences are down, And we've made that one last trip into town. The gates are propped up to last through the snow, And the cabin is closed and we're ready to go. There's a time in the valley at the foot of that hill, Time slows to a stop and then seems to stand still. The aspens glow warm in the late autumn sun, And the high mountain snow has melted and run. The hay's all stacked and the crick's run dry, And frosty fall air warns that winter is nigh.

This is a time of satisfaction second to none, It's a time of fulfillment when the work's all done. Paul shared this photo of " bovine splendor. It's not often that steers pose for a portrait, let alone look at themselves in a mirror before they do -- especially this bunch of wild fence busters. If he can't break a fence down, he'll jump six feet in the air to get over it. Always nice to get cattle like that shipped and on their way. A hollow wrenchin' in the gut comes on a little cold, As you climb aboard that unbroke colt and go to take a hold, You know well what to expect and can feel it in each bone, So many have been broken, this feelin' is well known.

Though you hate for young horses to ply the buckin' trade, And do your best to hide from them this talent God has made, By sackin' out and round pen work and easy as she goes, But some just have a knack to launch a rider 'fore he knows. They call 'em athletic, they're just heedin' natures call, They've a well-formed hip and overstep and seem a little tall, Not mean by disposition just sensitive about the girth, Gotta get 'em past this so they can claim their right of birth.

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Someone has to climb aboard and be willin' to pull leather, Could be you or maybe me, odd ducks of different feather, So you ask me what it's like atop a buckin' horse, And how it feels to lose your seat in a trajectory off course. Well first of all I have to say that it'll nearly always hurt, To hit the ground at runnin' speed face down in rocks and dirt, In my time I've tried out gravel, pavement, dirt and sand, Regardless though the bruises come no matter where you land.

When you see him bog his head and hump his saddleback, And he's pullin' at the reins and hogs up all the slack, And fakes a lope to fool you just to catch you off your guard, It's too late to recuperate 'cause you're airborne now old pard'. The highest that I've ever flown is five feet over saddle, For ten feet up and ten feet fore - and thus begun the battle. There are some things you have to know before you pick a fight, Some horses buck up leftwards and some buck to the right. Somehow you need to figure out how landin' hurts the least, I light upon my left where I don't seem to get so creased, I've learned to tuck 'em in - my wrists into each arm, But never seem to walk away from havin' done a little harm.

At first when you take flight you think your life is at its end, Below you see your saddle movin' out upon your friend. It always seems the ground comes up faster than it should, Your hip and leg hit first, then the other strikes like wood. Your teeth all grind together as your head flops to the ground, Your eyes and ears fill up with dirt, you can't hardly hear a sound, You catch your wind and check your bones and try to find your feet, Your elbow rips through your sleeve and your face flushes with heat.

Paul told us: Truthfully, whenever I reread it I get to thinking - maybe I'm getting a little old for this. But then, I don't know how to get a horse more to my liking than to gentle him and train him myself. Springtime grass grows thick and green, To bring new life to the yet unseen, A round of living has again begun, Under a full moon and a brand new sun. That endless rotation of the sky, Leaves track and sign for both you and I, That a cowboy's heart beats just so far, Before it's hitched to that one last star.

When summer ranges are all grazed down, And winds have scorched them all to brown, Old partners with furrowed lines, Know to read the tracks and signs. When winter winds howl mean and cold, And a cowboy's heart grows tired and old, The sign of the grass he knows so well, With the rangeland tracks has a tale to tell.

That a good man who knows his station, Looking after part of God's creation, Raising cattle and horses on that place, Has come to know the Master's grace. It's in this knowing that he lets it go, To unfenced ranges he'll come to know. This poem is included in our Art Spur project.

Perhaps you will remember the time when they were weaned, It takes some time for the human kind to go and break away, But feelin's of some twenty years come on all picked and cleaned, And rise up high into my throat and stick - what else can I say? Pretty soon the day-to-day becomes thoughts just memorized, It was this way once or that way twice or was it meant to stay? But what of the boy who took the jumps on a pony that I prized, And left me breathless as he lifted off astride the dapple gray? Perhaps it's just a dusty blur those hopes of years now passed, It's somethin' that I treasure and would never trade away, But what of the boy who used to ride like it would be his last, And worked along with no complaint in fields of fresh mown hay?

Poetic movement from his horse pure black and highly withered, Is what I recall from the high-speed chase of cattle on that day, But his saddle's empty now and dry and cracked and weathered, And he's off a chasin' his own dreams and headin' on his way. There are few places where you can have such an intimate concert experience amid the beauty and breathtaking views of the San Juan Mountains.

Each time we visit Telluride we attend a summer concert festival and have experienced the music genius of Pearl Jam, Beck and Ben Harper.

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Mountains - Wikiquote

In this park setting, you can set up a sun shade, put your bare feet in the grass and let your kids run around while gazing at the awe-inspiring views. I like to paddle around the perimeter of the shallow, turquoise String Lake as people picnic, paddleboard and swim when the mountain water is warm enough. I love to ski and was introduced by locals to WFO in when I worked at a restaurant in town. WFO is a bit of a traverse from most chairlifts on the hill, but being able to always find fresh lines is worth the trip!

Telluride has it all—from the historic town that is totally walkable, to the seasonal festivals bluegrass anyone? On a mountain spine, I feel the tension between what is tangible and the expanse of what is beyond. The ridge is akin to the touching of polar emotions, the intricate line between earth and sky.

Exploring the Beartooth Mountains of Montana and Wyoming reminds me of this.

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I am in awe of the sheer magnitude of beauty and force. For me nothing can compare to its mountains, valleys and rivers that surround it. Trail running the Upper Loop is my passion and meditation. I stand waist-deep in water, lulled by the rhythm of my cast—surrounded by mountains and meadows in the fading light of a perfect evening.

In the evenings we like to drive up into the park with a thermos of hot chocolate to hear the elk bugle and to stargaze. I love to ski and was introduced by locals to WFO in when I worked at a restaurant in town. WFO is a bit of a traverse from most chairlifts on the hill, but being able to always find fresh lines is worth the trip! Telluride has it all—from the historic town that is totally walkable, to the seasonal festivals bluegrass anyone?

On a mountain spine, I feel the tension between what is tangible and the expanse of what is beyond. The ridge is akin to the touching of polar emotions, the intricate line between earth and sky. Exploring the Beartooth Mountains of Montana and Wyoming reminds me of this. I am in awe of the sheer magnitude of beauty and force. For me nothing can compare to its mountains, valleys and rivers that surround it. Trail running the Upper Loop is my passion and meditation. I stand waist-deep in water, lulled by the rhythm of my cast—surrounded by mountains and meadows in the fading light of a perfect evening.

In the evenings we like to drive up into the park with a thermos of hot chocolate to hear the elk bugle and to stargaze. The grandeur of the landscape is breathtaking. Guanella Pass was one of the first places that I camped and hiked when I moved to Colorado, and it remains one of my favorite mountain spots. Just a little over an hour from Denver sits this beautiful oasis. Camping spots line the scenic route all the way to the Silver Dollar Lake Trail, a 3.


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