A day of Labors
Labor Day is a time for me to go out and visit the grasslands, a place of vastness, quiet, and a place where I can contemplate afterwards. On the hi-plains there are few trees to obscure the view, 100 mile views are normal and with glasses even further. Here is where the buffalo roamed and the Indian followed. The cattlemen drove their cattle cross here and the settlers rolled their wagons. Here I can touch history, walk the path and say thanks to the early travelers.
This stretch of road leads over a ridge and beyond is the headwaters of the Republican River. It was part of a stage route, pioneers and cattle drives. The basin I’m in is the Arkansas River and the tow do not meet. The Republican flows into the Missouri and was an easy route for travelers. It parallel the Smoky Hill River and they had numerous routs.
The Indians had roamed the area for generations and knew where the springs and ponds were and guided the white man into the area. It is the trails of the early Indians that the settlers followed after the explorers had been through.
Knowing where the water was is also what the cattlemen followed. The trail drives would start in west Texas and end usually in Montana. The goodnight-Loving trail was used a lots to get to Colorado from there it up and down crossing the ridges and divides following the dry cricks searching for water. Cattle herds were in the thousands and would take weeks to move north. Drovers, wranglers, scouts and cookie moved the cattle across the open prairie, battling storms, floods, bugs and prairie range fires.
This area is a crossroads for the stage from Nebraska rolled across here, the stage from Kansas a ways south, the gold seekers traveled by and the railroad laid rails a few miles south. Today it is pasture land and cattle range on the grass. The antelope are curious onlookers and scores of birds float overhead.
Here I can be a peace with God and watch his ever changing tableau. There are the hunted and the hunters. The beauty of the flowers, waving grass and man’s footprint, God has been here and I am thankful.