Not counting dozing after Thanksgiving football games, here in the 21st century, we as a society have very few traditions. But after going through some photos from last season, I discovered a tradition in the making, by accident. Twenty years ago I took a photo of my first wire, Bill, with Steens Mountain in the background. On his first hunt in the area, Yankee had his portrait taken with the same majestic backdrop.
A couple weeks ago, I found this one … Buddy with the same mile-high fault block looming in the distance.
I’ve been to the top of this hill. Driven twice and walked once. I’ve traversed its slopes from east and west, slept at it’s foot dozens of times, fished its trout streams and lakes. Soaked, gratefully, in hot springs secreted at the mountain’s base. I’ve shared a bottle (actually, several) with cattle rustlers and buckaroos whose grandparents fought back Indian attacks where this mountain meets desert. And I’ve helped build a hideaway for a friend who introduced me to this place and was taken from us too soon.
It’s a place of memories past, and memories in the making, the one constant being dogs that have shared it’s magic and mystery. I hope to take several more photos of Buddy and his successors, from this spot, and make more traditions before I’m too crotchety to walk Steens Mountain’s rugged slopes any more.