Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rocking and Rolling with Nevada's Cows


When it comes to entertaining yourself and family in Nevada, I'm sure the first thing that comes to mind is attending shows in Las Vegas or visiting ghost towns. While those are worthwhile, I propose a different type of entertainment, although it is not the kind you can buy tickets to, or actually plan to visit with a map and book in hand.

I am talking about camping with range cows. Really. If you happen to camp near them, they will gather to watch the phenomenon that is you, and if you display non-aggression, or talk to them, soon they will come over for a closer look. Sometimes too close.

My husband, Roy, and I chose to camp in the mountains above Austin in our Suburban one June day. With grasses and sagebrush around us, and mountain views in the distance, we congratulated ourselves on picking such a beautiful spot. Roy placed the cooler outside, then we wandered around enjoying nature. A herd of 30 cows, 10 calves, and 2 bulls were nearby; they walked on their own trail back and forth and stood staring at us in small groups.

I was a tad nervous at the sight of those bulls, those animals are BIG, but Roy assured me they would not bother us.

In the evening the wind kicked up, the air cooled down, and as twilight progressed, we finally climbed into the Suburban, lying down in the back to read and listen to the radio.

Suddenly, our rest was disturbed when a cow face loomed in the window. We sat up to see a most astonishing sight. All of the herd, every single cow, was grouped around the cooler, taking turns licking the rim with their long cow tongues, exploring it thoroughly, like some sort of festive ritual, pushing each other out of the way to get at the cooler first. It was hilarious. And rather disgusting. Fortunately, the lid was shut tight, and let's not think too hard about cow saliva all over our food storage...icky.

When they finally had enough of that, most of them moved off, and we had relaxed once more, when the Surburban began rocking back and forth. It felt like an earthquake, but it was not; the all-black Big Bull was scratching his neck on the bumper, and seemed to be quite enjoying himself. He was so huge, his back was a good eight inches over the top of the vehicle. Roy rolled down the window and said “You can't do that, Mr. Bull! Mr. Bull, get out of here!” But Mr. Bull totally ignored Roy. What nerve!

He kept right on scratching, and we kept right on rocking. I guessed a bull would weigh a ton, and I wondered if we would be rolled over.

Soon a younger bull was in the act, and the bigger bull had to let him know who was boss. Thus, both began a low growling and roaring, as they paced around each other, bellowing, grunting and continuing to rock the truck. It was both funny and nerve-wracking; we were certainly trapped inside until they finally left as dark descended.

I guarantee you will never be bored when you rock 'n' roll with Nevada's range cows.

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