Like a scene from the Wild West, every spring for the past 72 years, following the exact same route, our friends, the Mink family of Cambridge, drive a herd of their cattle from their winter feedlot to the green grasses of their private pastures west of Council Mountain. The yearly cattle drive has now run for five generations.
Starting at the crack of dawn, when the sun is coming up, family and friends move the cattle starting along busy Hwy 95. They will travel east along the highway keeping the cattle to one side of the road.
Almost all of the motorists delayed for a few minutes are courteous and slow down but sometimes they will get the occasional impatient driver not willing to slow down. Because of this safety hazard, their cattle dogs are not used until they get off of the highway. Kids are also invited to come along but they can’t ride horses on the highway until they are at least 10 years old. Around three hours into the drive, they will exit the highway and continue moving the cattle for a couple more hours until they reach their beautiful pastures covered with blooming Arrowleaf Balsamroot.
The cattle will stay in their spring pastures until June, where they will be moved again, but this time up into the forested mountains and higher elevations of Council Mountain for the summer. In the fall, starting in October, the whole process is reversed and the cattle are brought back home to spend the winter back in Cambridge. The Minks could move their cattle the modern way by hauling them in big cattle trucks, but it’s continuing traditions like these that make life living in rural Idaho ranching country so unique. (All the photos above are courtesy of Jodie Mink)
I found this video from the 2014 cattle drive on the Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission website.
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