Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Miss Sugar Visits The Line Shack


In many of my previous posts, I have alluded to the fact that Miss Sugar, my hot trophy wife, is a feminine female.  She has another side.  (When I say another side, I am not referring to Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner’s two sides.)  I am saying that Sugar is sort of a Tom-boy in that she is fun to hang out with and do stuff that two middle school boys would enjoy.  Tonight we had a little adventure.  It was an adventure which many women might not have considered fun, or so Sugar tells me.  She suggested that not all women would have fun hiking past two dead cows to get to an old line shack far from civilization.  Do you think she is pulling my leg?  I invite comments from my readership on this question about what women like because I thought I am an expert on the subject until Sugar shook my confidence.  So, dear readers, even if other women would not have enjoyed this adventure, at least Miss Sugar did.  Or so she told me.

Now I will describe the adventure.  But first I will describe the setting.

We live only about twenty miles from the metropolis of Fort Collins, Colorado, rich in Old West lore.  Our little ranch is adjacent to a 16,000 acre ranch that goes back 143 years, still in the same family.  We are the last place on the road we live on, which means we had to put in several power poles to bring electricity to where it had not previously extended.  Prior to building our house, only buffalo, pronghorns, deer, elk and, later, cows occupied the land.  Beyond us is open range, which means there are no fences.  Cattle cross the road when and where they please.  Drivers must beware.  Cattle and wildlife have the right-of-way.  The Overland Trail passes through the historic ranch as well.

James Michener’s book, Centennial, describes the area and when the TV mini-series based on the book was filmed, many scenes were on the ranch.  (Remember, no electric poles and lines spoil the view).  My friend Rodney was an extra in the series, cast as an Indian riding a horse.  This was an area which was indeed Indian hunting grounds.  There are teepee rings near our home.  Teepee rings are in clusters, indicating a portable village was in the area where the buffalo truly roamed. The grass in our pasture is a species known as buffalo grass.  There is a buffalo jump on the ranch.  The Indians would run a herd off a cliff and butcher them at the bottom.  The ASPCA would not endorse this technique.

Cattle replaced the buffalo.  The ranches were so huge that the cowboys charged with taking care of the herd could not easily go to town, or even to the main ranch.  So little cabins known as line shacks would be roughly built for the cowboys who had to stay with the herd in winter months, sometimes snowed in.

A few miles from our house, on the open range, we came across an old log cabin with only one window in each of two walls and no windows on the other two walls.  It appears to be an old line shack.  It fits the need of providing shelter in a very remote pasture close to a stream of water and protected from the west wind by a hill.  It is far from any grocery store.

Of course, we could not drive up to it because it is off the county road.  We had to hike.

On our hike we passed two dead cows.  All that is left is hide and bones.  And the putrid smell of death.  I think the coyotes did their job as scavengers.  Miss Sugar held her nose and hiked on.  She brought her camera.  She looked inside the shack and inside the barn.  Here is a photo she took.

line shack

So, if you are looking for ideas for a Saturday date night, take your date to an old line shack rather than dinner and a movie.


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12 thoughts on “Miss Sugar Visits The Line Shack

  1. Well, trophy wives are more than perfect beauty, yes?! But if it were my EX trophy wife, I’d be pinching myself to make sure either cow wasn’t me. 🙂

  2. Sounds like a fun date to me, take along some snacks and something to drink and it would be an adventure to remember. Learn a bit of history, get out in nature, see some wildlife, look at the sky, get some fresh air and exercise. Better than just going out to eat and then to a movie and then those ‘expectations’ afterwards.

  3. that’s not a Texas Bed & Breakfast for sure!

    describes our Colorado B&B up the road from the line shack.

  5. I would like that little adventure. When I was little, we lived on a ranch in CA and I know very well what dead, rotting cows smell like! Yuck! I love exploring old buildings of all kinds…cabins, schools, houses in both urban and country settings. There’s just something about a place where people used to congregate/live but then have moved on. I wish walls could talk!

    • Then you understand our adventure. In the line shack, there was a blanket that someone left behind. Sugar wants to go back with a metal detector. There is also the site of a blacksmith shop at the bottom of a steep hill on the Overland Trail (location location location) and I expect a metal detector would find a lot of stuff there.

      • That’s so cool. If you do go back with a metal detector let us know what you find. Even if it’s only rusty nails, it’ll be interesting!

  6. Looks like a fine adventure to me. Line shacks are truly a lost part of the old West, a part of real cowboy-lore. I would be interested in hearing a bit more about the Overland Trail.

    • As I understand it, the Overland Trail ran from Kansas to Salt Lake City, Utah, mostly following the short-lived Pony Express route. We live on the part between Fort Collins and Laramie, Wyoming. There is a “stage station” called Virginia Dale close to the state line. Here ends the lesson for the day. Thanks for your interest. Sugar wants me to do “cowboy storytelling” at her gallery on Sunday afternoons. Good thing I already have a hat and other attire. I even have some stories.

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