Today we went on the morning ride - I had to wear my hat to avoid a repeat of yesterday's somewhat excessive exposure to the sun (a.k.a. a very red nose). I was back on Sonny.
Again it was just the four of us led by head wrangler Dave, heading out of the ranch...
We headed out to Round Lake and the wide grasslands where we had a couple of goes at loping...
... then back down through the woods.
Above the ranch we paused for a photo
After lunch we decided to go gold panning down on the Fraser River with Mark from Vancouver and his daughters, guided by Joe. We all piled into Anne's pickup - the four girls in the back.
Several bumpy miles later we were descending to the Fraser River. Here there are irrigated fields from which they can take four hay crops in a summer - it grow like mad, then turn off the water and it's hay in a couple of days.
Down in the valley it's semi-desert, with sagebrush and prickly pear cactus.
The river can be crossed by ferry (2 cars or 1 truck) guided by overhead cables.
We set off hiking up the river side in search of gold.
On the way we found the footprints of doe and fawn
and a coyote
The scenery was spectacular (a.k.a. AWESOME)
Joe took Meld and I on a short hike up a canyon while the others panned for gold (or played on the beach)
Meld spotted a hand carved in the sandstone of the canyon wall
Back at the river - girls on the beach
Mark found some flakes of gold
Mark and I rode in the back on the journey up to the ranch. Before supper the girls all found hats and went off to visit the horses.
After supper, Dave sang cowboy songs and recited poetry as we sat around the campfire.
Then came the ritual branding of the jeans. I had one to match my previous...
Bridget decided she'd go for it too
Christine also took the risk
All the teenagers sat together
The final instalment was marshmallows toasted (or incinerated) on the fire.
So that's our time at Big Bar Ranch almost over - it's south over the mountain tomorrow, and time to pack up tonight.