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We are almost a week into our first serious field stint. It’s been beautiful out here and really fun but very hard work.

Days begin before the sun is up, gear has to be packed and loaded onto the 4-wheeler, and then we start covering miles and miles of trails and roads looking for animal sign. We go until 6 or 7 pm and hope to make it back to our cabin before dark. Then dinner gets cooked on camp stoves and dishes washed in the creek. Then we pack gear for the next day and read by candlelight until we fall asleep.

It’s rustic and quiet and kind of awesome. But I am ready for a shower and a real bed. We will be out here for another week or so I think.

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The ranch we are staying on is really amazing. They have 12,000 acres at the foot of the Beartooths. The ranch was purchased in 1901 by a man who was at that time the president of the New York stock exchange. He purchased a total of 40 homesteads in the area, and once tax laws started charging per building he burned down most of the old settler cabins. Today they have a remote cabin (where we are staying), a large ranch compound operating as a dude guest ranch, a 3,000 head cattle facility, and homes where some of his descendants still live. One of the coolest things is that the original owner was close friends with the renowned western painter Charles Russell, who helped draw people out west and encourage preservation of places like Yellowstone with his paintings of the stunning landscapes. Apparently a number of the paintings produced by Charles were of the ranch where I am staying right now! (Yes, I am a nerd)

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