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The Road to the Cabin

It swept across the sage-covered hills below our cabin; visible only here and there as it ascended out of the creek bottoms and over bare ridges. Twelve miles to the north it started at the main Upper Nowood graveled road at the old Deiter Ranch, twisted and turned and dove mostly up and some down in a southerly way. From there and to the east is Box Elder Basin on the higher mountain slope where the yellow-green of the distant aspen groves and sweeping green meadows say its spring up there. It is too soon to rejoice just yet—the day is hot and the radiator begins steaming. After cooling a while, we are on our way again. Soon, higher and higher up the mountain, the air turned cool and the grass is green with patches of shooting-stars as we passed the sturdy log cabin of the Helms homestead at Cherry Creek Hill. From there it was not far to the sheep corrals at Lost Creek. And from there up the dim trail to our cabin and summer adventures.

We called it The Road because it was the only one in sight from our view across the vast expanses of the southern end of the Big Horn Mountains. Our own trail, which led up to the cabin from the sheep corrals was a two mile stretch of deep ruts, high sagebrush, and wet green meadows, was barely locatable in the spring. A mental map was in Dad’s mind, though, and each spring he headed up the mountain slope for the cabin as though the road were paved and marked with signs. The treeless meadows were landscape of fragrant mountain sage, sunflowers, lupines and in the wettest places, smiling clumps of shooting stars. We would breath in deeply, intoxicated by the redolence of spring in the mountains.

During the 1940’s there was little traffic on The Road. Days would go by without a single spotting. It was during the days of gas rationing and to spot a car was an Event. If we kids were lucky, we could first see it on the Road when it was only a flash of sun on the windshield on the other side of Lost Creek. My sisters and I spent a lot of time on the great jumble of rounded granite rocks next to the cabin and we kept an eye pealed for a car. It was cause for great excitement when we spotted one and we would dash to the cabin to inform Mother. The most thrilling possibility was that it might be a visitor coming to see us. More likely it was a camp tender for one of the sheepherders in the area.

Any company we had would arrive from Ten Sleep, 45 miles to the north, so traffic from that direction elicited much more interest than that coming from the west. A car’s progress would be watched with almost unbearable anticipation as it approached the Sheep Corrals. That was the critical spot, when a turning car was almost certainly coming to see us. Its progress seemed unnecessarily slow as it crossed rough places in the road, then speeding up until it came to a gate. With Dad’s field glass we would study the car and the person opening the gate in a vain attempt to identify the traveler.

A sighting built our expectation to an unbearable pitch and when a car drove past the sheep corrals without so much as slowing down we would feel a great let-down, comparable to a sad ending in a story. Our imaginations had built a fantasy replete with the delivery of special things to eat, fresh magazines and someone to tell our adventures to.

One summer Mother got a letter from her good friend and former Chicago classmate, Willa, that she would be arriving in Worland by bus. Could we pick her up? Willa was speechless with amazement at the absolute wilderness that we lived in. We thought it was the most civilized place on earth.Sometimes the Holland ranch camptender pickup from the west would turn up our trail, either coming to move their sheepherder or bring him supplies. Most often sheepherders were somewhat undesirable characters, but the Holland herder was different. Scotty kept his wagon spiffy, and the aroma of baking would greet us before we reached the wagon. We loved to visit Scotty—his burr transported us from the green slopes of Wyoming to the green hills of Scotland. After a visit from the camptender we would troop over to his wagon a mile or so from the cabin and find out if there was any news or maybe new magazines we could look at, but mainly just a visit with Scotty who loved to have our company.

The sheep corrals where we turned up the trail to the cabin were the gates to paradise. To anyone else it was nothing but a dilapidated enclosure of wire and poles, but to us it was like opening a new adventure book, where every page (day) brought something different, always good, although a sad ending, when, at the end of summer we headed back down The Road to town and school.


Jim Davis
2021



Alistair Ronald Turner Obituary
November 7, 1942 ~ April 3, 2021 (age 78)

Alistair Ronald Turner passed away April 3, 2021 at the age of 78. He was born November 7, 1942 to Dr. James Ronald and Helen Muriel Turner in Kilcoy, Queensland, Australia where his father was serving as a medical doctor during World War II. In 1947, Alistair and his family moved back to their home country of New Zealand where he was raised and educated. Alistair earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from Canterbury University in Christchurch and later continued his post graduate studies at the University of Adelaide in South Australia, earning a Master of Science degree in Economic Geology. On October 8, 1966 Alistair and Kristen McDonald were married in Blenheim, New Zealand.

Alistair was a dedicated Professional Geologist specializing in precious metal exploration. His work took him to many locations throughout Australia for the Anaconda Company in search of nickel and gold deposits including the Kalgoorlie region of Western Australia. In 1977, Alistair accepted a new position from Anaconda in the USA to explore the Stillwater district in Montana principally for chromium, platinum, and palladium. As a result, he and Kristen and their young family immigrated to the USA, settling in the small mountain town of Nye. While in Montana, Alistair explored the Beartooth Range (Stillwater Valley) discovering economic deposits of chromium and palladium which are being mined to this day. In 1979, Alistair moved for a final time with his family to Littleton, Colorado to work from Anaconda’s North American headquarters in Denver. In 1989, he led the North American branch of the Australian-based company Boulder Gold Group in Denver, eveloping precious metal and steel projects. His work took him all over the world including Alaska, Canada, South Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius, Iceland, Germany, and Russia prior to retirement. Alistair was well respected by his peers for his knowledge and strong work ethic. These traits have been passed down to his family of which he was immensely proud and supportive.

Alistair enjoyed exploring the western USA with his family on camping vacations visiting many different National Parks and other points of interest. Alistair was good with his hands, completing carpentry and home improvement projects in his spare time and was an avid stamp and coin collector.

Alistair is survived by his wife Kristen of 55 years, three sons David (Marlene), Richard and Alan (Christie), five grandchildren, his brother Graham (Linda) and his extended family in New Zealand. He was an incredibly supportive, loving, and considerate person and will be missed.

A memorial service will be held Thursday, April 15 at 1:00 p.m. at Horan & McConaty, 5303 E. County Line Road (west of Holly St), Centennial, Colorado 80122. There will be a reception following the service. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Craig Hospital Foundation (https://craighospital.org/foundation/howtogive) or a charity of your choice in Alistair’s name.


 

 

 



 

The DREGS collection of memoirs from this page can be found at www.dregs.org/memoirs.html