Cowboy Life: Cussin' Dust and Heat and Flies and Cattle
CowboySpirit.TV - The American Cowboy has become an icon of heroism, with just the right balance of grit and wisdom. They are at once a rogue and a wise sage. They live the dream, right? They travel the wide wide open plains with Mother Nature as their guide and spend each night under a canvas of brightly lit stars. A cowboy is his own boss. He wakes at dawn and rides his faithful companion into the sunset.
But how ideal was the life of the true Cowboy? It certainly wasn't glamorous. It was pretty lonely. The lifestyle was dangerous, and the day-to-day existence was full of dust, flies, heat and cattle. When it gets down to it, most people would rather watch 'em than be 'em. Here's a look at why.
Cowboys weren't herding cattle through rain forests. Some of the most famous trails:
- Chisolm Trail - Extended from southern Texas, through Oklahoma, and concluded in Abilene, Kansas.
- The Goodnight-Loving Trail - Whew! This was a long haul in order to avoid dangerous "Indian Country". It brought cattle from Ft. Worth, all the way through the western portion of Texas, up through Utah, Colorado, and into Wyoming.
- The West Shawnee Trail - This trail led from Texas, through Oklahoma, cut through Kansas and wound up in Missouri.
The terrain of any of these trails involved foliage that had been trampled by repeated livestock herding. The dust produced by a cattle drive was noxious. It settled into every itchy crevice and crease in their clothing - and their bodies. It was not only itchy, it was downright painful at times.
Cattle drives ran from April through November. What's in the middle? Summer. Sun. Heat. The sun was brutal at times and there was no escaping it in the wide open plains of the south- and mid-west. Temperatures could soar into the 100's and all of that heat meant a great deal of sweat. Add a large dose of cussin' dust and it was a sensory nightmare.
Flies & Cattle
Where there are cattle, and horses, and sweaty humans, there are flies - buzzing, biting, agitating flies by the thousands. Cowboys rode through clouds of dust and clouds of flies for thousands of miles under constant risk of cattle stampedes and fatal Indian raids.
There are obvious draws to the life of the American Hero, but it is almost always better to play Cowboy than be a Cowboy from an Old West cattle drive.
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