So my first day was a little rough. So what? I'd only just begun, and I had a lot of naive hope that I would somehow learn to read both Kristen and Bill's minds (or close enough) so that I could do what was asked of me. The next day, Kristen took me to check the Ditch. What's the Ditch, you ask? It took a lot of gleaning, but I eventually learned that it was a man-made river of sorts from all the way back in the 1800's that supported the irrigation of Smit and two other ranches downstream.
Our mission at the Ditch was to monitor the water levels and to look for any fallen debris that might be affecting the flow of water. I rode on the back of Kristen's four-wheeler alongside a dog named Peggy Sue on one of the most unfortunately unkempt roads I'd ever been down. This road had a sign that had been appropriately vandalized to read "Road Maintenance Comes Never." My butt, situated over metal bars spaced a good four inches apart, was really hurting by the time we got there.
We hopped off shortly after passing a sign warning us of grizzly bears, which, from Kristen's point of view, was a mere silly warning a citizen of Harrison had insisted upon erecting. Peggy Sue hopped down. I noticed that she rarely used one of her back legs. I later found out it was due to an injury she had gotten when she was a puppy. She was a likable old black dog with white hair around her eyes and mouth from her age. She was a small dog, though I don't remember quite what her breed was. She was a cross, anyway; I remember that. She was about the size of a beagle but her ears perked up like wolf's. And there was no doubt that she was as fierce as a wolf when it came to helping herd the cattle.
The walk along the Ditch was very pleasant, and it was a trek I would grow familiar with and fond of before my time at the ranch was over. We passed hillsides coated in gorgeous, bright yellow wyethia flowers and a lake that that hid impressive fish beneath the obscurity of its surface. Kristen had made it known that she didn't like pictures taken of her, but I asked her to take some of me in front of a view of towering mountains. I was falling in love with the beauty of Montana.
After the hike, I had lunch back at the ranch house. Chance was there. He asked me how the hike was as if he expected me to have had trouble with it. I'd done quite a bit of hiking in my day, and it had actually been a breeze. I told him that it was beautiful, but it had seemed perhaps a bit long after all; some of the trail was arduous simply for the fact that we had to wade through thick, uncleared brush. He nodded. "Yeah, that elevation. It'll get ya." Actually, it didn't bother me a bit that I had noticed, but I held my tongue. Hard to argue with the embodiment of charm as he flashes his pearly-white smile at you.