My Land | Chapter XII (day 1179)

I could feel John-bo getting nervous with so many wolves around so I dismounted and carried on by foot. He was a good horse and would come when I needed him.

Because of my up-wind advantage I was able to get quite close to the pack. I counted nine of them, and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get more than four before they dispersed.

I could make out the two alphas I had come to know. They were restless and stood back a way as the others seemingly oblivious to anything around them lazed in the afternoon blood sun.

I noticed neither one of them had feasted. Neither had blood on them.

I knew these two.

The previous fall I had had a run-in with the two while out checking my lines. It was a cold winter day and I had my head down as I plowed snow. A fresh layer lay on my path. My snow shoes helped. The black one with the white stripe between it’s eyes had been watching me for quite some time before I realized it, I guessed. I wasn’t sure whether it was wanting to become my friend or whether it knew about as much as I did about what to do.

At any rate, there it was about 20 meters to the North along the edge of a copse of birch trees. As soon as I raised my long barrel it disappeared. No more than 15 minutes later as I was coming around a large Fir tree it was right in the middle of my path waiting for me. As we both stood there motionless in the cold winter air, our breaths floating away like our whispering spirits, I saw the white one with the black nose tracing the path the white striped one had taken.

There was no shock. No cause for alarm. They weren’t growling at me, bearing all their fangs to scare. They were just watching me, like they might do to as their cubs played in the fresh earth.

[note: to read the full epic track my land]

My Land | Chapter XI (day 1178)


Our pack of lambs had started with one ram and three ewes. Tim and Casey had mentioned they were interested in starting a herd and our land was perfect for having them graze.

The only problem we anticipated were the wolves, coyotes, and natives. I had taught Tim everything I knew about a gun, and my long barrel was always oiled.

We pooled our money from a few rabbit, beaver, bear, and wild cat pelts we had trapped on our lines over the year and the following spring I brought the four sheep home from Missoula along with the seeds for the years plant.

That was three years ago now.

I remember holding the first baby lamb in my hands the following spring and realizing that this is what starting a family was like. Something I had only a glimpse of when I was married.

I thought of how timid those first three lambs were as I would accustom them to me as I watched the wolves enjoy the summer blood soaked sun.

[note: to read the full epic track my land]

My Land | Chapter X (day 1177)

The other men were friendly. They would keep a wary eye on me. I figured it was given the nature of my looks, but they relaxed as time went on. The women who weren’t married enjoyed my foreign seeming ways, especially so with Jules.

I figured she was around twenty three. She had long sandy brown hair that she would keep tied up in a loose bun that came down as she was going to jump into the water or when she was getting ready for nighttime. To me there was something unearthly beautiful about the moment she let it down. Every time I saw her doing this I would stop and every time I would stop she would enjoy the moment a little bit longer with her hair, steady herself, then look me straight in the eye. Every time. Of course I would just stare back with virgin love in my eyes.

Her father had been a traveling doctor in upper New York. She had six brothers and one other sister. Only one of her brothers had joined her to come out West, who was noticeably younger than her. The rest of them had virtually abandoned the two of them after their father had fallen out of his carriage one dreadful night coming home from an out-of-the-way house call.

Tim, her younger brother, and I got along good too as soon as he noticed my gun.

Jules had attended King’s College to study what she called “Money’s Seb. Money’s make the world go round.” It was hard for me to understand why a woman who knew money would head West in search of something different. It also confused me why such a soft spoken and earthed woman would be interested in money. Perhaps this was part of the reason Jules and Tim had left.

[note: to read the full epic track my land]

My Land | Chapter IX (day 1176)

Rick-John told me how earlier on their journey they had lost two of the girls to a couple of cowboys promising a thousand acres and the most beautiful country a man had ever seen.

I suggested that maybe that wasn’t a loss and maybe it was a beautiful thing. He didn’t seem to understand what I was getting at. Perhaps he was getting greedy.

This reminded me of a legend I once heard of a man living in the wilderness with his daughters because he didn’t trust anyone and couldn’t handle losing a piece of his stead. I can’t imagine what it was like for his daughters as they birthed his children. I had always hoped that one of them was educated some how. Legend has it that his wife slit her own throat with his prized knife. The bastard didn’t even know she was missing until he looked for his knife.

Rick-John, of course, was as innocent as any bank-teller yet as foot loose and wagon jumping as any Iroquois I’d ever met.

I oiled my long barrel thinking about this, John-bo neighed softly in the darkness nearby.

[note: to read the full epic track my land]

My Land | Chapter VII (day 1175)

At night we would all have our tents and sleeping places set and sit around a small campfire. Making too much smoke and light would mean alerting the people we didn’t want to alert. A smart choice.

The coyotes would howl every night. Coyotes and wolves. I hoped they were coyotes at any rate. They never came close though, they were always off in the woods in the distance corralling some innocent prey.

It’s funny thinking about the way nature works without human intervention – naturally this is part of the reason why I chose to head west. In New York ground was ruined most likely forever (or at least scarred) from human’s intervention. There is always a scramble, an urgent scramble to the top, for the most, to accumulate all the wealth, riches, property, land, gold, clothing, food… It’s different understanding the true necessities of life.

The coyotes don’t live with luxuries like leather boots or cutlery or fat bank accounts and they get along just fine. Us humans though, we feel it our duty to posses planet earth and declare it a free for all.

The waste, the abuse, to be entirely honest is there even much beauty to go along with it? I find it hard to believe such transformation of the land is healthy for mother earth.

One thing I enjoy on the trial is the amount of time I have to sit in the saddle and watch the wilderness float on by.

[note: to read the full epic track my land]

My Land | Chapter VI (day 1129)

By the time we had made our way to the next post we were all lifetime friends. I was of course more of a loner, but I had none-the-less made myself a good few friends.

At first some of them were a bit skeptical, I must have looked like a bandit with my mukluks and leathers. They were gifts – I had explained, which was only half true. I won them over with my experience, there were far too many bright eyes in this pioneer train.

Of course the ladies were intriguing to a young bachelor like myself, striking off to start a life of his own. They kept me at a distance knowing what they knew about the old land we had left behind.

Rick-John, called so because of his rickety like movement he pressed forth with, was a friendly chap who struck up conversation right from the start. He had been a bank teller in the old land on account of his ‘Rick’. It’s hard to do manual labour with a Rick. He liked my long barrel. He said he’d never seen a machine look as loved as mine did.

He told me of the various times his bank had been robbed by the notorious gangsters of the time back there in New York. He said he could handle any Indian raid after what he had been through. I knew he was probably bluffing, that he would most likely be the first one dead or pissing his knickers. All the same, I wanted to keep peace, to have no excuse to be raided. I knew better.

This was a reason for my own caution, my own hesitation for staying with the pioneers.  They did make good company and made the lonely time in between not so lonely.

It was a long journey across my land.

[note: to read the full epic track my land]

My Land | Chapter V (day 1128)


I had started my journey West by myself. Myself and John-bo my trusty steed. John-bo was a donkey. John-bo carried my two wooden packs on each side, day in day out. I walked beside.

For the first seven days of travel I came upon pioneers of all sorts. Some just starting out, some coming out. One day I reached a sign that said: “End of the road. New York back that way. If you’re walking this way you have 15 days until you will reach the next post.”

I knew trading posts were common along these routes.

I checked John-bo’s packs. We had enough rice for four months. I was glad I didn’t have to pack his food too.

It took me a while to get used to the walking. I was used to light stepping through city streets by this time wearing awful fashions I hadn’t really enjoyed. I hadn’t been able to get a proper pair of mukluks until I was well into Iroquois land.

I had walked into a friendly Seneca village who hadn’t been expecting me. I must have slipped past their scouts with my light stepping – not likely. Like I said, they were peaceful.

There were a few other white men there in the village. Some were drunk and chasing women. The Seneca men cringed when we both caught site of one. I think they eyed me suspiciously because of this. I hoped I wouldn’t find this in all the villages I would come along.

I should have taken my long barrel to the drunks. I could tell they wanted me to.

I had kept my long barrel next to me for the first fortnight. I didn’t enjoy walking without it, for fear of the unknown. Perhaps because of laziness I found a slip to hold it on ol’ John-bo.

Ten days after I left Iroquois land, the Seneca, I came upon a line of twelve women and nine men. Only seven married couplets among them and four rascals, each old enough to know which end of the shotgun to look down. They talked a lot and moved slower, though I enjoyed the company. It was nice to not communicate in grunts and gestures.

[note: to read the full epic track my land]

My Land | Chapter IV (day 1127)

As I tracked along the worn path like a good ghost, I watched the pack instinctively. I wasn’t lost in thought, I was the eagle as it circled it’s prey.

I moved past around a lose crop of pines. They held my cover from the resting wolves that lay lapping at the blood soaking their paws and fur. I could smell them just by looking at them, though I was still four houndred yards away.

My long rifle was itching in my hands. I could hear her dancing on my shoulder and looking for a reason.

I can’t win every game of poker but I’ve sure got a good shot when I’m done.

A pioneer must do what a pioneer must get done, and this was my long barrel, the law maker true.

My long barrel smelt of the oil I cared for her with. She had come with me on the pioneer trail, from the eastern seaboard of North America. I had bought it from a gun runner who had probably taken it from the dead hands of an Apache. Regardless, it was a good gun. I was never scared the Apache would catch me (they would have recognized it in the way only a warrior can), I was a quick shot. I was afraid they’d catch me and I’d have no ability to fend for our lives.

[note: to read the full epic track my land]

My Land | Chapter III (day 1126)

I remember when the wind blew so hard one year it would blow over our tin cups that weren’t full on the old weathered kitchen table. Our house was warm when the fire was hot, and well ventilated in the summer – we can say that. It ain’t easy being a pioneer, when the land is dry and winters are cold.

The thoughts drain my efforts, drain my life. They’re happy thoughts when you remember the past, but they’re also jagged edges that twist the time away like yesterday was my mothers hand.

There should be holes in my heart with all the bullets I’ve let go. And all the tears that I’ve cried.

This life makes a man hard before he knows how to sing. Like the twisting pines around these parts that I know each by name.

And firewood.

[note: to read the full epic track my land]

My Land | Chapter II (day 1125)

It wasn’t long before I could see the dust kicked up in the distance from the pack I had been following. I knew they were hurt and could see it in their movement. They moved quick but I was moving quicker.

My long barrel could have taken them all there and then, and really it should have. I hadn’t time to be wastin’ away from the stead as I was.

I thought of simple things as I headed uphill; my fire stoked oven, hard chair, dust particles changing the hue of the room to match my lonely heart.

From here I knew a trail that tracked the edge of the ridge along the length of the valley. Before we were half way across I would be upon them with a vantage point to pick every single one of them off before they knew where I was. I was a fast shot, even with my long barrel.

I wondered how Tim and Casey Johnson were getting along, just East of my trail, just over the ridge. My trail ran North-South. I had come from the North and was heading South following this rogue pack of wolves that had taken two of my lambs. I was born a tracker, and these were my lands. The wolf was my birth sign, but my lambs were my right.

[note: to read the full epic track my land]