Every October, cattlemen and their riders herd cattle out of the forests of the Uinta Mountains and down the Mirror Lake Highway. This year, cattle were herded in the snow as passers-by snapped pictures and asked questions.
Bobbie Williams of Friends of the Western Uintas helped with this year's round-up, which led cattle down the Mirror Lake Highway to the main corral at Slate Creek. She said it is one of the most exciting things she does, and she has written a poem about the experience.
"It's the excitement of your horse going full throttle out there," Williams said. "That's the exciting part, the part that gets your heart beating."
Cattlemen buy permits from the U.S. Forest Service to graze livestock on forest land, and Williams said the grazing season usually lasts from June until the first week of October. After the initial round-up is completed, they can often end up searching for strays for some time. Williams said she once found a stray cow in January.
"It's such a big part of our history," Williams said. "It becomes a family affair of letting people know that there are still cowboys out there. I love it. It's who I am."
Those participating in the round-up often have to avoid traffic while moving their cattle down the Mirror Lake Highway. Williams said some people simply stayed behind the round-up, taking pictures and being part of the experience.
Williams said the round-up always takes place on Oct. 3, rain or shine. She found it fitting that day turned out to be "the one snowy day of the week." Right now, cattlemen are looking for strays in the forest, she added.
"[Finding a stray cow] is like finding a needle in a haystack," Williams said. "The whole thing's exciting. When you find them, you're happy."