Behind the Scenes of a Wagon Camp
- June 23, 2020
- Jolyn Young
Have you ever wondered what it was like to camp out on the wagon with the cowboy crew? Well, here’s how you can replicate the experience at home: Throw out all your food except canned goods and beef. You can keep a few other pantry staples, such as flour and sugar, but say good-bye to fresh vegetables and fluid milk. Sleep in your front yard every night with an inadequate amount of blankets for the weather conditions. For entertainment, you may rope the dummy or….well, that’s about it, actually. The wagon camp lifestyle doesn’t sustain any type of electronic entertainment, nor is the campsite equipped with WiFi or cellular telephone service, so you can basically throw a rope at something or turn to the person beside you and strike up a conversation.
I recently returned from a week-long stint as the cook on a spring wagon in northern Nevada, and lack of cell phone service was by far my favorite aspect of the trip. I absolutely LOVE turning off the constant stream of news headlines, junk emails, and endless beeps for text messages/voicemails/social media notifications/device updates that my phone emits on a daily basis. I enjoyed the seclusion of being camped out on the sagebrush desert, with a pretty little creek running behind the cook wagon and killer sunsets over the horse corral each evening. My kids enjoyed catching frogs, roping the plethora of dummies that the cowboy crew brought, and hanging out with their daddy when they branded calves nearby.
Negative aspects of the trip include rainstorms, snowstorms, beef packages labeled in Spanish (which I don’t speak), lack of running water, an insufficient amount of clean clothing for the children, and a stomach virus that violently assaulted my kids in the middle of the night and ultimately dictated our departure for civilization. But while we were out there, I snapped a few photos to share with you that illustrate life around a wagon camp.
Here is the basic set up of a wagon camp: A bunch of range teepees staked out on the desert.
Up at the corral, the cowboys hung their gear on the fence. Each had his own particular spot, and they tied tarps over their saddles, shoeing outfit, and other items when it rained.
Or snowed. Because it’s only June in northeastern Nevada, so yeah, snow is likely.
And also because it’s June in northeastern Nevada, 80-degree days are also likely. Before the cold weather rolled in, my kids enjoyed playing in the creek.
They also enjoyed roping with the cowboy crew. Here, Damian waits his turn while Milo (my four-year-old) swings just after Quentin threw a good head loop. Quentin wore a cotton glove and quickly taught himself to hold his rope between his index and second fingers after a green horse nearly cut his thumb off when he was catching horses on the first day of the wagon.
Over by the wall tent, my one-year-old son had fun roping the dummy sans clothes. Because when your smirk is this cute, you don’t need a shirt, right?
Milo enjoyed cleaning the remnants of bread dough out of the bowl after I put the loaves in the oven, just like he does at home.
At the end of a long day of cowboying, it’s nice to relax in front of your rag house and visit with a friend.
About Jolyn Young
Jolyn Young lives near Fallon, NV with her cowboy husband and 3 small kids. For more, visit www.jolynyoung.com....