This week the sheep were on the trail near Cottonwood on their annual trek to the summer grazing on parts of the national forest in the northern part of the state. The sheep had already walked about three weeks when a hiking club and my husband and I caught up with them on Monday. Tuesday, they were moved across the Verde River and will continue their trek until June 1st when they will be allowed to be on the national forest for the summer. Sheep ranchers pay the forest service to help keep a healthy forest by their sheep eating the tall grass and undergrowth that leads to worst forest fires. This should be a free service to grazing animal owners! If you put your mouse over each picture you can see the captions.
Four generations of sheep ranchers, mother, daughter and grandparents behind
Great Pyrenees – The guard dog
Joe and Carmen Auza – one of the last sheep ranchers in the state
Training a new dog
Trying to get the sheep to move across the river
Donkeys go first; if they will!
What are you looking at?
Loading the donkeys with supplies for the herders
The last of the flock to go across the Verde River.
It came to my attention a few years ago that the sheep industry in Arizona was disappearing. I love history, traveling to new places and research. These have been combined in researching this history. I am an independent researcher and speaker and also part of AZ Speaks with the Arizona Humanities. I hold a BA in Anthropology, a MA and Ph.D. in geography. My masters was in land use geography and the Ph.D. was more in historical geography. I love to travel and have visited all seven continents and more than 50 countries. I am a member of the Women Writing the West.
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