Under the Wire

Don’t fence me in


August 10, 2022

A recent, rare, Hodgson family vacation via automobile, drew me from the familiar flatlands of Eastern Colorado to an area so starkly different, it could have been the moon as far as I knew. In fact, it looked like an entirely different planet compared to what I have grown used to.

Our trip took us across the seemingly endless rocky hills and canyons of extreme W. Colorado and Eastern Utah. An area which to this grassland orientated cattleman, had no economical value to a rancher. I did find the I-70 journey fascinating. While we were passing through it at 80 miles per hour on a paved interstate, how did the first pioneers ever navigate such a place?

I was most impressed, not by the roads, rocky cliffs and raw beauty but, of all things, the fences. First, I need to explain, I am a fence guy. My father, an expert fence builder, started me on that path when I was probably no more than ten years old. Together, we built lots of very good fences. None, however, could equal what some amazing men have constructed along the road we were now traveling. Beautiful, straight fences, woven wire, topped by three strands of barbed wire on posts uniformly about then feet apart, standing straight up, with two stays between each one.

Forget about stories of the first settlers bravely making their way through uncharted territory, fending off marauding Indians, rock slides and lack of water. The men who built these fences were beasts! Down into the deepest canyons, climbing steep hillsides to the next rocky peak, repeating the process day after day with never a foot of variation, no giant fence building machine could ever have maneuvered that terrain.

I was blown away by the consistency of mile after mile of wonderful fence. While most travelers marvel at the ruggedness of the landscape, I focused on what these fencers had over come, not to mention critters waiting to bite them around every turn. That right there would have generated a letter of retirement from me!

Not once did I see a hole in the fence, broken wire or bent post. I’m telling you, to this old rancher, it was a thing of beauty!

Just finding a soft spot to drive a steel fence post would have been a challenge but hundreds, if not thousands? Admiration beyond words.

Any reader out there who has labored for hours in the hot sun building fence will understand my enthusiasm.

If you are going to “fence me in,” make it a good one!


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