Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sheepherders - and their dogs - at work

Early this morning we went looking for the sheep.

Each Fall, the sheep are moved by Basque shepherds. The sheep spend their summer in pastures near Heber, AZ - an area that is quite mountainous. Now they are on their way to Florence, a town of lower elevation and milder winters. The sheep march down the mountains and across the state, passing about 8 miles from our house.

We had no trouble spotting the sheep - we just drove out through the dry washs until we spotted a cloud of dust.

We were anxious to find the dogs and the herders - and we found them around their overnight camp. They were tearing down camp and preparing for their daylong walk.

The sheep were waiting for their day to begin, too.

The dogs got the signal, and work started.

The sheep have been moved along this trail for nearly a century. This may be the last year of the passage. Law suits have been filed to stop the annual trek, protesting environmental concerns the sheep create. Maybe the cities are encroaching...


Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

Great photos. Are they real, genuine Basque shepards? That's pretty neat.

Mary said...

cool pictures. I especially love the one with the towers in the background. Old and new. Kinda makes your point about the encroachment of civilization.

altadenahiker said...

Amazing shots. I'd hate to lose a tradition like this.

Sharon said...

What an interesting story and photos about the sheep hearding. I actually had no idea that the sheep were moved along a trail like that. Silly me, I thought they trucked them down here. I love your photos and the story.

About the little house on my Phoenix Daily Photo site, it is located just north of Camelback Road around 10th street. It is either on 10th street or 10th place, I'm not sure which.

FA said...

Sheepdogs are amazing. I have friends in Oregon whoe raise Australian Sheepdogs. It was fun to see them at work - because of their instinct it was even more fun to watch them try to herd the cats and the little kids. Great post.

To answer your question from the post you left on my blog - Yes, the statue in the left hand corner is the 15 year old St. Bernadette herself.

Lori Skoog said...

Thanks for sharing this. What a way for me to travel.