3 Jan 2007 Search for starving cattle

Photos by Bruno Krioussis. Searching grids down by Trinidad, CO for herds of cattle who haven't been fed since the recent snowstorm. Crew: Sue, BillO, Bruno in 49H.

Ground was dry at Colorado Springs for briefing, and dry passing Pueblo... then the snow started getting deep, with fenceposts barely sticking up through the snow. The major roads were already plowed. Some herds of cattle clearly had 4wd tracks going in where the farmers had been haulling them hay, but many did not. We called locations of the at-risk herds in to a C130 dropping hay. Landed at LaJunta for fuel, only one runway was plowed and it was a bit more narrow than normal! Better than having to go all the way to Kansas for fuel tho.

Bruno was the "eagle eyes", finding most of the herds of cattle. At briefing that morning, George Mixom had warned us that it was tough to tell the cattle from the brush sticking up through the snow. At the time we all chuckled, but man he was right! Out in the open it wasn't bad, but in the trees it was tough to find the cattle. Lots of tracks but tough to spot the herd.

We were called out of grid early because of an approaching storm that evening, which was fine with us because of concern with high forecast winds at FNL - the crosswind runway isn't lit. But we got back just before dusk, with winds straight down the main runway so no problem.

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