What is Backtrailin’??

A view back up a country creek with brush on both sides.

Backtrailin’ is a term you don’t hear much anymore. It’s a term belonging to a time and place where there weren’t so many highways and high lines, and features of civilization to use for navigation. As a traveler passed through a piece of country, he would frequently turn around and look back the way he came, memorizing it so that he could find his way on the return trip. You see, country looks different coming then going, and a fella’ could get lost if he wasn’t backtrailin’.

Backtrailin’ is also reminiscing about events and people. Some days, I find I do a lot of it. Mostly people who are very dear to me, from whom I learned a lot and hopefully gained wisdom. I also remember some of their sayings. One of my favorite for these was my neighbor, Roy Herrmann, a Herford breeder, rancher and true friend. Often he would quote older folks he had known in his Central Texas youth with things like,

“Experience is what you’ve got left when you’ve lost everything else.”


“if it was raining soup, I’d be standing outside with a fork!”

He talked about modern ranching techniques:

“if you cull like they say to do, you’ll end up with a herd of only two cows!”

And one of my favorite:

“coastal bermuda grass is as good as they say it is and as bad as they say it is!”

Once he told my wife

“on a scale of 1 to 10, you’re 13!”

I agreed with him on that one. Adios Roy old pard, we’ll see you once again up the trail.

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