The Powderhorn is located at the end of the pavement on state highway 91, the Cold Springs Road, about 25 miles southwest of Douglas. Home to a few more than 5,000 people, Douglas straddles the North Platte River, the main thoroughfare used by wagon-and-walking pioneers moving from Missouri starting-points into the West in the mid-1800s. To this day, there are Oregon Trail wheel ruts, memorial markers and tall tales in this area. Most travelers passed by here in the spring and summer, warned to get beyond Independence Rock and hop from the Platte to the Sweetwater River no later than July 4th or risk getting caught in life-threatening winter storms when they reached the Sierras. Ten-thousand foot Laramie Peak to the south of us was an important mile marker on the horizon as they left the Nebraska and eastern Wyoming plains, proof of westward progress for their efforts.
Still prone to booms and busts, Douglas can bustle when oil prices are high and the Powder River Basin fields are busy; it can be drowsy when the Powder empties of oil workers. Throughout, agriculture persists. Converse County is mostly cattle country, with some hay farming and a few sheep.
Similarly, the Powderhorn is grazing country, with pretty sharp relief in the terrain – many of the hillsides are 45 degrees in pitch. But, the bottoms run with seasonal creeks, and aspen groves give tale to wet spots at all elevations. The Headquarters are about at the low spot on the ranch, around 6,000 feet above sea level. The west-most pasture a few miles away reaches about 7,100 feet.
The acreage is probably best described as Laramie Range foothills, with higher altitudes and deeper timber stretching up and away from our south border. Some of the Powderhorn is wide open grassland without a bush to hide behind; some is thick sagebrush, ubiquitous in Wyoming; and some is pine and aspen stands alternating with open pockets of grass.
Other pages on this site will describe the cattle, horses and wildlife that share the property. Some of them, notably the whitetails, are almost fully dependent on us irrigating the farm ground. Water is everything here, and it's not so long ago that neighbors sparred to fisticuffs over the limited supply.
Incidentally, the ranch has long been known as the Powderhorn Ranch. It is owned by Diamond Ranches, LLC and operated by Diamond Land & Livestock, LLC, companies of the Diemer True family.