Motorists traveling the old Highway 395 Sunday morning saw increased volume and slow-moving traffic. But it wasn't other motorists clogging up the roads, it was a herd of cattle.
The approximately 50 head and 15 riders were on their way from the summer pasture in Washoe Valley to their home pasture for the winter.
"We move the cattle when the feed starts to get low and before the snow comes," said Julian Smith, who owns some of them.
When he is not wrangling cattle, Smith practices law in his office in Carson City.
While the cattle can be moved by trailer to pasture leased by Smith in the spring, getting them back home in the fall is more difficult.
"There's no good corrals here to load them up so we drive them back home in the fall," said Smith.
For the last four years, he and three generations of his family have driven the cattle approximately four miles from the pasture land on Franktown Road, south on Old 395, through the underpass at the East Lake Boulevard exit to Smith's house.
From there, the cattle are sorted using ear tags and brands into those owned by Smith and those owned by Mary Minor.
Smith said he couldn't do it without the help of his family, who all try to make the ride.
"There are six grandchildren out here, ranging from 3 to 9 years old," said Smith.
Smith's daughter Joylyn Harmer said the family uses the drive to spend time together and catch up.
"It's a good chance to visit with each other while doing something outside and wholesome," said Harmer. "It's kind of become a tradition."
Smith's granddaughter Julia Ruedy, 7, wasn't as interested in the cattle as she was in just getting out and riding.
"I like doing it, riding and using the horses. It's fun," said Julia.
Smith said that while the drive does take several hours, it isn't really that hard to move the cattle home.
"You have someone at each driveway to make sure they don't go that way, and you have lots of help," said Smith. "We have plenty of help, and we've done it before. It doesn't always work perfectly, but we manage."
n Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.