Far from the comfort of their beds, under a relentless Montana sun, the Helle boys count sheep. Thousands of them.
Their task - while similar in name - is unlike the whimsical sleep aid. Counting sheep at the Helle Rambouillet Ranch in Dillon, Montana, is a far more intense ordeal; it requires wide-eyed, laser focus as masses of sheep and lambs dash through wooden pens sealed with iron gates.
The event marks the critical first step in what could safely be described as the last Odyssey of North American agriculture: Sheep Trail, an annual six day-journey on which 8,000 sheep traverse nearly 50 lateral miles and thousands of vertical feet within the rugged wilds of Southwest Montana’s Gravelly Mountains.
The sheep are bound for summer pasture and for destiny. This is a glimpse into their story and ours.