Bio: Daughter of Frank and Inge Galey grew up on the ranch, 1940s to mid 1960s. Descriptor: A tribute to Beth Woodin and Rachel Trahern following there passing. Both were prominent figures to Cindy and to the history of the ranch.
Cynthia’s Story: I am shaken by the recent loss of Beth Thomas Woodin (2018) and Rachel Trahern (2017). It is hard to express the deep meaning I have for each of them.
Beth or ‘Bethy’
Beth first came to the ranch in 1954 and returned many years as a dude. She worked at the ranch in the 1960’s and 70’s. I remember my pre-teen antics, riding with Beth, bare-back, to Phelps Lake to catch snakes. We carried them back to the ranch in our hats tightly snugged onto our heads. Riding bare-back, we didn’t have hands for snakes, but to hang onto the horse. We explored game trails up the mountain side and saw a great variety of wildlife. In recent years we shared interest in orchids, mushroom hunting and reminiscing about White Grass. Time spent with Beth was a treasure in my life.
Rachel came to the ranch from England in about 1952 and worked at the ranch summers until Tami, my daughter, was born in 1966. To tell a story about Rachel; where could I start? She came to White Grass as the manager. Mom and Dad (Frank and Inge Galey) were expecting a mature woman, but a twenty-year-old arrived. It was soon evident that they had hired a woman mature beyond her years.
My job was to clean the Main Cabin before the dudes arrived for breakfast. Rachel taught me to clean; I never felt I met her standards. She was consistent and firm in her expectations of the quality of work. Over time it was Rachel who directed me much like a concerned parent. I felt she was my surrogate mother. When I started boarding school, she gave me her good skis and boots when she upgraded. They took me down hills in Utah and held me in good stead when I later went to school in Massachusetts. She was there when I was Confirmed, later married and when my children were baptized at the Chapel of Transfiguration. She dubbed David, my first born as “Everybody’s Baby” as he was happy to go from one person’s arms to another.
Vignettes that pop into my mind:
Rachel bending over the panniers spread out between the log ice house and the spring house overflowing onto the driveway. She was packing and rechecking supplies that would go on a pack trip; once she forgot the matches causing a rider to make a quick trip back to the ranch and back to camp.
Rachel going to Fred’s Market for ranch food; talking to everyone; she knew more people in town than I think my parents did. Everyone liked her. She had many invitations to parties around the “Hole.”
Her sitting up straight with a proud smile on her face as the employees passed the barn ramp leaving on a pack trip. There was a group of about six on horseback with two pack horses heading to the back country for a few nights.
Mom & Dad sitting with her at the table planning meals or pack trip menus; three heads together over the planning papers.
And more thoughts, Rachel, Judy (Allyn Schmitt) and Elise (Clover) being close friends, working and playing together; preparing BarBQ’s in the North Pasture and later by Lake Ingeborg. Co-workers too many to name, some westerners others prior guests kids, two from Nevis, and many dudes became her friends. She was so blessed with friends everywhere and she had the amazing ability to keep in touch with everyone.
What was it like for a young English girl to land at White Grass? Housing without a bathroom if there was heat, it was wood; walking to the shower house to discover it was infested with bats; horses wandering everywhere. Had she known horses before White Grass, I think not. It feels like she was always part of my family and I think she felt that White Grass was her family.
I will continue to miss both Beth and Rachel for a very long time.