23-year-old leaves familiarities like electricity & running water behind for unique summer job

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 9:53 PM CDT
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McLEOD, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Miles away from, well, anything, you’ll find Kaiden Bredahl.

He took up a unique summer job. Sheep were needed to eat weeds around the area, and they needed a herder. That’s where Kaiden comes in.

The 23-year-old was suddenly in charge of over 1,100 sheep, some horses, dogs and a new home. The home is a camper. It has no running water, plumbing or electricity. Bredahl says he could’ve secured these luxuries, “I tell everyone that it cuts into the profits. I doubt it would cut in that much, but i’m coming out here to sit on a horse everyday and cowboy. I might as well get the full effect.”

Bredahl would charge his phone in his pickup, but it would only last a few hours before the battery would run dry. However, that wasn’t a negative for him. “The phone? Let me tell you, you don’t need that thing. Be alone with your thoughts for at least a little bit in your life,” he says.

The summer heat usually forced Bredahl to sleep anywhere other than inside his camper. So, that led him to sleep outside on a chair or on the bed of his pickup. He says, “It was kind of cool, but not nearly as cool as a guy thinks it is.”

Right away, Bredahl was living without any familiar faces. “For the first 30 days, it’s like you’re at war with your mind,” he says.

He did have one visitor, but she came with another, unexpected guest.

“So here I am, the bear is 20 ft. away from my sister. I’m sitting here throwing sticks at it. I’m like, ‘What am I doing right now?!” says Bredahl.

That hasn’t been Kaiden’s only run in with danger.

“My meds, my antibiotics because I got wrapped up in barbed wire with a horse,” he says. A horse drug him through a barbed wire fence, sending him to the ER. “That horse is still going. It comes up my thigh, and I’m sitting there getting drug behind him. He just takes off,” he says.

Believe it or not: Kaiden hadn’t been a sheep herder before, and he quickly found out learning to herd sheep wasn’t the hardest part. “You get a lot of time with your thoughts. You think about all the bad things you’ve done, everything,” he says.

Something he found more difficult than eating cans of beans for dinner every night was being alone. However, he says it gave him a lot of time to figure out himself. “It’s life changing. You come up to the middle of nowhere where you don’t know anybody,” he says.

He did get the hang of things. Bredahl even started helping others with their sheep and cattle and everything changed. He made connections. “A lot of good people. A lot of people who will be friends for life,” he says.

Kaiden’s packing up sheep camp this weekend. “I think I’m going to sit in a shower for three days straight. Right now, I shower once a week. It might sound gross, but that’s what you do,” he says.

Despite the challenges, he hopes to do it all again.

“I think every kid that’s just graduating high school to 25-year-old should try this at least once, do something like this,” he says. But he may just keep at it forever. “I don’t know if I ever want to go back to a 9-to-5 job. I just want to sit on a horse forever,” says Bredahl.