The Gift

I wanted to take a trip to the Pryor Mountains to see the horses for my birthday this year.  I really could not think of anywhere else I would rather be.

There were many horses that I hoped I would see, but I was especially hoping to see Lakota.  I knew the chances were small.  The vastness of this land, especially in winter is very overwhelming.  I wasn’t sure I would find him, and I also worried that maybe he had not survived.

You remember the last time I saw Lakota was in October.  He had lost his band and was alone and seemed to have lost a part of himself in the process.  I left worried about him and hoped he would survive.  (see my post in February, “Lakota”)

Lakota, October, 2011

My friend Brigitte was joining me for this trip.    I decided the best way to get up the road this time of year would be an ATV.  I am not normally the kind of person that uses one of these.  We have one that we use to do ranch chores with,  but it is basically just a tool.  I decided this tool would come in handy.  The roads in the Pryors are challenging when there is no snow on them, but adding snow to them would add an extra challenge and I wanted something that would help me get as far up the mountain as possible.

March, 2012

We started up Burnt Timber road early that morning.  It was 13 degrees F and windy.

Below is the new sign that they added at the bottom of Burnt Timber.  I had seen one up on top of the mountain for the first time in October and I was pleased that they had also put one here and at the entrance into Sykes Road as well.

We spent several hours up Burnt Timber that first day.  We saw several horses and I will tell you about those horses in another post.

Me standing on the narrow road with several layers of thick clothing on. March 2012.

We had gone up the road as far as we could.  The snow was getting pretty deep and I could see a storm coming in and did not want to get trapped up on the mountain in it.  We headed back down the mountain.  We were almost to the bottom of the road when out of the corner of my left eye, something caught my attention.  I stopped the ATV and said to Brigitte, ” Something just looks out-of-place over there”.  Quite a ways away was a dried up tree with brown needles.   It was a different color than the others and so that is what I had thought had caught my eye and made me stop.  I turned my head to the left slightly and saw this:

Lakota, March 2012

A grullo stallion was staring back at me.  Was that Lakota?  I jumped off the ATV and grab the binoculars.  Yes, it was Lakota.  I could not believe how lucky it had been that  something had caught my eye.  Or was it luck?  Maybe more like fate, I thought.  This was just not a chance sighting, it was if he had been willing me to look at him.

He was still alone, but he looked wonderful, fat and seemed to be getting back some of that spark that I had remembered so well.  This winter had been good to him.

I would have liked to have gotten closer to him, but there was a deep narrow canyon separating us.  I shared about thirty minutes with him and then he decided it was time to move on.  I watched him walk away from me again.  Instead of feeling sadness like I had in October, I was more at peace.   I was grateful to him for giving me the best of birthday gifts.  Showing himself to me.

Lakota, March, 2012

I stood there until he was completely out of sight, dipping down into yet another narrow canyon. I hope I see you soon Lakota, remember how great you are and try to stay strong.


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