Mountain Update From My Last Trip

I decided I had better finish my update before too much time passed.  Sorry for the delay.  I have been a bit busy here at home!  My new “kids” Kootenani and Kiowa have been taking up a lot of my time.  I have been enjoying every second of my time with them.  It is hard for me to tear myself away from them.  But they are both napping in the sun this morning, so I decided I would work on this post.

On Saturday, September 1, Amber and I drove down Burnt Timber to meet my good friend Lori at Britton Springs.  I also got to meet another new friend there that day, Brianna.

I have decided not to share any of the photos of the horses in the pens.  I think we have all seen enough of those, and it is actually a bit painful for me to look at them, knowing I will probably not see most of these horses again.  Time to move on.

Just as Amber and I started down Burnt Timber Road we saw a few bachelors.  Two Boots, Santa Fe, Garay and Jasper.  We stopped and watched them for a few minutes.  They all looked really good.

We continued down the road.  Amber had never been down Burnt Timber Road, so it was fun to see (and hear) her reaction to it.

A few years ago, Amber was a mountain bike racer.  Both cross-country and downhill.  So Burnt Timber Road really brought those memories back for her and I could tell that she wished she was on the back of a mountain bike instead of an ATV.  I have also raced before, so I could relate to her view of the road.

We saw no more horses the rest of the way down.  I did not expect too, they are all on top right now.  The forage along the way looked better than on top in a lot of places.

We stopped at the bottom water guzzler and walked back to it.  I wanted to see if there was water in it.  I was pleasantly surprised to find it full (at least the drinking tank was)  Even in this dry summer, it seems there was enough rain to fill this one.  What a great addition to the range these water guzzlers are.

We left Britton Springs and headed towards Sykes Ridge Road.  I was giving Amber a tour of the range.  One that not very many people have done.  It is a necessary tour that I wish more people could witness.  Seeing the vast range from all sides and in between is important in order to understand the land that these horses really live on.

We started up Sykes Ridge Road.  We were about 2 miles up when Amber pointed out a black horse to our left.  I did not see him, my eyes were on the road (an important assignment for Sykes).  We stopped.  I could not believe our luck!  It was Inniq!

When I was here last month, I made a post that said that I had seen every horse on the range.  Well, at that time I had thought that Inniq was missing.  I had not heard anything about him for a very long time.  I learned just before I came that he was still alive.  So, NOW, I have seen every horse on the range.

He was alone today.  Think of your image of a wild horse, and Inniq is that.  He is the son of Sitting Bull and Cecelia.

Inniq was not happy that we were looking at him.  He was pretty far away, we had to look through the binoculars to get a good look at his markings and make sure who he was.  He turned and ran before I could get a photo of him.  We watched where he went and decided our best chance to get another look would be to continue down the road and hike up a hill.  It was a good decision, because we saw him again and I was able to snap a few photos before he turned and left again.

Inniq, September 1, 2012
Inniq
Inniq stopped to have one more look at us. September 1, 2012

I never get used to this road.  This is my third trip up here.  I consider  Sykes Ridge Road to be a good aerobic workout, my heart beats very fast the whole way up!  🙂  Since the last time I was up this road, I learned one of the corners is called “Dead Biologist’s Corner”.  I won’t say anymore about that….

I made the mistake of telling Amber that one of the first narrow roads we went down was the scariest for me. She thought I meant that nothing else would be scary.  So when she said out loud “Oh wow…”  I quickly asked her (after we got up the “oh wow”) that if she could please keep her comments to herself that it would be very helpful for me.

We saw no horses (again, I did not expect too) after we saw Inniq.   We stopped about 15 miles up the road and Amber took these shots.  Can anyone figure out where we are above the Dryhead?  On the first photo you can see the road to the left.

Sykes Ridge Road View.
Sykes view
View from Sykes Ridge Road, September 1, 2012
Sykes View

There were some storm clouds starting to form behind us.  The wind was picking up and I became even more nervous.  The last thing I wanted to do was get caught in a storm on Sykes Ridge Road.  We continued up the road a bit faster.

I stopped to let Amber take a few shots of “Castle Rock” and to drink some water.  I knew that now we were getting close to the top (probably only about 5 or so more miles).

Castle Rock, September 1, 2012

We were both relieved when we arrived on top.  The storm never caught up to us.  There were however several groups of people on top now.  Our quiet time was over.

As we drove past Penn’s Cabin, I could see several horses ahead.  We drove back to our campsite and watched them all parade past us.

Several of you have asked what type and size camera and lens I use.  I thought I would post this photo for you to see.

Sandy, September 1, 2012

I was happy to see Tecumseh.  His wounds have healed and he was walking better than the last time I saw him.  He seems to have worked out a deal with Gringo.  He appears (at least that day) to be acting as a satellite bachelor and is allowed to be in the herd.  He was actually in the lead, with Gringo bringing up the rear.  Gringo also looked good.  He has put on some well needed weight.

Tecumseh, September 1, 2012
Gringo and Ketchikan, September 1, 2012

Over the next several hours we saw horses going past us in both directions.  It was a wonderful site to witness.

That day, Jasmine was back with White Cloud’s band.  Poor Damsel was huge.  To date, I have not heard if she has had her foal.

Coronado’s Band, September 1, 2012
Part of White Cloud’s Band, September 1, 2012
The rest of White Cloud’s band.
Damsel, September 1, 2012

Garay and Jasper were together this afternoon, unlike when we saw them in the morning with Two Boots and Santa Fe.  The bachelors all seem to change groups often.  Since March, I have seen them in several different combinations.

Jasper
Garay

The next band that we saw was Grijala.  I was so hoping Quelle Colour would foal and that it would be Lakota’s, but I am thinking she may not be pregnant after all.

Quelle Colour, September 1, 2012

Grijala’s band of “Special K’s” has gotten smaller because of the removal.  He now only has Kohl and Kindra along with Quelle Colour.

Something was up with Blue Moon and his band.  Amethyst was running ahead of the rest of her band.  Snorting, with her tail up.  Blue Moon was trying to get her under control.  I have rarely seen any of these horses act like this and I wondered what the cause of it was.

Amethyst, September 1, 2012
Blue Moon runs after Amethyest.
Blue Moon and Amethyst.
Blue Moon stops to check on the rest of his band.

Amethyst’s actions caused Grijala to decide to move his small band out of there.

Grijala’s Band

Not far behind I saw Horizon running after Blue Moon’s band.  I wondered if he was trying to take someone or ones in Blue Moon’s band.  Juniper and Fiesta were not far behind.

We would not see them again, so I do not know the answer.

Horizon
Horizon, September 1, 2012
Jupiter, September 1, 2012
Fiesta

Next to come by was Two Boots and Santa Fe.

Two Boots, September 1, 2012
Santa Fe

Not too far behind in the parade of horses was Dukes Band, Teton’s Band and Mescalero’s Band.

Meriwether, September 1, 2012
Mescalero and Rosarita
Polaris
Missoula and Teton, September 1, 2012

Custer’s band and Jackson’s band came by us a short time later.

Brumby and Moorcroft, September 1, 2012
Jackson

Off in the distance I saw Doc and his band.  I was really happy to see them.  I had not seen them yet.

Doc’s Band, September 1, 2012

I felt eyes on me and turned to the right.  I could just make out two sets of eyes looking at me just below a little dip in the land.  It did not take me long to figure out it was the Toppers!  I would know those eyes anywhere!  It seemed they paused for a shorter time before they continued towards us.  I am being to think they are getting to know me.

Topper 1 and Topper too, September 1, 2012
Topper One and Topper Too.
Chino, September 1, 2012

We also saw Morning Star and his beautiful band.

Morning Star’s band, September 1, 2012

Galaxy is Amber’s favorite stallion on the range.  So we were both really happy to see them again before dark.

Ireland, September 1, 2012
Galaxy and his band, September 1, 2012

I had not seen Cappuccino yet.  I had not seen this band since they lost 3 members.  Lilly, Kodiak and Kootenai.   Finally they came by us.  They all looked good, but I missed the other members.  I miss all the faces that I will not see again, but for some reason I really noticed the missing member’s of this band.

Cappuccino’s Band, September 1, 2012

As the sky darkened, we watched the horses peacefully grazing in the distance.  I never get tired of that view.  The peace, the beauty.

This would most likely be my last camping trip of the year.  The temperatures are beginning to fall and snow could be coming soon.  The mountains certainly need the moisture.   I am planning on coming again in a while to check on everyone before winter sets in.

Sandy

September 1, 2012
Moon over the Pryors, September 1, 2012
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

24 thoughts on “Mountain Update From My Last Trip

  1. Okay, do I see Mustang Flats?! Love those scenic shots. And at least Grijala’s band all sound like K’s.. QC has the hard K sound 🙂 Love the photo of Amethyst with her tail in the air! Jasper is really maturing and looking good. But I don’t like the looks of Meriwether’s hernia.

    I also find it interesting that Cappucino and his bband are all walking so far apart, it’s a sad shot… McKeahnie is so big. But we will all move on — thanks Sandy.

    1. b-bbbenny and the band? 🙂 I can finally see the difference between the two Toppers — now all I have to remember which one is which!

  2. I agree with Amber about Galaxy! He looks like a Friesian horse in that picture! LOL!

    Can’t wait to see Missoula next year as a yearling, he should be a stunner!

  3. Great post Sandy, as always. 🙂 Thanks again for sharing. My guess on the location of the pics would be along the ridge above Mustang Flats. In the one shot, I think you can also see Turkey Flats in the distance, and in another, the river gorge near the overlook. Gives me butterflies just looking at them. Great to see the horses doing well—some of the foals are so big already! I pray for good health for Damsel’s foal, especially since it’s going to be a late one. Sure wish the horses would take more advantage of the forage around the guzzlers, but maybe that will come with time, especially if they’ve had to get more used to looking to the guzzlers for their water.

  4. Hopefully we’ll hear in the next couple days that Dancer has a beautiful healthy foal! The Toppers always make me laugh with their social awkwardness! Meriwether’s hernia seems big 😦 and sadly it always reminds me that if there is another gather in the future she will be removed. I’m glad Two Boots and Santa Fe have been hanging out together, but I hope Santa Fe is able to win another mare after losing Adelina. I’m not sure where the cut off is with the PZP but can we be expecting foals from the “H” girls next year?

    1. Glad they will be a part of them. There’s some pretty (ok well, they’re all pretty!) H girls that I’ve been looking forward to seeing foals from! And after Diamond and Half Moon threw flaxen little Missoula this year I can’t wait to see what next year will bring from the two of them!

  5. Glad Chance is doing better! He seems to still have what looks like a puncture wound near his hip. Did you get a close look at it?

      1. Thats good! Hopefully he’ll be able to regain a band eventually. At least Gringo is letting him hang around for now. Glad Gringo’s put on weight too.

  6. Thank you Sandy! One day I WILL get to see all these beautiful places myself:)
    A very weird behavior from Amethyst.. Do you have any idea what might have caused something like that? I hope Blue Moon still has the whole band.. It was good that he stopped to check on them even while chasing after Amethyst.
    Can’t wait for the next part of the story;)

      1. Maybe it was something like that? Grown up ladies like Amethyst don’t act like that without a good reason I should think;)

      2. Maybe, although I have never seen a snake on the mountain top. I feel it had something to do with Horizon. He may be looking to challenge some of these stallions for more mares. The way Blue Moon leaves his mares from time to time, opens up a perfect opportunity for another stallion to come in and take them.

  7. Wow, beautiful pictures as usual! Once winter sets in, when is the earliest do you think you can return to the Pryors? I guess with all the snow up there it would not be conducive to hiking.
    Also what part of the US is this in again? I only ask because the landscape is so drastically different from what I’m used to (which would be northeastern US).

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