January 2nd 2013
Monday the 31st I checked the dryhead 1 last time, and saw the greeters near Ranger’s Delight.
I decided to run over to Cody to see the rams, and swung by McCullough on the way. After a New Year’s night of listening to owls and coyotes while watching the stars and having a little 14 hands cabernet sauvignon by a rare fire, I spent the 1st day of 2013 watching rams up the North Fork before heading back to Lovell.
I stopped in to see Liesl, Kaibab and Exhilharation at the center, and was fortunate that Lori stopped to feed them about 3 minutes after I got there.
Tuesday morning I woke up and decided to drive up to above Sykes Coulee to see if I could see any one either across it, and to look down on the lower sykes area. I did see 3 horses across the coulee, but decided I wasn’t going to hike over for just 3. While coming back down, I could see that there were more horses out on Turkey Flat than before and snapped a long distance shot.
I was determined to go up Burnt Timber and hoped I could tell who was on the flat by zooming in on the shot and looking at colors.
Another fruitless trip through the park and I was heading to BT. From the road, I looked out to get another view of the flat, but could not see them from this side today. I scanned the lower BT area while I was stopped, and was surprised to see some to the right of the entrance. While I may have been able to get up BT, since the snow was a little wetter and more slippery, I decided to hike and see who was down near the fence before deciding if I should go up.
I had never hiked in this area, so I wasn’t sure exactly how far it would be until I found the horses I had seen from the road. I had a landmark I was looking for, and as I got closer to it I started to notice more tracks in the snow. When I finally reached them, I was a little surprised to see Kitalpha first, because I knew there were at least 3 horses from the road.
Almost as surprised to see me was Greta. She led the group a little further up a hill before stopping and going back to grazing. I grabbed some shots of her, Garcia, Millicent and Kitalpha before leaving this secretive group alone. I did see them from a hill later, heading to an even more remote area to hide from everyone.
I decided since I was already in the right direction, I would continue at an angle to Turkey Flats . Not only is this way a little longer to get there in distance, but the walk along the flat plateau is replaced by some ridges and a badlands area that has steep washes and knobs. It was a lot more work, and I regretted my choice at times, but I did learn a lot about a new area. When I got to the flats, I didn’t see any at first and thought I had made the long hike for nothing. I knew there were some dips and I wasn’t going to leave without looking around really well.
As I came over a small rise, I first ran across Rosarita. Her, Mescalero and Polaris were eating their way toward the junipers.
I looked to the junipers and was surprised to see quite a few horses in them. Galaxy was there with his group. Since I saw them on Sunday, I went toward the group slightly to the left of him. There was a near black horse sleeping, but it was really the dark winter blue roan.
A horse came through the sage and first I thought Kalahari, but knowing that wasn’t possible I realized it was La Brava with Coronado right behind.
I moved around the juniper and saw all of his harem before heading back to the flat. I saw Irial, Jupiter and London again, but they did not have Bristol with them.
By the time we got back to the FJ, Malakai and I decided it was time to head home and have a warm bed to sleep in.
It may be a while before I can get back over, but I know Sandy will let us know what is going on when she gets over in a month.
Thanks Shawn for another great update. I really appreciate it so much!