Burnt Timber Day Two. A New Discovery and a Mystery.

After the incredible day we had on Sykes the day before, it was going to be hard to top it.  It was one of my best day ever on the range.  Not because we saw all the horses that we did (that was fantastic of course), but it was which horses we saw.  Many I had not seen for several months.  It also was because I have come to love Sykes Ridge, especially this time of year.    You can read that post by clicking on Sykes.

Today the weather was calling for a storm to move in late in the afternoon.  We got an early start and were heading up Burnt Timber road by 7:30.  This would be our third day on the range and we were yet to encounter another human.  I like it that way.

We were up the road a couple miles when I spotted Cappuccino and his band to the left of us.  We stopped for a quick couple shots and kept going.

IMG_1651

There was no one at the first water catchment on the left.  I kept driving.  I wanted to get high enough on the road above this water catchment and also the other one (on the left) to be able to look through my binoculars.

At the water catchment on the left, I saw Cloud and his band.  They had been in this same place two days ago.  I wondered if they ever left.  I thought maybe the reason that they were staying was because Feldspar was about a week from foaling.  She had Mica last year around the 6th of May.  I took a photo for my records and we moved on.  We would hike back to that water catchment on our way down.  With the possible storm coming later that day, I wanted to continue up the road and see some horses we had not seen yet.

Cloud's band at the water catchment, April 29, 2013
Cloud’s band at the water catchment, April 29, 2013

Arriving on Cheyenne Flats, we saw no horses.  We hiked down to the water guzzler.  Still no horses.

Photo by Anh.
Photo by Anh.
Water catchment.  Photo by Anh.
Water catchment. Photo by Anh.

I glassed over to Sykes Ridge and saw Blizzard and band and also Horizon, Juniper and Fiesta.  After staying watching and listening for a while, we drove up further.  Still no horses.  I stopped and glassed around.  Then took these photos so you could see the view and learn a bit more about the range.

Looking towards the top of the mountain from above Cheyenne Flats.
Looking towards the top of the mountain from above Cheyenne Flats.
Sykes on the left, Burnt Timber on the right
Sykes on the left, Burnt Timber on the right
View of Cheyenne Flats.
View of Cheyenne Flats.

I have never gone up Burnt Timber or Sykes Ridge with any one that knows where water guzzlers or spots where horses are.  I have had to learn this all on my own and figure out where things are.  In a way, I think it has been better that way.  I have come to know the range with time, effort and determination.  I had to earn the right to know it.  I still have so much to learn.

I spent an entire winter a few years ago on Google Earth, mapping out where every water guzzler is on the range.  That does not always translate to exactly where they are, but it does give you an idea on where.  After that I have spent time hiking around to find them.

We continued going up the road until we ran into snow.  I was not seeing any fresh signs of horses, so I figured it would not be worth trying to drive through the snow to go any further.  I felt like they were not up this high yet.  I was about to the old horse trap area.

It was lunch time already, so we stopped above Cheyenne Flats so we could watch while we grabbed a quick bite.  The one band that I really wanted to see was Jacksons.  I had not seen this band since February and I knew that Galena would be within days of having her foal.  I really wanted to see a new Lakota grandson or daughter.  We finished eating and started down the road.

Just around a bend, I saw Jacksons band AND Galena with a new foal!  We stopped and took some quick photos.  It was very clear that Galena (and Jackson) were not comfortable with us there.

First look at Galena's foal, April 29, 2013
First look at Galena’s foal, April 29, 2013
Galena and foal.  Moorcroft and Maelstrom in the background.
Galena and foal. Moorcroft and Maelstrom in the background.
Jackson and Firestorm
Jackson and Firestorm

IMG_1667

Nye. Heritage and Galena
Nye. Heritage and Galena
Nye, Galena and Jackson
Nye, Galena and Jackson
Brumby
Brumby
Jasmine
Jasmine
Heritage (Kootenais mom)
Heritage (Kootenais mom)
Nye and Galena
Nye and Galena

IMG_1707

I was pleased to see Jasmine there.  She seemed to be fitting into the band nicely now.  Firestorm also looked much better than some of the recent photos I had seen of her about a month ago.  She is very close to foaling.

We slowly drove through them and went up the road several hundred feet and stopped again.  I thought perhaps they would be more comfortable with us if we passed and stopped further away from them.  That still did not help.  Galena clearly let us know we were not wanted there either.  Jackson looked and started walking towards us.  We quickly left them to their peace.

Jackson Band, April 29, 2013
Jackson Band, April 29, 2013
Jackson, Galena and Nye
Jackson, Galena and Nye
Heritage and Jasmine
Heritage and Jasmine
Moorcroft, Maelstorm and Firestorm
Moorcroft, Maelstorm and Firestorm
Moorcroft, Maelstrom Galena and Nye
Moorcroft, Maelstrom Galena and Nye

IMG_1745

Keeping with the Jackson band tradition of naming foals after towns or cities, we decided to call Galena’s new filly Nye.  For Nye, Montana.  Population 272.  Click on Nye to see where in Montana it is.  It is pronounced N-eye.  Hopefully a nice simple name for us all to remember.

We continued down the road.  We had not gone far when I spotted a dun to my right.  Then I saw Chino and knew the dun was Topper Too.  Just like her mother Topper (who we had seen way over on Sykes the day before), Topper Too started to leave the instant she saw us.  I had never seen Chino this time of year before.  I saw him and the Toppers in May last year.  By then he had shed his winter coat.  He still had some left right now and I thought it made him look old.  He will be 20 this year.  I really like Chino and the Toppers.  It was good to see them.  I only wished that Topper was with them.  This band seemed very incomplete without her there too.

Chino and Topper Too, April 29, 2013
Chino and Topper Too, April 29, 2013
Chino
Chino
Topper Too leaving.
Topper Too leaving.
The famous Toppers "over the shoulder" look.
The famous Toppers “over the shoulder” look.
Chino
Chino
Chino
Chino
Chino
Chino

We continued down the road, stopping to listen and look.  I saw Teton and Cloud bands at the water catchment, so we decided to hike back and see them.  The wind was picking up and I knew by the look of the clouds, that the expected storm was going to materialize.  I was not too worried, I only had a few miles to go down Burnt Timber at this point and knew I would be fine, even if it started to rain.  We packed our rain gear and hiked to the guzzler.

I had been wondering how Teton was.  On my last trip, I had been worried that Mescalero was trying to take his band.  I was happy to be wrong about that.  We walked over to the other side and sat out of the wind for a while, watching both bands.

Teton and band, April 29, 2013
Teton and band, April 29, 2013
Cloud
Cloud
Inocentes and Aztec
Inocentes and Aztec
Phoenix, Missoula, Half Moon and Warbonnet
Phoenix, Missoula, Half Moon and Warbonnet
Mica plays at the water catchment.
Mica plays at the water catchment.
Teton Band
Teton Band
Phoenix and Teton
Phoenix and Teton
Cloud Band
Cloud Band
Cloud and Band
Cloud and Band
Cloud Band
Cloud Band
Missoula and Warbonnet
Missoula and Warbonnet

While I was sitting there, I spotted some horses about two miles away, up the mountain.  I snapped these photos and I have uploaded them full size, so if you click on them (then click again) you can view them in their largest size.  My first thought was Galaxy, but that did not seem quite right, then I thought Gringo, but that did not seem quite right either.  It could have been both bands by each other and I was unable to see all the horses. Let me know what you think.  In one of the photos I could count a total of 8 horses.  Gringo’s band has 5 horses and Galaxy’s band has 6 horses.  The horses are just below the top of the ridge.  Baja’s band also crossed my mind.  One of them looked like it could possibly be a new foal (the one behind the bush with just their nose and part of their head showing).

IMG_1849 IMG_1852 IMG_1857 IMG_1858 IMG_1860 IMG_1862

Even though the storm was getting closer, I decided it would be worth a trip back up the road to see if we could find these horses.  I looked for a marker to help us locate them (the dead tree that leans to the right).  We hiked back to the ATV and headed up the road.

The temperature was quickly dropping and the wind was getting much stronger.  I drove to where I thought they would be and could not find them.  I hiked around and look through the binoculars.  Nothing.  We decided not to risk getting stuck in the storm this far up, so we headed down the mountain, loaded up the ATV and drove down the road, just as the first rain drop hit the windshield and a text came in from Lori asking if we were down yet.

I am told that Lovell does not get much rain.  I did a little research on this and found out that Lovell only receives about 6.65 inches of rain a year. But it seems every time I am there, it rains at least one day.  Lori’s husband has named me “Rainmaker”.    I really made it work this time.  As we sat enjoying dinner at the Branding Iron with Lori, Jimmy and Brianna, we watched it pour rain outside.  I think they were getting about 2 inches of that 6.65 annual total.  This would be good for the range.  The next days plans were uncertain, but I was happy the range was getting much needed moisture.

Sandy

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

19 thoughts on “Burnt Timber Day Two. A New Discovery and a Mystery.

  1. Thanks for the post sandy! The mystery horses are very interesting! It’s hard to tell , but I can make out quite a few roans! Could it be that the band on the far right is Jacksons? Could they have come down that quick?
    The other horses on the far left I am not so sure! One of them is a blue roan for sure! I think the blue roan is a mare the dark horse with it looks to be a dark brownish or something! Part of me wants to think that is it Demsel with Jasper maybe ! But who knows ! I am also thinking fools crow former band !

    1. Hi Alex, Thanks. It could not be Fools Crow (Hidalgo)band, they are over on Sykes, this is Burnt Timber the very next day.(This time of year they would have had to travel 5 more miles to the top, go through a few miles of deep snow and down another 5 miles to get there, not to mention those are all Dryhead horses that probably are not familiar with that route.) I don’t believe it is Jacksons either, as the baby was walking pretty stiffly and I don’t think they would have made it down that many miles in that short of time (it would have been about 5 miles I am guessing). I sure wish I could have found them.

  2. I’m pretty sure it’s Baja or Washakie with Bacardi in the last photo. They are the only large duns with a frosted mane and tail besides Cappuccino. I wonder if the roan on the right side of the photo is Damsel? Another roan and two grullas maybe, and two dark/black horses I don’t recognize………..interesting!

    1. You can see 8 horses in that last photo Clarissa. Baja’s crossed my mind too, just not sure. Do you see what appears to possibly be a foals nose and part of the head right behind the bush not far away from one of the blue roans?
      I also only see one dun, so that is why I did not think it was Bajas. (but they could have been hidden).

  3. I think I can see the foal; hard to see 😉 The dun and the two roans appear and disappear then reappear. The dun looks large and chunky like Baja and Washakie. I don’t think it’s Galaxy, three blue roans no Ireland. Who else is blue roan?

    1. Irial, Jasmine, Damsel, Teton, Hera, Bacardi would be the BT horses. Of course Audubon was missing from Morning Stars band when I saw them on Sykes the day before. It is possible that one of them is her.

    1. Which photo Maria? I just don’t think it is Jacksons. I saw them less than an hour before about 5 miles from where this appears to be and they were with the new foal. I guess it is possible that Bacardi had a foal. I really dislike not knowing!!!

      1. Thanks for your help Maria. But if you look at all the photos you can see that who you think is Maelstrom with white I don’t think is. The horse is in different positions in the photos and you can still see the white (not on the horse). I think that white is something on the ground. Possibly a stick. My thought was that horse might be Maia and maybe we just can’t see Ireland or there may be some changes going on with Galaxy’s band. I do think you are right about Baja’s though.

  4. I just found a 9th horse. They are behind a bush in-between the Dun and the other horses on the far right. It looks to be a dark bay or something. You can see them best in the first photo.
    Could be a “horse bush” :), but I do think it is a horse.

  5. I wish we could know for sure who those horses are! Haha I know it will drive us all crazy not knowing. I have a potential theory though. Kindra was last seen with Garay and Jasper. I think the dark horse on the far left is Jasper. When I zoomed in I could see the horse has some lighter brown on it’s belly which definitely made me think Jasper with his seal bay coat. I think the blue roan to his right is Indigo. Then the next horse over, the dun is Baja who is keeping between the bachelors and his band. So then the group in the bushes on the farside of the pictures in the bushes would be Bacardi, Washakie, and Kindra with Kindra’s new foal. Then I think it’s in the last picture that you can see Meadowlark standing in front of Washakie. And since Audoban was missing from Morning Star’s band she could definitely be the extra blue roan. It would make sense if there was a young foal with them (Kindra’s) that the mares would all group up together with it with the bachelors being near. That’s my best guess at least!

  6. Love the older the shoulder look you got from Topper Too! I’m excited to see Feldspar’s foal and it looks like Firestorm will be very soon too! I bet you were so thrilled to get to find and name Lakota’s granddaugther. She is such a little cutie too! I think she’ll turn out to be grulla. Love the stripes on her too. Firestorm always has stunning foals too and I’ve been wondering what this years will look like, but seeing Nye kinda makes me lean toward Firestorm having a blue roan. It would be like Lander and LeDoux again 🙂 I was hoping Mica and Missoula would play together some, but maybe next time!

  7. Have you heard anything about the foal that NPS found? I’m assuming they’re going to name it. I know you were hoping to see him/her on your trip. Just wondering if you did and figured out gender.

  8. Interesting photo’s. I don’t know who the horses, but maybe Sarah is right about it being Kindra with a foal, and Bacardi & Washakie. I for sure can see the foal behind the bushes. I think Baja
    too.
    It seems that the horses are staying lower for a longer amount of time this year. Also, the DH horses are staying over on Sykes longer. I know for sure that the water guzzlers have made a difference with spreading the horses out in area’s that they may not have stayed at before. They are grazing in these areas and that may keep them down lower even longer giving the top a chance to grow and rejuvenate. The guzzlers are a great range improvement for the horses, and the hope that they would get the horses to utilize other parts of the range seems to be working.
    Thank you Jared & BLM for this range improvement. Expanding and improving the WHR can only be a positive thing for all involved, but mostly for the wild horses.
    Thanks again Sandy for the great report. (:

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