During the night, we heard several stallion screams. I say screams, because there is a difference between the squeals that stallions make when greeting one another or of the screams that bachelors make when sparring.
The last time I heard screams this loud and long, was during the time when Grijala and Lakota were fighting. They both ended up with some pretty good wounds, and in the end, Grijala took Lakota’s band from him. It seemed to me that something was starting to happen on the mountain, something big. Change would be coming. I am betting it will be one of the former Forest Service bachelors taking a band. If it doesn’t happen this fall, it will probably happen during the winter. I hope no one gets injured badly. I wondered if that was part of the reason we had seen Cloud and Cappuccino running with them yesterday. Were they proving how difficult it would be for any of them to take their bands?
I was eager for the day to start so I could find out what was going on.
By the time it got light, the mountain was quiet again. Not a horse in sight. We went down to Krueger Pond just as the sun was rising. Finding no one there, we hiked to the top of the hill above the pond. I saw Duke’s band. We hiked over and spent some time with them before they decided to move on.
They were heading to the pond, so we did too. We were able to watch several bands coming for their morning drink.
We decided to follow the horses. They appeared to be heading for the north woods. We took their path a few minutes after the last horse left the pond. There was no one in sight. They had vanished into the trees. I could see them here and there in the woods, but for the most part they were out of sight.
The woods here are very tightly woven with trees. We decided to just let them be and sit outside the clumps of trees waiting for them to come out, like they had done in July. They did not come out. We sat there for several hours before deciding to head back to camp for a while. It was the hot of the afternoon, and with the amount of flies around, I knew they would be staying in the trees for a while.
We returned to this area again at 5:00 pm. I could see a few bands had come out of the trees, so we sat and watched them grazing in the slightly cool breeze of the late afternoon.
It was just a few minutes later, when we heard thundering hoofs running our way. I turned my camera just in time to get a few quick shots of the bands running by us. We watched several bands run by and straight into the woods.
From there I looked up the steep hill and saw a beautiful sight! All of the horses were coming out of the woods and trotting along the ridge. It was so incredible! The photos just can’t come close to capturing the feeling and sight of more than 60 horses running out of the woods single file.
For the most part, it was peaceful. Except when Bolder tried to breed Sequoyah.
We stayed there for a long while, enjoying the amazement of the scene. We left only when some annoying people with 2 loose dogs came and disturbed the otherwise natural setting.
Later that evening, just before sunset, we came back down to the pond. There were just a couple of bands there tonight. Most had watered an hour or so before and were in the north woods where we had left them.
It was almost dark now. It would be a full moon tonight. As we headed back down towards our campsite, I saw a horse walking towards us.
It was Irial. The scene reminded me so much of when I saw Lakota walking towards me, in the same place, just two years before. Had it really only been two years ago? It seemed so much longer.
Irial took his time walking by us. He never left the road, until he was well past the truck that was in his path.
There was a sadness to him, or was it me feeling the sadness? Just as he left the road to take a trail that lead to the pond, he turned and looked back at me. It was as if he was trying to tell me something, or maybe offer some comfort to the feelings he knew I was having at that moment. Whatever it was, I realized, it had been a long while since I had felt that closeness from a wild horse.
And to make the evening more special, we were witnesses to an amazing sunset that night and then behind the clouds a full moon was shown to us for just a few minutes.
Each day had been different on the mountain this time. The horses were showing some different patterns. They were making themselves more invisible, harder to find. My heart had been touched by a beautiful blue roan stallion. I wondered what the next day would bring. I couldn’t wait for it to get here.