I have been wanting to hike the “back way” to the Cottonwood Springs water area for a couple of years. I decided that early on my first day in Lower Sykes was the day. It was interesting to walk the dry river bed and look at all of the rocks and plants along the way. That was the day I found what I thought was a Bear Canyon Agate. I am pretty sure it was one and the next day I would come across a lot more of them.
We also discovered several of these interesting flowers along the way. I am not sure what they are.
When we reached the spring, we found it to be dry. There were a lot of horse tracks around, but of course since it was dry, no horses.
I decided to follow the plastic hose to the spring source to make sure it was okay. I found it broke at the spring source. There was only a trickle of water coming out, so even if it was connected, there would be no water coming out the other end. I did email Jared to let him know. Instead of me trying to explain what had happened to it, I thought I would just publish what Jared told wrote me:
“Yes the spring box at Cottonwood Spring got washed out earlier this year. The catch wall stayed intact and the pipeline was washed out a short ways. The system worked as designed in order to prevent the entire thing from being destroyed. The catch wall is the most important thing to keep intact. We had planned to go back in to replace the box, however with the fire danger decided it was better to wait until a shift in the weather pattern.”
The sun was getting pretty hot by now, so we hiked back to the truck. After discovering that Cottonwood Springs was dry, I wanted to check out the other two water sources for this area to see how they were doing.
They both still had some water in them and a lot of horse tracks were there as well.
There was not a lot of water in either one , but for the end of August, it was not bad. The Lower Sykes horses can make there way to the bay for water, if these dry up completely. But, I am hoping for more rain to fill them.
By now it was much too hot to hike any more. So we headed up the Dryhead. I will post all my Dryhead photos on the next post.
The next morning, we returned to Lower Sykes, determined to find Kitalpha, Nova and Bristol. We went to the water sources and did not see them. I then parked and followed some fresh tracks down the road. There were 3 separate tracks: 2 adults and 1 foal. It had rained a little the night before, so the fresh tracks were easy to determine on top of the rain drop prints in the red dust.
We had not followed the tracks very long, when I hiked up a small hill and looked down. Hundreds of Bear Canyon Agates lie glistening in the sun at my feet. I then looked up and spotted Bristol and his girls high up on a hill. Both of these sights were a rare treat for sure.
Kitalpha looked like she was putting on some well needed weight. Nova looked strong and healthy. I was happy Bristol had his band back.
They spotted us right away. We would not hike closer. I could tell that Kitalpha already thought we were too close. They headed away from us and over the hill. So different from the mountain top horses. These horses were so much more wild. I hope they stay that way.