It had been too long since I had made my way to the Pryors. October was my last trip and I felt that I could get out and run faster than my truck could carry me this time. At times that may have been true, the road was not good over Homestake Pass, near Butte, Montana. I was happy to get down the other side, where it was clear sailing the rest of the way.
Anh and Kimerlee would be joining me on this trip and we were all eager to see fuzzy horses in the snow. The week before we arrived had been cold and snowing, but the forecast looked pretty good for the days we would be here. A high of 40 seemed warm after experiencing -25 just a few short weeks ago.
Arriving in Lovell later than I liked yesterday, I immediately drove us to the Dryhead. This time of year can be pretty problematic for seeing horses there, but I wanted to check anyway and knew we did not have time to unload and head up either Burnt Timber or Lower Sykes.
We immediately saw a horse on a hill as we entered. Through binoculars, we determined it was Kememerer. We made a group decision to continue on and see who else may be out. We made our way slowly down the paved road, rewarded once more with the sighting of the handsome stallion Fiero, alone. I have decided he enjoys being this way in the winter. Perhaps he doesn’t want the extra burden of a band during the more trying months of the year.
I really love Fiero, he is the full brother to my Valerosa whom I adopted in 2009. I would really love to see some Fiero offspring on the range. He just needs to stay keep some mares long enough for that to happen!
The next morning by 8, we were heading up Burnt Timber Road. Since my last trip, I purchased a wide-angle lens and I was really looking forward to taking some photos of the landscape again. It is almost like taking the mountain home with me. I hope these photos can give you a sense of what this beautiful mountain holds.
We were immediately rewarded as soon as we entered the range. Grijala and Jasper passed right near us. I had seen these two bachelors in October, and they still looked as healthy and fat as they had looked then. I was happy to see this, especially for this time of year.
I wish we could have had more time with these boys, but the seemed to be on a mission, and kept moving. So we did too.
Burnt Timber road did not have as much snow as I experienced last February, at least not this day. I easily went past the spot where I had gotten stuck last year. We were in my UTV, Ophelia (it is an O year after all) and she was making her way up the mountain easily. We could see some horses ahead! It was Jackson and his band, and as I turned and looked right, I could see Galaxy and his band. Everyone was enjoying the warm sunlight hitting their thick fur, a welcome treat after the previous week.
Jackson seemed to be showing some wounds that had recently healed. Jasmine was still absent from his band, and I wondered if maybe Jackson had received these wounds during that exchange.
I was pleased to see both Galena and Firestorm looking healthier and much fatter than last year at this time. They both appear to be pregnant to me. Brumby also looked round, but sometimes Brumby just looks that way. Time will tell.
I especially noticed how much Moorcroft and Malestrom had grown. Both Malestrom and Moorcroft are entering their second year. I wondered if Jackson would kick them out this year, like he had done when Jasper turned 2.
I watched Galaxy and his band rise from their naps slowly make their way over the ridge. Galaxy is such a great band stallion and his mares seem very content. Everyone look great. I am not sure if we will see any new foals in this band this year.
The snow on the road was becoming the consistency of thick mash potatoes. As Ophelia struggled to go further, we quickly realized that this warm day would not let us. Looking towards the sky, we could see some dark clouds coming in from all sides. We decided to head down the road. The melting snow and the slippery red dirt under it made for an interesting and exciting ride back down the mountain.
Just as we went exited the horse range, the snow and rain fell on us. We decided to drive to Lower Sykes and have alook. The rain was still falling there and a creek had formed down the middle of the road.
We would have end our day and head back towards Lovell. This time of year, I am always grateful to see any horses and today we saw several. Tomorrow will be another day on the mountain, and I can’t wait for it to get here!