Finally I am able to catch up on my thousands of photos that I took this summer while on the mountain. I spend hours going through them, editing and savoring each and every moment that I spent on the mountain. I never forget how lucky I am to be able to spend my summer on the mountain and share the horses with so many people. The mountain is special in many ways, even on the days when the horses don’t choose to show themselves. The healing power of the mountain, both physically and mentally is a gift, one that I will never take for lightly.
Below is just a taste of some of the many photos I took. This post starts with my June 21st trip and ends mid-July.
UPDATE: After reading Lola’s comment below about wishing I had told a few stories with the photos, I decided to add a few to these. Some photos tell there own stories, but some become better by knowing what is going on. So here you go!
Reaching the top of the mountain can be difficult anytime of the year, but this year was particular tough. The only access to the top until July the 3rd was up Burnt Timber Road. While that is my road of choice, it is not for many, which made the mountain even more quiet for the month of June.
We did however get a huge storm involving hail so thick it looked liked two inches of snow. The photo below is of Galaxy and his band just before that storm hit.
While on the mountain on July 9, a helicopter mapping out the fire remediation, startled the horses and those that remembered that sound from 2009 and before, immediately ran for the trees to avoid being rounded-up. While this made for some amazing photos, it made me sad that they would feel such panic with that sound. This is one of those photos.
June and July this year gave us all many opportunities to photograph the horses in the snow. The snow above Mystic pond was so deep and wide. The horses loved to come and stand on a warm day (65 degrees was warm this summer). I think the reflection of the sun warmed them, while the snow kept the temperature comfortable. The flies were not bad yet, so they weren’t there to avoid them.
The “Boys of Summer” (the bachelors) would occasionally just come charging through, for accomplishing nothing more than to stir up the many bands napping on the snow. Grijala especially seemed to enjoy bothering them.
All summer, I have said that Grijala is throughly enjoying life. Best of all worlds. The carefree life of a bachelor, doing whatever, whenever he chooses without the responsiblity of a family. But occasionally sneaking in and breeding a mare in heat that may have stood just a little bit away from her band. I joked that every band on the mountain may end up having a foal with a big “Grijala Star.”
Many have wondered how Broken Bow is doing in her new band, Mescalero’s. She seems to be just fine, enjoying life with them. Perhaps it was time for her to move on and be separated from her daughter Demure. Just like Topper and Topper Too, they each seem to be where they want to be at this time.
Cloud often came by our camp. He came through so much, I nic-named it: “Camp Cloud.”
Chino is another one that is enjoying his life. So wonderful to see him accepting his life without a band. I did see him dog a band or two, just for fun. But mostly he was either on his own or teaching a few young bachelors a thing or two.
Coronado lost his band to Irial during the helicopter appearance. For the first week, he took it very hard. Standing for hours without eating or drinking. I made a point of visiting him while he stood alone with his head down. Eventually he picked himself up and pushed on, joining his one time enemy Santa Fe. I watched them together alot. I do believe they may be planning a take over of the band. But Irial is very tough and vigilant and the mares seem to be settling in and accepting the change.
Galaxy was convinced that the best grass was on this side of the fence around Penn’s Cabin, and he easily either walked or jumped over the falling fence.
The wildflowers this year were more incredible than I ever expected, lasting even into the end of August. There was a big rain storm every single time I was on the mountain for a trip. Meaning about every 3-5 days the mountain received a good drenching.
After a day of horses, my June group did a short but incredible hike to a special place I share with only a few.
Everyone can rest assured, that Jackson is doing just fine. To me he seems to be enjoying the break. He never looks sad, but instead looks content, fatter than I have seen him look for many years. Often he is alone, but sometimes he joins the other bachelors.
While taking a special hike with a good friend, we discovered Jackson along with 3 other bachelors (Grijala, Mandan and Moorcroft) way up on the Skyline Meadow. A meadow seldom used by any of the horses.
Surprisingly, the horses chose to hide in the trees one early July day. Giving us the opportunity to find them in another part of the range. I love days like this, different backgrounds for our photos.