Mountain Update From My Last Trip

I decided I had better finish my update before too much time passed.  Sorry for the delay.  I have been a bit busy here at home!  My new “kids” Kootenani and Kiowa have been taking up a lot of my time.  I have been enjoying every second of my time with them.  It is hard for me to tear myself away from them.  But they are both napping in the sun this morning, so I decided I would work on this post.

On Saturday, September 1, Amber and I drove down Burnt Timber to meet my good friend Lori at Britton Springs.  I also got to meet another new friend there that day, Brianna.

I have decided not to share any of the photos of the horses in the pens.  I think we have all seen enough of those, and it is actually a bit painful for me to look at them, knowing I will probably not see most of these horses again.  Time to move on.

Just as Amber and I started down Burnt Timber Road we saw a few bachelors.  Two Boots, Santa Fe, Garay and Jasper.  We stopped and watched them for a few minutes.  They all looked really good.

We continued down the road.  Amber had never been down Burnt Timber Road, so it was fun to see (and hear) her reaction to it.

A few years ago, Amber was a mountain bike racer.  Both cross-country and downhill.  So Burnt Timber Road really brought those memories back for her and I could tell that she wished she was on the back of a mountain bike instead of an ATV.  I have also raced before, so I could relate to her view of the road.

We saw no more horses the rest of the way down.  I did not expect too, they are all on top right now.  The forage along the way looked better than on top in a lot of places.

We stopped at the bottom water guzzler and walked back to it.  I wanted to see if there was water in it.  I was pleasantly surprised to find it full (at least the drinking tank was)  Even in this dry summer, it seems there was enough rain to fill this one.  What a great addition to the range these water guzzlers are.

We left Britton Springs and headed towards Sykes Ridge Road.  I was giving Amber a tour of the range.  One that not very many people have done.  It is a necessary tour that I wish more people could witness.  Seeing the vast range from all sides and in between is important in order to understand the land that these horses really live on.

We started up Sykes Ridge Road.  We were about 2 miles up when Amber pointed out a black horse to our left.  I did not see him, my eyes were on the road (an important assignment for Sykes).  We stopped.  I could not believe our luck!  It was Inniq!

When I was here last month, I made a post that said that I had seen every horse on the range.  Well, at that time I had thought that Inniq was missing.  I had not heard anything about him for a very long time.  I learned just before I came that he was still alive.  So, NOW, I have seen every horse on the range.

He was alone today.  Think of your image of a wild horse, and Inniq is that.  He is the son of Sitting Bull and Cecelia.

Inniq was not happy that we were looking at him.  He was pretty far away, we had to look through the binoculars to get a good look at his markings and make sure who he was.  He turned and ran before I could get a photo of him.  We watched where he went and decided our best chance to get another look would be to continue down the road and hike up a hill.  It was a good decision, because we saw him again and I was able to snap a few photos before he turned and left again.

Inniq, September 1, 2012
Inniq stopped to have one more look at us. September 1, 2012

I never get used to this road.  This is my third trip up here.  I consider  Sykes Ridge Road to be a good aerobic workout, my heart beats very fast the whole way up!  🙂  Since the last time I was up this road, I learned one of the corners is called “Dead Biologist’s Corner”.  I won’t say anymore about that….

I made the mistake of telling Amber that one of the first narrow roads we went down was the scariest for me. She thought I meant that nothing else would be scary.  So when she said out loud “Oh wow…”  I quickly asked her (after we got up the “oh wow”) that if she could please keep her comments to herself that it would be very helpful for me.

We saw no horses (again, I did not expect too) after we saw Inniq.   We stopped about 15 miles up the road and Amber took these shots.  Can anyone figure out where we are above the Dryhead?  On the first photo you can see the road to the left.

Sykes Ridge Road View.
Sykes view
View from Sykes Ridge Road, September 1, 2012
Sykes View

There were some storm clouds starting to form behind us.  The wind was picking up and I became even more nervous.  The last thing I wanted to do was get caught in a storm on Sykes Ridge Road.  We continued up the road a bit faster.

I stopped to let Amber take a few shots of “Castle Rock” and to drink some water.  I knew that now we were getting close to the top (probably only about 5 or so more miles).

Castle Rock, September 1, 2012

We were both relieved when we arrived on top.  The storm never caught up to us.  There were however several groups of people on top now.  Our quiet time was over.

As we drove past Penn’s Cabin, I could see several horses ahead.  We drove back to our campsite and watched them all parade past us.

Several of you have asked what type and size camera and lens I use.  I thought I would post this photo for you to see.

Sandy, September 1, 2012

I was happy to see Tecumseh.  His wounds have healed and he was walking better than the last time I saw him.  He seems to have worked out a deal with Gringo.  He appears (at least that day) to be acting as a satellite bachelor and is allowed to be in the herd.  He was actually in the lead, with Gringo bringing up the rear.  Gringo also looked good.  He has put on some well needed weight.

Tecumseh, September 1, 2012
Gringo and Ketchikan, September 1, 2012

Over the next several hours we saw horses going past us in both directions.  It was a wonderful site to witness.

That day, Jasmine was back with White Cloud’s band.  Poor Damsel was huge.  To date, I have not heard if she has had her foal.

Coronado’s Band, September 1, 2012
Part of White Cloud’s Band, September 1, 2012
The rest of White Cloud’s band.
Damsel, September 1, 2012

Garay and Jasper were together this afternoon, unlike when we saw them in the morning with Two Boots and Santa Fe.  The bachelors all seem to change groups often.  Since March, I have seen them in several different combinations.


The next band that we saw was Grijala.  I was so hoping Quelle Colour would foal and that it would be Lakota’s, but I am thinking she may not be pregnant after all.

Quelle Colour, September 1, 2012

Grijala’s band of “Special K’s” has gotten smaller because of the removal.  He now only has Kohl and Kindra along with Quelle Colour.

Something was up with Blue Moon and his band.  Amethyst was running ahead of the rest of her band.  Snorting, with her tail up.  Blue Moon was trying to get her under control.  I have rarely seen any of these horses act like this and I wondered what the cause of it was.

Amethyst, September 1, 2012
Blue Moon runs after Amethyest.
Blue Moon and Amethyst.
Blue Moon stops to check on the rest of his band.

Amethyst’s actions caused Grijala to decide to move his small band out of there.

Grijala’s Band

Not far behind I saw Horizon running after Blue Moon’s band.  I wondered if he was trying to take someone or ones in Blue Moon’s band.  Juniper and Fiesta were not far behind.

We would not see them again, so I do not know the answer.

Horizon, September 1, 2012
Jupiter, September 1, 2012

Next to come by was Two Boots and Santa Fe.

Two Boots, September 1, 2012
Santa Fe

Not too far behind in the parade of horses was Dukes Band, Teton’s Band and Mescalero’s Band.

Meriwether, September 1, 2012
Mescalero and Rosarita
Missoula and Teton, September 1, 2012

Custer’s band and Jackson’s band came by us a short time later.

Brumby and Moorcroft, September 1, 2012

Off in the distance I saw Doc and his band.  I was really happy to see them.  I had not seen them yet.

Doc’s Band, September 1, 2012

I felt eyes on me and turned to the right.  I could just make out two sets of eyes looking at me just below a little dip in the land.  It did not take me long to figure out it was the Toppers!  I would know those eyes anywhere!  It seemed they paused for a shorter time before they continued towards us.  I am being to think they are getting to know me.

Topper 1 and Topper too, September 1, 2012
Topper One and Topper Too.
Chino, September 1, 2012

We also saw Morning Star and his beautiful band.

Morning Star’s band, September 1, 2012

Galaxy is Amber’s favorite stallion on the range.  So we were both really happy to see them again before dark.

Ireland, September 1, 2012
Galaxy and his band, September 1, 2012

I had not seen Cappuccino yet.  I had not seen this band since they lost 3 members.  Lilly, Kodiak and Kootenai.   Finally they came by us.  They all looked good, but I missed the other members.  I miss all the faces that I will not see again, but for some reason I really noticed the missing member’s of this band.

Cappuccino’s Band, September 1, 2012

As the sky darkened, we watched the horses peacefully grazing in the distance.  I never get tired of that view.  The peace, the beauty.

This would most likely be my last camping trip of the year.  The temperatures are beginning to fall and snow could be coming soon.  The mountains certainly need the moisture.   I am planning on coming again in a while to check on everyone before winter sets in.


September 1, 2012
Moon over the Pryors, September 1, 2012
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

Mountain Update, September 4th, 2012

I just got home yesterday from a wonderful trip to the Pryors with my daughter Amber. I wanted to get a post out while I unpack and repack.  I will be leaving on Thursday to go to the adoption.

We had beautiful weather and had the mountain completely to ourselves for about 24 hours.  I love when it ends up being that way.  We were able to watch the horses in their most natural state.  Without all of the disruptions of other people.  I think they know me, so after a few looks, I feel they go back to doing what they would have been doing if I was not there.

We arrived early on Thursday.   I am concerned with how dry the range looked.  The forage at the top of hill by Krueger Pond was eaten down very short.  The dust was thick.  There was still plenty of water in the Pond.  Mystic Pond is completely dried up.  The other small pond is just a large mud puddle, so Krueger is the main water source for them now.

It rained one night while we were there.  Not enough to make mud puddles, but enough to knock the dust back.  The range needs more.

As we drove into the Range from the Sage Creek side, we saw some horses.  It was White Cloud and some of his band heading down to the water.  I was eager to see if Damsel had her foal.  Last year she foaled on September 14, so I thought it may be a bit early.  She was still very pregnant.  Hopefully this year she will have a healthy foal.  Last year the foal was born blind and deformed and only survived a few days.

Damsel is the daughter of White Cloud.  For whatever reason, she remains with him.  His other daughter, Jasmine, has been trying to leave.  She was with Jackson’s band (again) when I saw her later on our first day.  Brumby actually seemed to be accepting her now.  At least her ears were not pinned back!  Then a day later Jasmine was back with White Cloud.  I hope she can make a permanent break soon.

Mica was really getting big.  After a few minutes with them, we left to go set up our camp.  I knew I would see them again.

White Cloud, August 30, 2012
White Cloud’s band (no Jasmine), August 30, 2012
White Cloud’s band, August 30, 2012

We continued down the road to our camp site.  On the right I saw Coronado’s Band and Baja’s band.  It was interesting this time to see so many of the bands close by each other, actually forming a big group of 2.  They would graze together and follow each other to the water.  It was all very peaceful.

I was happy to see Dove and her foal, a beautiful filly.  She seemed healthy.  We watched her nurse and then run around and play.

Baja and Washakie’s filly Meadowlark, was beautiful.  We spent a while watching these two bands together before they moved on.

Bacardi, August 30, 2012
Baja and Bacardi
Baja’s band and Coronado’s band together, August 30, 2012
Baja, Washakie and Meadowlark, August 30, 2012
Dove and her filly, August 30, 2012
August 30, 2012
Meadowlark, August 30, 2012
Washakie, Meadowlark and Baja, August 30, 2012

After setting up our camp, Amber and I decided to head back down to the pond and see who was there.  On our way we saw Teton and his band.

Teton’s band, August 30, 2012
Missoula and Half Moon
Missoula, August 30, 2012

We heard thundering hoofs and turned to see Galaxy and his band galloping down the hill.  I am always in awe when I see this beautiful stallion.  He seems to be such a good band stallion already.  Well, he is Lakota’s son after all.

Galaxy and his band, August 30, 2012
Galaxy and his band.
Maia, August 30, 2012
Galaxy, August 30, 2012

We watched them go into the woods.  I knew they were heading for the pond.

When we got there we saw that Galaxy had beaten us there and was wet from the water.  Coronado and Baja and their bands were there too.

Duke and his band were above us.

We stood on top of the hill above the pond, next to some trees.  I like to watch from up here. I feel if I am down right next to the pond, I would interfere with the natural behavior of the horses.  This is the only water source for these horses now.  I like to be as unobtrusive as possible.

August 30, 2012
August 30, 2012
Duke’s band, August 30, 2012

The next band to come was Bolders.  Baja and Bolder had a little discussion, but otherwise it was pretty quiet for a few minutes.  Amber and I were concerned with their interaction, only because little Meadowlark was so close by.  It ended in just a few seconds though.

Bolder and his band, August 30, 2012
Baja and Bolder
Baja and Bolder, August 30, 2012

Bolder’s band did not stay long and started to head up the hill towards us.

Bolder and Killian
Bolder, August 30, 2012
Celt and Killian
Lobo and Sapo
Celt, Killian and Bolder

We heard someone in the trees above the pond and saw 3 bachelors walk out.  Irial, Goldrush’s son London, and Jupiter.  Jupiter had a wound on his right hip.

We watched these boys walk down to the pond and splash and drink.  For whatever reason Bacardi decided she was very interested in them.  Maybe she saw the wound on Jupiter and wanted to get a closer look.  Baja ended that rather quickly.

Irial and London
London, August 30, 2012
Jupiter’s wound, August 30, 2012
Irial and London
Barcardi following the boys.
August, 30, 2012

All of the bands cleared out and we went back to our camp.

Heading towards us was Horizon, Fiesta and Juniper.  I call them the Odd Couple.  They have been this way for several months now.  For a few weeks, Joviana and her colt were with them.

Juniper is one of three buckskins on the mountain.

Fiesta, Juniper and Horizon, August 30, 2012

A little while later, Jackson and his band came by us.  The 3 foals had really grown since I saw them last.  Jasmine was with them tonight.

Moenkopi with Jasmine and her brothers Malestrom and Moorcroft, August 30, 2012
Jackson and Brumby
Galena, Hertiage and Firestorm, August 30, 2012
Moenkopi and Maelstrom
Moorcroft, Moenkopi and Maelstrom

I have said before, that if I am patient enough, all the bands seem to find me and go right past my camp.  It certainly seemed to be true this trip.  Amber and I would see every band walk by us several times in the days that we were there.

Just before dark we saw Knight, Inali and Hernando.  Darkness came faster than the last time I was here.  It was very dark now at 8:30.  Amber and I watched the sunset and the almost full moon rise.  This full moon is called a Blue Moon because it is the second full month in the month.  I feel lucky that I was able to spend both of them here on top of the Pryors.

Sunset in the Pryors, August 30, 2012

I will make more posts about this trip once I get back from the adoption.


Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

A Logo for Wild in the Pryors

I have been getting some requests for a logo for Wild in the Pryors.  I had not given it much thought, but because of my requests I decided to pursue it.

I consulted the best artist in Missoula, Montana to do the job.  I would settle for nothing less than her.

Amber Bushnell finished her MFA in Media Arts (Integrated Digital Media option) at the University of Montana in May 2011. Currently, along with being an online adjunct instructor for the University of Montana’s Media Arts Department, an artist, and freelance designer, she works as the Lead Designer / Creative Director for 2 of YouTube’s New Original Channels: SciShow & CrashCourse Biology. Her focuses and interests are in illustration, color, installations, experience design, live visual performance (VJing), animation, public art, interactive design, and collaboration. Most of her work combines digital and analog art methods with close attention to color, and she weaves historic and cultural details within her designs. Throughout her on going projects she strives to give viewers an experience, and hope to positively influence them with delight in discovery and curiosity.She has presented her work in Brooklyn, NY at the Pandemic Gallery, twice at Digital Graffiti Festival in Alys Beach, Florida (2010 & 2011), and a number of times in Missoula, MT including the Missoula Art Museum, Wilma Theatre, The Historic Missoula Mercantile (Macy’s Building), International Wild Life Film Festival, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, and First Night Missoula.
I spent an entire day working with Amber.  I wanted my logo to be of Lakota.  Below is the photo I gave Amber to work from.
Lakota, May 2012

I wanted more mane showing in the logo.  Since Lakota’s mane falls to the left, we decided to flip the design so that the mane could be on the correct side.

Here is the finished product.  We may make some slight adjustments.  For printing, it will be completely in black and white.

Logo design by Amber Bushnell

The best part about working with Amber is that she is my daughter!   And her payment will be that I will be taking her to the Pryors in August for a mother daughter trip!  Because not only is Amber a talented artist, but she also has a deep passion for the Pryor Horses, just like her mom!

To read more about Amber and to see what other work she has done, you can click on Amber, or go to the right of this post and click on Amber Studio!

Thanks Amber!


Amber in the Pryors, October, 2012
Amber and Sandy