August In The Pryors. Part 4.

Nirvana checks out her reflection.
Nirvana checks out her reflection.

This night was filled with the sounds of horses.  Not as many stallion screams as the night before, but still plenty of activity.  It seemed some of the horses were finally moving down towards this part of the mountain.

At 5:00 am, I was awoke by the sound of a very loud whinny.  I sat straight up in my tent.  It was still dark out.  I sat there waiting for another whinny.  Had I really heard a whinny, or had I dreamt it?  Regardless if it was real or not, I decided to get up.

I had just finished making coffee when I could see a few horses down the road.  It was Cappuccino and his band.  It was just beginning to get light.

I was happy to see them for a couple of reasons.  One was to see that Cappuccino was indeed back with the band after running with the boys two days ago, and two,  I had learned the night before from some visitors (thank you Patty!) that one of the yearlings had been wounded.  They showed me the photo and I knew instantly it was McKeahnie.  I was anxious to see the wound for myself.

McKeahnie was lagging behind a bit, but did not seem to bad.  It appears to be a puncture wound.  It was beginning to drain pus out.  From time to time he would stop and bit at his hind foot.  I wondered if he had a bit of numbness from the wound.  I was concerned, but I do believe it will heal just fine.   I did call Jared and let him know.  And I will be looking forward to seeing how he is when I go up again soon.

We spent some earlier morning time with this band while we waited for the sun to come up.  The photos are a bit grainy because of the low light.

Naara
Naara
Blanca
Blanca
Blanca
Blanca
Blanca
Blanca
Naara
Naara
Naara
Naara
Moenkopi
Moenkopi
McKeahnie
McKeahnie
McKeahnie
McKeahnie
McKenhnie
McKenhnie

They seemed a bit bothered by our presence, so we left them and headed down Burnt Timber road where I had seen some horses heading earlier.  There were several bands there.  Galaxy, Blue Moon, Garay, Coronado, and Baja.  The first time in days they had gone down this way.

Galadrial and Beulah
Galadrial and Beulah
Ketchikan and Gringo
Ketchikan and Gringo

 

 

Tecumseh
Tecumseh
Tecumseh
Tecumseh
Coronado's without Santa Fe.
Coronado’s without Santa Fe.
Garay
Garay
Nirvana
Nirvana
Nirvana
Nirvana
Sequoyah
Sequoyah
Sequoyah and Nirvana
Sequoyah and Nirvana
Isadora
Isadora
Bacardi
Bacardi

IMG_1982 IMG_1972

 

Topper Too
Topper Too
Washakie and Baja
Washakie and Baja
Baja
Baja
Washakie
Washakie
Topper Too
Topper Too

 

Maia
Maia

We stayed there until the sun started to get hot, watching them move into the trees for shade and relief from the flies.

We had to head down the mountain today.  We went back to camp to pack up.  Tomorrow I would have a day trip and be back up here.

Today I wanted to get down and check out lower Skyes, hoping to get a glimpse of Cecila.  I had heard that some thought she was pregnant.  I had not seen her since February. I knew that she had foaled last year the middle of August.  So I was pretty sure if she was, she may have a new foal with her.

Just as we were leaving, we saw Cloud and his band.

Mica
Mica
Mica
Mica
Nimbus and Inocentes
Nimbus and Inocentes
Nimbus
Nimbus
Feldspar
Feldspar
Cloud
Cloud

I always keep a watchful eye out as I head down Burnt Timber, even though most of the horses are on top.

I had not seen Garcia and band.  But as spread out as the horses were right now, I thought perhaps I may have missed him.  I also still was holding out hope that I would see Two Boots or Starman or even Prince.

We were high up the road above the lower water guzzlers when I noticed some dark-colored horses by one of the guzzlers.  My heart skipped a beat.  Was Two Boots one of them??  I looked through the binoculars.  It wasn’t Two Boots, but it was Garcia and his band!  How cool was that??  They were the only band using this part of the range right now.  Smart band.  The forage of course was not as great as on top, but they had the whole place to themselves.  It was so great to see the water guzzlers doing what they hoped it would do.  AND there was still water for them in them!

We stopped and hiked back to them.  They were very surprised to see us and were a bit bothered by our presence.  So after snapping a few photos, we left them to their solitude.

Millicent, Norma Jean, Great and Garcia, August 22, 2013
Millicent, Norma Jean, Great and Garcia, August 22, 2013

When we reached Lower Sykes, the thermometer on the truck read 95 degrees.  It would be like an oven out there for hiking, but I was determined to check on Cecilia.  I hiked up a couple tall hills and glassed around.  It only took me a minute to spot them way off.   I don’t believe Ceceila is pregnant.

Ceceila, Mato and Sitting Bull, August 22, 2013
Ceceila, Mato and Sitting Bull, August 22, 2013

It had been a great first 5 days on the mountain.

Later that evening I met with Matt and Nancy at the PMWMC.  We talked about the new proposed PZP program.  Here is a link to their blog on the letter they wrote.  Click CENTER to go there.

There is still time to submit your letter too.  Click HERE for more information on how to do that.

Sandy

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

August in The Pryors. Part One.

Galaxy, August 18, 2013
Galaxy, August 18, 2013

I just returned from 9 full days in the Pryors.  I spent time on top of the mountain and in the Dryhead.  I thought I would make one, maybe two posts, but after going through my photos and realizing that I was way over 200 photos and still had a few days left, I decided to break up the posts in several parts.

Maia
Maia

We arrived on the mountain top the afternoon of August 18.  Not a horse was in sight on the top.  Not too unusual, but that pattern would continue for the entire time we were there.

We were just done setting up camp, when I noticed some horses in the trees nearby.  It was Galaxy and Teton’s band.

Both bands were the same and all looked really good.  They moved on after about an hour.

Limerick
Limerick
Hera and Galaxy
Hera and Galaxy
Ireland
Ireland
Galaxy
Galaxy

 

Half Moon
Half Moon
Missoula
Missoula
Teton
Teton
Maia
Maia
Maia
Maia
Limerick
Limerick
Hera
Hera  

We then decided to head down to Kreuger Pond.  The only water source on top that still had water (besides the guzzler way up on top).  I really dislike hanging out by the water source and waiting for horses to appear.   But we would find that for this trip, it was some of the only times we would be able to see the horses.

The sun was about to set.  There were several bands hanging down by the fence.  I spent my time looking through my binoculars instead of taking photos.

We saw Baja, one of the bands that I expected to see a new foal with.  But poor Washakie was still pregnant.  I have a theory on why I think she is so late this year.  Meadowlark was born late July 2012.  When Washakie went into her foal heat, the gather was still happening, or had just finished.  I feel the stress from that kept her from conceiving then.  Putting her to conceive a month (or more) later than she should have.  I really hope she foals soon.  With every passing the day, the likelyhood of a foal going into winter so young is not good.  The survival rate decreases.  Because they lost Meadowlark last winter and also several from the removal, I would really like to see a healthy foal that lives this year.

The one band that we did spend some time with, just before it got dark, was Custers.   I could not believe how much Nodin had grown in just a few short weeks.

Nodin
Nodin
Winnemucca
Winnemucca
Nodin
Nodin

IMG_0364

The next day would start off watching a few bands graze down the hill from the pond.

Firestorm
Firestorm
Jackson
Jackson
Jackson
Jackson

From there we decided to take a long hike.  I had been wanting to go up to Bigfoots valley (the empty meadow) again.  It had been 2 years since I had hiked up there.  That is where a water guzzler is with a lot of great forage.  It still baffles me why the horses do not use it.

My plan was to hike up to the ledge and continue along the rim, looking for other Vision Quests (or Fasting Beds).  I then was hoping to drop down to Kreguer Pond and catch the horses drinking there in the afternoon.

The air was heavy with smoke from several nearby fires in Yellowstone and some of it was even coming from fires in Idaho.  Our view was not as clear and dramatic has I  before.

After stopping and paying respect to what was left of Bigfoots remains, we continued hiking along the rim.

View along the ledge at the top.
View along the ledge at the top.
Bigfoots Meadow
Bigfoots Meadow

IMG_0450 IMG_0452 IMG_0460

We continued to hike as far as we could along the rim. Then came to a thick woods area.  I picked a small path to follow. The path lead us to a  huge Vision Quest and a very apparent Fasting Bed.  It was a very secluded spot, not something that someone would just stumble on.   We did not stay long, it was a very sacred spot, that I felt I did not belong in.

By the time we arrived at the pond, several bands were coming to drink.

Morning Star band
Morning Star band
Custer and Band
Custer and Band

IMG_0569

Running for the water
Running for the water
Coronado's Band, including Santa Fe
Coronado’s Band, including Santa Fe
Santa Fe
Santa Fe

IMG_0578

Coroando's Band and Cloud's Band
Coroando’s Band and Cloud’s Band
Jacksons heading in.
Jacksons heading in.
Jacksons
Jacksons
Jacksons
Jacksons
Firestorm and Niabrara
Firestorm and Niabrara
Maelstrom and Niabrara
Maelstrom and Niabrara

We went back to camp for some dinner and a short break, then came back down and spent sunset with the horses.  There was not another human on the mountain that night.  Just us.  The horses were so relaxed and at peace.  It was one of the more special times I have ever shared with them.

IMG_0668

Noble
Noble
Lariat.  Back with her band.  I never saw her back with Garay this trip.
Lariat. Back with her band. I never saw her back with Garay this trip.
Meriweather
Meriweather
Noble
Noble
Noble
Noble
Naolin
Naolin
Naolin
Naolin
Manuelita
Manuelita
Naolin grooming his sister
Naolin grooming his sister
Naolin
Naolin
LaBrava
LaBrava
Manuelita
Manuelita
Baja and Washakie, August 19, 2013
Baja and Washakie, August 19, 2013
Washakie
Washakie
Amethyst
Amethyst
Sunset, August 19, 2013
Sunset, August 19, 2013
Dove and Maneulita
Dove and Maneulita

The days were getting shorter.  Darkness was coming fast.  We headed back to camp.  Tired from our hike, but filled with a peacefulness that only a mountain empty of people, but full of wild horses, can bring to you.

Sandy

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell