We did not know what to expect on this third day up Burnt Timber. The weather forecast was not good: high of 40 degrees with 20-30 mph winds and gusts to 40 mph. I wondered if we would even see any horses today.
I dressed just like I did when I was there in February and even then, the wind cut through. There were periods of snow falling as well, but there was also some sun. Just enough sun to warm us and make us want to continue.
Our trip up the Dryhead was pretty successful considering the weather, so I was feeling a little more confident that we would see some horses up Burnt Timber. I reminded myself that every day was a gift and every horse that showed itself to me was a gift. I was having a great trip and thankful for those I did see. No expectations, then you are never disappointed.
No one was at the first water guzzler, so we continued far enough up the road so that we could see where, and if there were horses anywhere to hike to.
We all wondered what was happening with Cloud and Santa Fe. The day before we had spent on Sykes Ridge, so we had no idea if Santa Fe was still dogging Cloud.
I stopped in my favorite “scanning” place and looked around. No horses. Really not surprising. They were all tucked away out of this wind and the snow that was now falling.
We continued up the road and that was when I spotted Tecumseh/Gringos to the left. They were in a small protected area amongst some low-lying bushes.
I noticed right away, that Jacinta was still not with them. Three days since I had last seen them. I had hoped she would be back. Perhaps she got taken by one of the bachelors. I hope she is alright.
As we stood there and watched, I noticed that Tecumseh had some fresh wounds on him. They may have been there 3 days ago, they looked like they were healing some. Gringo had none. Was it as peaceful as I had thought? Was Tecumseh still keeping his role as Satellite bachelor, protecting and fighting off anyone who comes near? I do believe it is the latter. It still seemed that Gringo and Tecumseh were at peace. Grazing near one-another with no conflict.
I continued to drive up to Cheyenne Flats. No horses were visible over on Sykes today. We all decided that it would be a good day to hike down to the water guzzler here. It would be out of the wind and seemed like a perfect place for some horses to be.
We reached it and saw no one. Not even any fresh tracks in the soft ground.
We had just returned to Ophelia when I spotted a horse in the trees not far away. It was Mica, looking particularly handsome in a patch of white snow.
It did not take us long to hear some commotion coming from behind those trees. It was Cloud and another horse. Santa Fe must still be at it. But when I saw the other horse, it was not Santa Fe. It was 21-year-old Chino.
We followed and watched the scene unfold. It appeared to me that Chino was more aggressive than Santa Fe had been. Keeping Cloud and his band on the move. We would later see them (about 1/2 hour later) about 5 miles down Burnt Timber.
The one thing I did notice, was that Cloud seemed to look ever so slightly better than when I had seen him two days before. Not quite as thin. I think that is most likely due to being able to hydrate. I know that when a horse is very dehydrated, they look very “sucked in”. What ever the reason, it was good to see him look a little better and I was glad that he may have had a break.
The rest of Cloud’s band just continued to graze unless Cloud snaked them further from Chino.
We had hiked quite some distance following them. They were clearly heading down the mountain, so we turned to go back and head down the road.
As I neared the lower water guzzler, I noticed a band there. It was Galaxy and his band. We parked and started to unload. It was then that I turned and saw all of Galaxy’s band looking in the distance, past the guzzler to the east. I could see a lone dun horse running fast towards them. It took me a minute to realize that is was MacKeahnie, Cappuccino and Gabrielle’s two-year old colt.
I think he was just thirsty and decided to run towards the water, not realizing that Galaxy was there. He quickly learned the error of his way.
Galaxy chased him off, but MacKeahnies thirst or perhaps it was his loneliness made him try a second time. It appeared to me that MacKeahnie had been kicked out of his family band. The first few months are hard for a young colt. They no longer have the comfort of being in the protection of their family. But hopefull in a short while, he will find some comfort in a new band. A bachelor band. They will become his new family, and in some ways, this can be a carefree time, until he reaches the age of wanting to start a band of his own. Endless summer days of sparring and eating, sleeping and doing it all over again. He will become a new “Boys of Summer”. I am looking forward to watching MacKeahnie become one.
But on this day, it was impossible not to feel sorry for him. He was alone. Galaxy refused to give him any slack. When MacKeahnie decided to try again, Galaxy chased him off yet again, but this time it was in a more aggressive way.
MacKeahnie next decision was to take some comfort by staying closer to us. We sat by Ophelia and watched him work his way closer to us. It seemed to give him comfort to be by ANYONE. My heart hurt for him. But other than being alone, he looked good.
He stayed by us for over an hour. It was good to relax and just be in the moment. We decided to stay until he chose to move on. I was sure he had enough of horses leaving and rejecting him in the time that he had been kicked out of his family. I did not want to be yet another that turned his back on him. After an hour or so, he again (but this time gradually) made his way towards the guzzler. I could see that Galaxy was beginning to move on and hoped that MacKeahnie would finally be able to get the drink he wanted.
We then drove the short way to park and hike back to the mineral lick. But no horses were there. It was time to head back down for the night.
It had been an amazing trip, we had seen 91 horse, many of those I had not seen since last fall. No expectations, then you won’t be disappointed.
I had initially thought I could do one last post with photos and stories from day 2 and 3 on Burnt Timber, but as I began to go through my photos, I decided it would be to large of post. So I will have one more post after this one.
After our morning trip up the Dryhead, we unloaded Ophelia and headed up Burnt Timber Road. This would be our second day on Burnt Timber this trip. The weather said we may get some rain in the afternoon, but that did not bother me in the least. I am very comfortable driving this road in most conditions now.
The first bands we came to were by the water guzzler. It was Jackson’s band and Cloud’s band. Clouds still being dogged by a very determined Santa Fe. I thought they both looked even thinner, just in 24 hours.
It was good to see Jackson and band. The last I had heard, Heritage was not with him, so I was glad to see her back with him again. Also there were both Aztec and Jasmine, bringing Jackson’s band count to 11.
I was sorry that I was not able to get closer photos, but shortly after we arrived, Jackson decided to move his band further away from the Cloud/ Santa Fe conflict.
We stayed watching Cloud and Santa Fe chasing one another back and forth. I have been asked a few times if Mica showed any interest in helping Cloud chase Santa Fe off. No, none. I believe that this particular aggression with Santa Fe (and the others that have continued to dog Cloud) mean business. No place for a 2 year old inexperienced colt. I am glad that Mica was not joining him, I think it is a wise decision on his part.
After a while, we decided to make our way up the road and see what other horses we could find. I was happy to see Hernando and his new band of Warbonnet and Phoenix. Of course we constantly thought of Teton and scanned the range for him each and every day. We never were able to locate him. I hope someone sees him and let’s us all know. I know there are many of us whose hearts ache for this older stallion.
I continued up the road, stopping at Cheyenne Flats to have a look at what horses I could see over there. I don’t have a spotting scope, so I am not 100% sure whose band that is. I saw a total of 20 horses far over there, but was unable to confirm who they were. If anyone wants to let me know who they think this is, I would appreciate it. I was first thinking Morning Star, but I am not sure.
I wanted to see just how far I could get up the road, and we made it to almost the old horse trap area before we encountered two much snow.
On our way back down, Doc and Demure crossed the road in front of us. Right in the exact area where Anh and I had spent hours with Jacksons band in February. I am sure Demure has most likely had her foal by now. I hope it is a healthy foal that survives this year.
I wanted to see what was over a hill, so I hiked up, and was just about face-to-face with Maia. I knew I was way to close, so quickly turned and went back down. We drove down the road a short way and hiked back towards them. I knew we would be at a better distance this time.
Maia looks very pregnant to me.
When we reached the water guzzler where we had left Cloud earlier, we found him and Santa Fe still going at it. Also there were Nancy and Matt from PMWMC. It was good to stop and talk with them for a short time. We both shared information about the horses, then went opposite directions.
We decided to head down and see if we could see more horses, leaving Santa Fe and Cloud.
As luck would have it, I spotted Cappuccino and his band again. They were grazing and then headed over to eat the minerals by the road. Still no McKeahnie with them. But Matt had told me that they had seen him. He was alone he said, but looked to be just fine. I hoped we would see him. He is one of my favorite two-year olds.
Again, another two year old filly looks to be pregnant. This time it is Moenkopi. She is the 2012 daughter of Galena and Jackson.
The wind was picking up, but still no rain, so we turned around and headed back up the road. We thought we would end our day by seeing how Cloud and Santa Fe were doing.
They were still at it. I found myself worried for both of them. Neither is a young stallion. Santa Fe was born the same year as Cloud, 1995. Both stallions will be 19 this year.
The rain was starting to come down. Sideways. The wind was strong as we hurried to Ophelia and made our way back down the mountain. Grateful for yet another fantastic day on the range.
What is it about the Pryor Horses, or any wild horses for that matter? They each give us a gift that if you take the time to listen and except it, it will change your life. Forever. Some people just want to go and see them, others want to feel their presence. To me that is what it is all about. Feel the horses and the land, it has much to offer.
On this trip I was given two very special people to share the horses with. Ones that want to take the time to experience all that the horses have to offer. People that don’t mind sitting for hours (in the snow!!) just watching and enjoying every little move or interaction. Thank you Anh and Kimerlee for being there with me and sharing in my passion.
The morning of February 18 was clear and sunny. The temperature was 25 as we left Lovell and headed towards Burnt Timber Road. The expected high was to be 38 in Lovell. A perfect day. We were all looking forward to seeing more horses.
Along the way, we spotted another Bald Eagle perched in a tree.
We parked, unloaded Ophelia and loaded her back up with all of our camera equipment, lunches, water, shovels, emergency supplies and were headed up the frozen road by 9. I was happy for the firm mud on the lower part of the road. I also want to note and give thanks to Ginger for her tracks that she made in the snowy road just a few days before I got there. For the most part they were still there, packed down, making our journey a bit easier.
I stopped where we had spotted Cappuccino and band and Jasper and Grijala the evening before. Hiking over the hill, I only saw the two bachelors, still in the same area. We decided to continue on. My goal was to again get as far as the mine and park there where I would have a great view of the range.
We made it there with little trouble. I do think that long red hill is a bit scary any time of the year (because of its narrowness), but in the winter, it can be a tad more-so.
I spent some time looking through my binoculars (wishing I had a scope!). After a short time I suggested we leave Ophelia parked ( I knew the next part of the road was going to most likely be more difficult with very little room to turn around). I love hiking and had a feeling that we may see Jackson and his band from where I had spotted them the afternoon before.
The hiking was pretty easy. The road was packed down and we only sunk to our knees in the snow a couple of times.
Just a short way up the road, I caught a glimpse of some horses. It was Phoenix, Warbonnet and Hernando. Where was Half Moon and Missoula? I thought perhaps they were ahead and I just missed seeing them. Hernando had a very obvious limp.
I was hoping to see them again, once I got to the top of that hill. Instead, I saw this:
While I was happy to see Jackson (always!!), I was also disappointed not to be able to get a closer look at Hernando and his new band. I could see Jackson watching up the draw, so I assumed that Hernando was most likely down that way too. I also heard a horse calling for others (Teton?) and also the noise of a stallion trying to breed a mare.
We stopped in our tracks and let Jackson and his beautiful band get used to our presence before moving on. I am especially careful in the winter months about my movements. I do not want to be the cause of a horse expanding anymore energy than they normally would. Patience is a great virtue to have with wild horses, especially in the winter.
Once I saw them carrying on normally (grooming, grazing, not always focused on us), then and only then did we move pass them and away to a good place to “camp out”.
I was surprised and happy to see the bare ground and the amount of forage available to them in this area. These horses don’t have open water from the guzzlers in this area. The guzzlers are frozen in the winter months, so unless it is a warm day with some puddles, the snow is their only water source. Amazing creatures, so strong with their will to survive.
I chose a big rock to sit and watch these amazing horses. I love when they carry on as if we are not there. It truly is a gift that they give us to see and I soaked up every minute of it.
I quickly spotted Hernando just below the hill from Jackson’s band. He seemed nervous. It was not the best place for him to be. He kept looking up the hill every time a horse got closer to him. But he could not see who it was, which added to his nervousness. I still could not see Half Moon or Missoula and I found myself starting to worry about them. I knew there was no way I could walk past Jackson and closer to them without disturbing them too much, so I stayed parked and waited.
Brumby and Moorcoft were enjoying the slushy snow, which lead to some mutual grooming and then Moorcroft spent several minutes nursing. That made me decide that Brumby was just round (as always) and not pregnant. But of course I could be wrong. We will just have to wait and see.
Hernando was getting even more nervous, as Heritage worked her way towards the hill directly above them. Jackson sensed a change and went over to move his band back and check out the situation.
I could no longer see Hernando, Phoenix and Warbonnet and assumed they had worked their way further down. Jackson stayed alert, but started to relax a bit more, appearing to nap in the warm sun, watching over Firestorm and Niobrara.
The band took Jackson que and began to move on over the ridge.
We waited until they were out of sight over the ridge before we decided to go up and see if we could see anything. I snapped this photo of where Firestorm had been lying and where she had rolled. I was surprised to see the imprint of the ribs and realized that she was still on the thin side this year, but better than the last.
The horses were moving down the ridge. I was a bit cautious on where we should go to look. I knew that there was an avalanche warning in Western Montana on anything with more than a 30 degree slope. Even though there was bare ground here, there was still plenty of deep snow around. Those type of conditions could easily set off an avalanche. Ice on top of snow with more snow on top of the ice. Very unsettled layers. I did not want to risk it.
We made our way a few feet down the road where I could just make out a place on the ridge that was bare. I started to hike to it and got stuck, about 6 feet from the ridge. With cameras and backpack, there was not way I could even attempt to “swim” up the rest of the way. I turned around and snapped this photo of Kimerlee coming down. I really thought it gave a good perspective. You can see my tracks where I came down too.
We continued down the road looking for another place to the ridge. I was concerned on the location of Jackson and did not want to risk disturbing them. So we found a comfortable spot and sat and watched the location of everyone. We could see the occasional head poke up on the ridge.
I still had not seen Half Moon and Missoula. After several hours, I was beginning to think that they were not with Phoenix and Warbonnet.
At one point we watched Jackson run towards Hernando. There was a very brief encounter between the two of them, then it was quiet.
While we sat there, we mapped out a possible way to get through the deep snow to the ridge. We waited until we could not longer see Jackson. It appeared they were moving back to the area where they were before. We took this opportunity to slowly make our way up to the ridge.
As we approached the ridge, this is what I saw: Heritage. I have a soft spot for this beautiful mare. She is the mother of my adopted Pryor, Kootenai. I am so hoping that her plump shape means she is pregnant. Heritage does not have any offspring on the range now. A Heritage (daughter of Warbonnet and Lakota) would be a wonderful thing, not to mention that it would also be a Jackson offspring.
The band did not seem to mind us being there. We settled in the deep snow and watched them on the patch of bare ground, enjoying their interaction with each other and soaking up their amazing presence. It truly was a gift to be here and I treasured every second of it.
The young colt Maelstrom had grown into such a handsome boy. Other than his color, he is beginning to look so much like Jackson. He seems to be equally as confident as his father and will someday make an amazing band stallion.
Then they moved slightly up the ridge and gave us a blue sky background that seemed fake. We all looked at each other in disbelief. Was this really happening?
Kimerlee and I have birthdays soon, so we looked at each other and said ” Happy Birthday to us”! I certainly do not need any more than what was given to me this day.
We watched the band slowly work their way off the ridge and to the other side of the road. We took the opportunity to walk down the ridge a bit, but still did not see Hernando.
I left Kimerlee and Anh and hiked up a near-by hill to have a look around and snap some wide-angle shots.
I looked through my binoculars and spotted some horses! It was Doc and his band and with them were Half Moon and Missoula!! I was relieved to see them and glad they were okay.
Demure looks to be pregnant. I don’t think Half Moon is, but I hope I am wrong, if she is, it could very well be Teton’s last offspring.
Changes…my heart ached for Teton and hoped he was still okay. It is the cycle of life for a band stallion to loss his band when he ages, but it did not make my heart ache any less. I am happy for Hernando. He is an amazing stallion. Time will tell if he can hold on to what he now has. The mountain changes by the day, and I wondered how things would shake out by spring.
I turned my focus back to Jackson’s band and watched them peacefully grazing. What an amazing day we were having.
The day was turning late. We needed to hike back to Ophelia and start to head down the mountain. As we reached Ophelia, Anh spotted a lone horse way up on a hill. I looked through the binoculars to get a better look. It was Teton. Could the rest of his band see him from where they were? I think they could. I certainly know from where Teton was he could most likely see them.
This day was filled with joy, sadness and peace. We continued down the mountain, not seeing another horse, but feeling very full-filled. We reached the bottom of the range, just as the sun was about to set.
Kimerlee Curyl is an amazing photographer and also a beautiful person inside and out. I was happy to be able to share with her the Pryor Horses for the first time and look forward to many more meetings with her. Anh has become a best friend and I was excited that she could join me on this trip. Words can not express how great my time with these two amazing women were.
You can find out more about Kimerlee and see some of her gorgeous work by going to her website. Click on Kimerlee to go there.
Our third day we decided to spend hiking around Turkey Flats, with an early morning drive up the Dryhead first.
For the first time in a long time, I saw the Greeters in “proper” place. Just a short distance after we entered the range. Way up on a hillside. This day was starting out very cloudy and we hoped it would clear enough to give us some good light for photos.
I was really pleased to see Hightail looking so good. Born in 1990, Hightail will be 24 this year. Both Seneca and Hickok looked good too.
We continued driving down the road to look for more horses. I have never had much luck seeing horses in the Dryhead this time of year. But so far this trip I had seen 4.
I turned to go to the Devil’s Lookout area and was surprised to see the river completely frozen over below. The dark sky and the frozen water in the canyon made for some very forbidding photos. This was the first time I had my wide-angle lens with me and I loved the images I was able to capture. Like putting the canyon in my pocket and taking it home with me.
Seeing no other horses in this part of the range, we headed towards the Range entrance at Lower Sykes. Remembering what the road looked like the afternoon before, I wondered how it would be this morning. It was 28 right now, so I was hoping it had firmed up.
We loaded my UTV (Ophelia ) up with our camera gear and supplies and headed up the red dirt road. The beautiful of this area is breathtaking, no matter what time of year I come here.
I parked Ophelia a couple of miles up the road and we got out to go search for horses. I will admit, it seems that this time of year, I do not have much luck finding horses here. First, let me say: Turkey Flats is NOT flat. Sure, there are areas that are flatter than the tall hills that surround them, but for the most part, it is made of ravines that dip in and out of a vast landscape. I climbed a tall hill to look around with my binoculars. Quickly locating Jesse James on a far-away butte. I always snap a photo, just for record keeping, no matter the distance, just in case I am not able to locate them later if I am closer. The photo below of Jesses James is when I was a bit closer, but still taken at 310 mm.
My luck would be no different today. We hiked for hours. I scampered up several hills and did see 3 horses moving off. By the time I went back to get Anh and Kimerlee, they had vanished into the landscape. If I was to guess, I would say it was Mica, Inocentes and Feldspar and from the location that Ginger had given us of where she saw Cloud just a few days before, I could be right. But for the first time, I did not snap that photo and I will never really know for sure.
We continued hiking closer to Jesse James and I was pleased to see another horse with him, a black one. I could not make out if it was Issaquah or Joseph, but it was not Hawk. I am leaning towards thinking it was Issaquah, but not being able to see the legs to determine if there was a right hind sock (Joseph), I can’t be 100%.
It always amazes me how steep of terrain these horses can graze on. I hope these shots give you some feel of just how steep it really was.
It was almost 3 pm. We made a group decision to give up on Turkey Flats for the day and head up Burnt Timber road for the rest of the afternoon. We turned to hike back to the road. It was a bit late in the day to head up BT, but the sky was clear and I knew I would not be going up too far.
With some luck and a little extra persuasion, Ophelia was able to climb up the road past where we had gotten stuck in the snow the day before. My hope was to get to the mine area where I could have an excellent view of where there may be horses. As we climbed up, I saw Jackson and band making their way over a ridge further up. It was too late in the day to go up that far, so we stopped and turned our attention to what might lie below us.
I spotted 10 horses on a ridge far below us. It was getting late, so we decided to head down and try to locate them. We all mentally noted some landscape landmarks and hoped to be able locate them as we made our way back down the road. Several miles back down the road, I pulled over, hoping my guess would be right. I hiked up a ridge and there they were! It was Cappuccino and band along with two new members: Aztec and Jasmine. Grijala and Jasper were near by a bit further down the ridge.
It was a beautiful spot to stop, watch horses for a while and enjoy a sunset. I knew I could safely make it down the rest of the way (only about 2 miles) without a problem, even in the fading light. We had not seen many horses that day and wanted to just sit and soak up their beauty.
Everyone looked good. Gabrielle is definitely pregnant and appears to look better than she did last year at this same time. Cappuccino looked a bit thin, but Aztec was keeping him very busy breeding her.
It was time to head down the road towards the truck. We stopped several time to take photos of the beautiful landscape in the setting sun.
It had been a busy day of hiking and exploring the range. I felt good about the horses I had seen. There were areas where the snow was past our thighs, but also some bare areas where the horses were able to find forage. They all looked good and I hoped that winter would be kind to them for another couple months. Our plan for the next day would be to head up Burnt Timber once again.
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!
I knew Sunday would possibly be my last day to be on the range. There was a snow storm predicted for the next day. I wanted to get an early start. We were heading up the Dryhead just as daylight came.
This was day two of my wide-angle lens. After reviewing my photos from the day before, I realized I had several shots with some lens flare. Today I would have to be more aware of where the sun was.
I was deeply in love with this lens, despite the challenge it seemed to be presenting to me. The photos it took made me feel as if I was actually bringing the range home with me.
We saw some horses right as we entered the range. The Greeters. But this morning it was only Seneca and Hightail. I could not see Hickok anywhere. I have seen Hickok missing from this band a couple of times over the last year. I always thought he was just around a hill close by. But this morning I would find him a few miles away.
We stayed for just a few minutes before we continued down the paved road of the Dryhead.
We saw Johnston and Hawk way out on Mustang Flats. Since this day was most likely our last on the range, we decided not to spend the time hiking out to them.
We turned on the road that lead to the Devils Outlook parking lot. I wanted to get some shots with the wide-angle lens.
From the Dryhead, I headed to lower Sykes and unloaded the ATV. After checking the water catchments in this lower area, I turned to head up the road towards the red hills.
Just past the red hills I stopped. I could see a dark horse heading our way. It was Hickok! He briefly stopped to look around and then continued right past us.
Hickok seemed to be on a mission to get somewhere, and if I had to guess where, I would say most likely back to his mares, Seneca and Hightail, who were a couple of miles away.
After Hickok left, I parked the ATV. We spent some time hiking and looking through the binoculars.
My plan for the day when I mapped it out before I realized there would be a storm, was to head up Sykes. My perfect plan for this trip would have been: Day One on BT, Day Two on Sykes, Day 3 back to BT.
As I drove further up Sykes, I began to think about this plan. I knew it could be 8-10 miles up this road before I saw horses. I really wanted to see these horses, but with my luck from the day before, I hated to risk driving that far and not finding any. I knew if I went back to Burnt Timber, I could find horses there AND see the horses on Sykes from a couple of areas on BT. After spending a minute or two talking it over, we turned around and headed to Burnt Timber instead.
I really wanted to see Baja and check on their new foal Nahwa who had just been born in September.
Again I headed up far enough to be able to get a good look around. We saw Jackson’s band again where we left them the afternoon before. We decided not to hike to them, but to continue on in search of other horses.
We reached Cheyene Flats, where I stopped to look over to Sykes through the binoculars. I immediately saw several horses and concluded that it was Bolder’s Band and Coronado’s Band. I have uploaded these photos in full size so you can click on them to have a closer look. Please let me know if you think they are different horses than what I have concluded.
I also briefly saw what appeared to be a band of 3 horses, or part of a band. The stallion snaked them away from these bands and into the trees before I could Identify them or take a photo.