A Visit To The Dryhead

hawkband1

The Dryhead horses can be very elusive, especially in the summer months.  The summer is very hot, and if you are not there in the morning just as the sun rises, as I have found out many times,  you may not see a single horse.  But in the fall, they begin to be a bit more visible, but can still be difficult to find.  My friend Laura Curtis always seems to have a way of spotting the horses, and she takes beautiful photos of them.

Laura and her husband John just returned from a trip, and she shared a report and photos of what she saw in September and October of this year.   Thank you so much Laura, it is great to see all of these horses!

Below are her words and photos.

Sandy

hightail1
Autumn in the Pryor Dryhead

John and I went to the Dryhead for a couple of days this Fall in September and again in October.

In September, the first band we saw was the “Greeter” band. Hickok and Kitalpha with their foal Quasar, Seneca, Nova and Prima. The early morning mist at Crooked Creek made Kitalpha’s photos look like paintings.

I miss the awesome mare Hightail, so much.  She was the very first Pryor wild horse I saw as she was leading the Greeters at the State Line. I loved her and also her son Chino. Hightail is the granddam of Jesse James. The above photo May 28, 2015, is my last time with her and her great spirit still burned brightly as she walked through the spring wildflowers.

Note from Sandy:  Hightail was the first horse I ever saw, walking down the middle of the road, she lead me to Admiral and the rest of his band, at Crook Creek Bay. 

hickok1
Hickok
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Kitalpha
quasar
Quasar

Next we saw Fiero and Strawberry grazing beside the Devil’s Overlook Road. Near them these sweet bighorn lambs were sunning by the road.

Then we saw Hawk with his band, Fresia, Oak, Parry, Morgana and Oglala on a high ridge across from the entry to Devil’s Overlook Road. I hiked up to see Hawk snaking the three boys trying to keep the band tight together as Fresia and Morgana moved away. This band has been together since June.

bighornlambs

hawksnaking

At Mustang Flats we were surprised by a bobcat near the road that quickly ran away. As we left the Flats we saw Chief Joseph high on a western hill grazing alone.

Note from Sandy:  I saw a Bobcat on one of my trips up Burnt Timber this past summer.  They must be making a comeback.

On the October trip, at early morning Fool’s Crow was on Mustang Flats with the two beautiful full sisters, Halo and Jewel.

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About 9 am we saw Hawk, Fresia with her sons Oak and Parry, Morgana with Oglala near the road south of the Montana/Wyoming state line. We watched Oglala nursing Morgana so guess that settles whether she or Icara is his mom. Oak and Parry are two stunning full brothers from Fresia and Hidalgo. Parry is really a mischief maker. He constantly nipped at the manes and legs of Oak and Oglala. There was a lot of play-fighting, practice to be big boys. Later Parry decided to be a baby again and began to nurse– and then lay down making a precious picture as the sun highlighted his two-tone mane and tail.

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Oglala, Oak and Morgana
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Oak and Perry
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Oak and Perry
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Oak
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Oak
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Parry

Before you get to the tipi rings, Fiero, Strawberry and Sacajawea were grazing behind the knoll. All three looked good. I was especially happy to see Sacajawea had gained more weight. As they moved on down the ridge, Sacajawea didn’t seem to have any problem keeping up. They watered at Layout Creek, then continued to graze along the two-track.

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Sacajawea

We saw Johnston, Icara and Phantom by the road as we headed back to the Pryor Mustang Center.

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Icara
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Phantom

Late afternoon I was excited to ride up Sykes Ridge Road with Nancy Cerroni. We saw Hawk and his band on Lower Sykes which was surprising as I had seen them earlier in the day on Hwy 37 near the state line. It is amazing the distance they can travel quickly in this extremely rugged terrain.

hawkband1

On Sunday we stopped by the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center to see Mercuria, who was adopted with her foal Paquita by the Pryor Mustang Center in the 2015 removal, now at her new home in the Center pasture. Stiles is happy to have a friend again since the September death of Besa (a 1999 daughter of Hightail).

mercuria1

As we drove out of the Dryhead early on our last day, Hickok was near the highway at Crooked Creek. How I hate those cockleburrs that seem to always be in his hair in the Fall! Yesterday we saw Kitalpha and Quasar on the ridge by the Creek.

I am already looking forward to Spring in the Dryhead and our summer trip to the mountain with you.

Thanks for everything!!

Laura

 

A Day Up The Dryhead, June 26, 2015

Fool's Crow, June 26, 2015
Fool’s Crow, June 26, 2015

I am just taking a few minutes to share a quick post about my trip up the Dryhead, early last Friday morning.  Probably the most interesting thing that I saw was Fools Crow band and Hidalgo band hanging out with each other.

We saw the Greeters immediately as we entered the range, with their new band members, Kitalpha, Nova and Prima.  But as we were exiting the range, I spotted the three newest members off by themself, about 3 miles from the entrance.  It seems Kitalpha has not lost her independance and continues to go off on her own at times.  I pray that they do not remove her daughter and granddaughter on the next schedule removal.

Sandy

Prima
Prima
Hickok
Hickok
Seneca
Seneca
Kitalpha
Kitalpha
Hightail
Hightail

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Phantom
Phantom
Hidalgo
Hidalgo
Jewel
Jewel

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Fresia and Parry
Fresia and Parry

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Hidalgo and Fool's Crow bands
Hidalgo and Fool’s Crow bands
Fools Crow and Phantom
Fools Crow and Phantom
Halo and Phantom
Halo and Phantom

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Oak and Parry
Oak and Parry

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Phantom
Phantom

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Hawk
Hawk
Hawk
Hawk
Chief Joseph
Chief Joseph
Chief Joseph
Chief Joseph
On their own.  Prima, Nova and Kitalpha
On their own. Prima, Nova and Kitalpha
Bighorn sheep way in the back of the photo
Bighorn sheep way in the back of the photo
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell.  Wild in the Pryors and this logo is copyrighted.
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell. Wild in the Pryors and this logo is copyrighted.

Dryhead Update From Laura Curtis

Johnston
Johnston

My friend and very devoted Pryor Mountain Wild horse observer, Laura Curtis, sent me a short report from her recent Dryhead trip (couple weeks ago) with her husband John.

Her are Laura’s photos and her summary.  Thank you so much Laura!

Chief Joseph
Chief Joseph

We got to the Dryhead early Saturday morning.( 09-20-14)  We saw Fiero with Sacajawea, Oregon and Strawberry near the road, so we had a long time with them.

Fiero
Fiero

Oregon has matured so much from when we saw her in July. Sacajawea is very thin. I am concerned for her going into winter so thin needing to provide for nursing Oregon. I love her beautiful two-tone mane, looks like Oregon may have that mane also. Fiero, Oregon and Strawberry looked good.

Sacajewa
Sacajewa
Oregon and Sacajewa
Oregon and Sacajewa
Strawberry
Strawberry
Oregon
Oregon
Sacajewa
Sacajewa

The big surprise for me was that Hickok now has a harem. Saturday morning he had Kitalpha, her yearling filly Nova, Seneca and Hightail. They were up the sandy draw behind the high ridge where the “greeters” hang out, so my view of them was very distant even after climbing up the ridge.

Seneca, Kitaplha and Hickok
Seneca, Kitaplha and Hickok
Hickok's Band
Hickok’s Band

Sunday morning Hightail was off by herself with a good view in the area where the greeters are often seen even though she wasn’t close to the road. Considering her age each time I see her, I feel especially blessed.

Hightail
Hightail

We saw Hawk, Chief Joseph and Johnston each drive; they seemed happy together and healthy.

And I was overjoyed at the Center when they showed me a recent photo of Medicine Bow taken in the Dryhead and he looked great!! Such happy news!!

Thank you again for everything. Have a wonderful Fall. Laura

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell.  Wild in the Pryors and this logo is copyrighted.
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell. Wild in the Pryors and this logo is copyrighted.

Dryhead Photos

I met Laura Curtis and her husband John last summer.  They both were guests of mine on a day tour.  This year I will no longer be giving day tours (only camping), but I made an exception for Laura, and probably always will.

Laura (and John) make the trip from Colorado several times a year, driving up the Dryhead to see the horses.  They were just here just last week and I asked if she would mind sharing some of her beautiful photos.  Here are the ones she sent.  Thank you so much Laura!

Merlin
Merlin
Seattle
Seattle
Johnston
Johnston
Nina
Nina
Nina
Nina
Nina
Nina
Sacajewa and Oregon
Sacajewa and Oregon
Oregon
Oregon
Oregon
Oregon
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

Dryhead Highlights from My April 2014 Trip

Mustang Flats
Mustang Flats

Every morning, we would make a trip up the Dryhead before heading up the mountain.  It seems I have had my best luck finding horses in the Dryhead in the early morning.  Each day we were able to see several.  I was especially happy to see so much of Hidatsa and Johnston.  Hidatsa is the full brother to Valerosa, one of the Pryor Horses I adopted in 2009.

Below is the collection of photos I took over the many days that we visited the Dryhead.

The Greeters were in their usual place.  Hickok was present this time!
The Greeters were in their usual place. Hickok was present this time!

The first morning we were treated to a Mustang Flat bachelor run!  Fiero was in the mix, I am not sure what was going on with that.  But it seems Fiero has to be one of the most ever-changing stallions in the Dryhead, taking the place of a now stable acting Blizzard.

I am pretty sure the horses were: Hidatsa, Johnston, Seattle, Isaquah, Joseph and Fiero.

Boys on the Flats
Boys on the Flats
Boys on the Flats
Boys on the Flats
Fiero chasing Hidatsa and Johnston
Fiero chasing Hidatsa and Johnston

Another highlight of one of our morning trips was finally being able to see the last foal born in 2013.  Bakkens filly Nina, born in mid-late September, 2013.  It was good to see she made it through the winter and looked so healthy!

While we watched Nina, Blizzard, Blizzard noticed Fiero approaching.   I believe Fiero was going his own way, minding his own business, but then happened to be in the line of fire.  I could almost see the “opps” look on his face when he came around a bush and was near Blizzard and his band.

Fiero was last sighted with Strawberry, Sacajewa and her new foal.  But today, they were no where in sight.

Sacajewa has always been a very independent mare, heading off where ever and when ever she pleases.  Strawberry is the same way.  So I am betting they were together somewhere off away from all the bachelor games.

Blizzards band
Blizzards band
Cascade, Bakken and Nina, April 26, 2014
Bakken, Cascade and Nina, April 26, 2014
Bakken and her filly, Nina
Cacade and Nina
Nina and Bakken
Nina and Cascade
Blizzard, showing doral stripe
Blizzard, showing doral stripe

Wild in the Pryors Wild in the Pryors Wild in the Pryors

Blizzard
Blizzard

Wild in the Pryors

Blizzard watching Fiero leave.
Blizzard watching Fiero leave.

Wild in the Pryors

Blizzard
Blizzard

Another morning we caught a sleeping Hidatsa and Johnston right by the road.  We took a few photos and left them to their nap.  They never made a move while we photographed them.

Johnston
Johnston
Hidatsa
Hidatsa
Johnston
Johnston

The next morning we got to see some action from these same boys.   I noticed in one of the photos that Johnston had a pretty ugly-looking scare on his left back leg.

Hidatsa and Johnston
Hidatsa and Johnston

Wild in the Pryors

Hidatsa and Johnston
Hidatsa and Johnston

Wild in the Pryors Wild in the Pryors

Taking a break
Taking a break
Here is where you can see Johnston's scar on his back left leg.
Here is where you can see Johnston’s scar on his back left leg.
Hidatsa.
Hidatsa.

Wild in the Pryors Wild in the Pryors During this trip, we were able to see 29 Dryhead horses, including the Dryhead horses that we saw many miles up Sykes.

My next post will be more on our other Burnt Timber Days.

Sandy

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

October In The Pryors. Part Three.

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The next day, Monday was as different a day as it could get from the warm, clear day before.  This day brought wind and clouds.  We got up early to check out the radar before deciding what to do.

After looking at the radar, we decided we had some time before the snow hit.  But heading up Sykes or even Burnt Timber with the impending storm, would not be a wise thing to do.  We decided to head up the Dryhead.

I knew that Nancy (PMWMC) had hiked the Dryhead area and found Bakken the day before.  I texted Nancy to ask for directions.  Nancy texted me back and let me know where to possibly find them. (Thank you Nancy!).  It was where I thought, the Layout Creek area.  I had never hiked this area and was looking forward to exploring there.

The day before we were in T-shirts and Jeans for part of the day.  Today, we had jeans, insulated wind pants, jacket, scarves, hats and a wind breaker jacket on.   And, we were not the least bit hot while hiking, (or cold!!).

A look back towards the road where the truck was.
A look back towards the paved road where the truck was.
Sage Blooms along the creek bed.
Sage Blooms along the creek bed.

There were plenty of tracks (and some tiny ones too!).  I knew we were on the right trail.  The beauty of this area was incredible, I am sure I said it out loud several times.

The wind was picking up and I could see the storm getting closer, but we knew, even if it snowed hard, we could find our way back to the truck.  So we continued down the well worn path.

Layout Creek Area
Layout Creek Area
A giant stud pile that had been in use for a very long time.
A giant stud pile that had been in use for a very long time.

We continued hiking until we got to the part of the trail where it became only about 10 feet from the edge to the drop-off of the Bighorn Canyon.  No protective rails were here!  With the wind increasing in speed and the snow starting to come down, we decided it was not safe to go any further.  We reluctantly turned around. Without finding horses.

Storm heading towards us.
Storm heading towards us.

By the time we were almost to the truck, the wind was gusting hard enough to make us weave in our tracks.  I decided to take a short detour and go down to Layout Creek.  It was more protected there and I wanted to see how much water was still in it.

Water in Layout Creek, October 28, 2013
Water in Layout Creek, October 28, 2013
Layout Creek
Layout Creek

We were glad to reach the warmth and protection of the truck.   No horses were seen this day.  I was grateful for those I had seen on this trip.  There is always next time.

Snow coming towards us.
Snow coming towards us.

The next day, we would be leaving and I would be heading for The University of Montana/Western, in Dillon, Montana.  I was scheduled to present a slide show and talk about the Pryor Horses to the students and faculty of the Equine Programs (Natural Horsemanship) and also some local horse folks.  I was looking forward to it.  I enjoy sharing my photos and knowledge with those that do not know about these horses.

Sandy

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

Jesse James

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It has been a while since anyone has reported seeing Jesse James.

When I turned on my computer this morning, the first thing I saw when I went to my Facebook feed page was a post by Tracy Anderson on the Pryor Mustang page.  Tracy had posted several photos that she took when she was out visiting the range for the first time on September 8, 2013.  They are beautiful photos, but what really caught my eye was that some of them were of Jesse James!  He looks really good and I am so happy to see him!  Thank you Tracy for sharing.

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Jesse James, September 8, 2013
Jesse James, September 8, 2013

I also had to post this beautiful photo of Merlin.  He is looking good as well!

Merlin, September 8, 2013
Merlin, September 8, 2013

If you would like to find out more about Tracy, here are her two Facebook pages.  Not only is she a photographer, but she is also a painter.  Click on Paintings or Photography to go to those pages.

Sandy

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

 

 

September In The Pryors. Part 4. Dryhead/Lower Sykes

Fiero.  September 7, 2013
Fiero. September 7, 2013

The first afternoon and evening of my Pryor Trip, I spent in the Dryhead and Lower Sykes.  Within that time I was able to see:  Fools Crow and Band (from a distance).  Four bachelors: Hawk,  Issaquah, Kememerer, Joseph.  They were together.  Fiero and his band.  The last time I saw this band, it was from a distance, so it was good to see them up close.  Bakken certainly looked pregnant to me.   I hope if she is, she has her foal soon.  I also saw Blizzard and Cascade right along the road, drinking from a mud puddle that had formed from a recent rain.  Almost the same spot I saw him in early July.  But then he had Strawberry, Cascade and Sacajewa with him.

Strawberry and Sacajewa
Strawberry and Sacajewa
Fiero
Fiero
Bakken
Bakken
Bakken
Bakken
Bakken
Bakken
View from the Dryhead area.
View from the Dryhead area.
Cascade and Blizzard
Cascade and Blizzard
Blizzard
Blizzard
Blizzard
Blizzard
Blizzard
Blizzard
View of the Bay at the entrance of the range.
View of the Bay at the entrance of the range.

From there I wanted to go to Lower Sykes.  It was early evening, and I knew my chances would be greater to see some of these elusive horses as they went to drink at one of the water catchments.  My timing was right.

As I arrived, Bristol, Kitalpha and Nova were heading down a path right in front of me.  They had just finished  with their drink from one of the catchments.  They seemed more relaxed with me this time, and walked right towards me, instead of away from me. (Last month they saw me front about 1/4 mile away and left).  The light was perfect, making the land and especially the color of Nova show up beautifully in the early evening sun.

The last time I saw Kitalpha (in August), I thought she looked like she had put on some weight.  She does look a bit better, but she still looks like she could use some more.  She still has that pop-belly, just like when I saw her in March, 2012. Worms?  I wondered.  You can read about that post and learn more about her by clicking on Kitalpha.

They stayed grazing around me for several minutes before moving on.  It was such a gift to spend so much time with this little family.

Bristol leads the way towards me.  September 7, 2013
Bristol leads the way towards me. September 7, 2013

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Kitalpha and Nova
Kitalpha and Nova
Bristol and Kitalpha
Bristol and Kitalpha
Bristol, Kitalpha and Nova
Bristol, Kitalpha and Nova

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Nova
Nova

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I will be going to the mountain again, sometime in October.  Depending on the weather.  The season of set dates has passed now.  Where did the summer go?  It passed so quickly.   I feel so lucky to have been able to spend so much time with these beautiful creatures.

Sandy

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

August In The Pryors. Part 7. The Dryhead.

Mercuria and Morgana
Mercuria and Morgana

I had to laugh when I titled this post.  Part 7.  When I did the first post for my August Trip (Part 1), I was actually thinking of just making one post!  Well, that certainly did not happen.   I have posted almost 400 photos from my 9 day trip!  I hope you don’t mind me publishing so many posts.

Below are some of the photos we took while up the Dryhead.  I so love the Dryhead horses.  It is always so amazing to me to see them surviving on this part of the range.  It seems they have so little to eat. But they all looked amazing.

Each day that I spent in the Dryhead, I saw Fools Crow and his band.  It was great to see him with a band, and I enjoyed them becoming the new greeters for me this trip.

There were a few horses I did not see close up.  But my friend Anh, spent a day in the Dryhead when I was giving one of my day trip tours.  I have included some of her photos as well.  Thank you Anh for sharing!

Jewel
Jewel
Icara
Icara
Mercuria
Mercuria
Morgana
Morgana
Mercuria and Morgana
Mercuria and Morgana
Jewel
Jewel
Fools Crow Band
Fools Crow Band
Fools Crow
Fools Crow
Mercuria
Mercuria

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Fools Crow
Fools Crow
Fools Crow
Fools Crow
Fools Crow Band
Fools Crow Band
Fools Crow Band
Fools Crow Band
Hidalgo
Hidalgo
Fresia
Fresia
Halo
Halo
Hidalgos
Hidalgos
Fresia
Montana
Montna
Montana
Blizzard and Cascade
Blizzard and Cascade
Fieros: Fiero, Bakken, Strawberry and Sacajewa (not necessarily in that order)
Fieros: Fiero, Bakken, Strawberry and Sacajewa
(not necessarily in that order)
Belle Starr and Hidatsa
Belle Starr and Hidatsa
Hidatsa
Hidatsa
Hidatsa
Hidatsa
Fieros
Fieros
Sacajewa, Fiero, Bakken and Strawberry
Sacajewa, Fiero, Bakken and Strawberry
Fieros
Fieros
Mateo
Mato
Cecelia
Cecelia
Sitting Bull greets some boys.
Sitting Bull greets some boys.
Sitting Bull and Mateo
Sitting Bull and Mato
Ceceila and Sitting Bull
Ceceila and Sitting Bull
Seneca
Seneca
Hickok
Hickok
Hightail
Hightail

Sandy

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

Dryhead Update From Lori

I finally made it out to the Dry Head last Wednesday after visiting with Liesl & Kaibab at Diane’s. They are doing great and seem very happy in their new home with their new family! They look better than I have ever seen them look, so apparently this change was the best thing for them. We are working with them and I think soon we will be able to get their halter’s on.

Kaibab
Kaibab
Liesl
Liesl
 Most of the Dry Head horses are out on Mustang Flats.
First I saw Fools Crow with his band of the dark bay’s, and of course Mercuria.
It seems that Hidalgo could not hold onto all of his ladies. Fools Crow has Jewel with Mercuria, Halo, Icara and Morgana. They all seemed perfectly content and this group was quite a ways from Hidalgo and his little band.
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Hidalgo had Fresia and Montana with him. Just nearby on the hill were the bachelor boy’s intently watching Hidalgo and his little band. I watched as Hidalgo chased the bachelor boys away. Apparently they were a little too close for comfort. He sure is keeping his band close with an eye on the bachelor’s.
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I hiked out to see who the bachelor boy’s were that were watching Hidalgo and his band.
It was Hawk, Issaquah, Johnston and Kemmerer. Chief Joseph was alone but near the boy’s!
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Then I spotted Blizzard and hiked down to see who was with him. It was Cascade and they were quite a ways from the others. Blizzard was keeping some distance from the rest and did not really like me taking their photo’s. After I did take a few pictures he moved into the brush and I hiked back to my car.
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That is when I spotted Merlin and he was headed towards Hidalgo and his band.
Hidalgo saw him and took off in a full gallop across the dessert to chase him away. There was no confrontation, just chasing. After he felt Merlin was far enough away he turned and galloped back to his band.
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Merlin stopped and just kept on watching Hidalgo. I think he will be dogging Hidalgo and possibly Fools Crow too. I will have to make another trip out there this week to see if there are any more changes.
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I decided to head back down and see if I could find anyone else.
I did spot Hickok and his girls out on one of the “hills” towards the south end of the range.
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It was a good day and I look forward to another exciting trip soon!
Lori
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell
 Thank you Lori!  Merlin really looks good.  It is so good to see Fools Crow with a band again.
Sandy