Mountain Top Update, Day 2, July 31, 2012 A Quiet Day

The first night that Lori and I spent on the mountain was really quiet.  No horses running around or whinnying.

Today, they would not be trapping the horses.  Lori and I were looking forward to a quiet day.

The next morning, I headed down towards Krueger Pond.  I saw several horses in the trees on my way.  It is almost August now, and it seems the horses spend a lot of their days in the trees.  They start to come out in the later afternoon.

I saw Chino, Topper One and Topper Too.  I could almost see the Topper’s rolling their eyes.  They looked at me in disgust as if to say “Great, a perfect morning, ruined”.  Then turned their back ends towards me and stepped further in the woods.  Chino stayed where he was, obviously used to their behavior.  I looked to my right and saw Gringo and his band.  They were out a little way from the trees eating.  Grijala and his smaller group of Special K’s along with Quelle Colour were not too far away from them.

Gringo’s band, July 31, 2012

After a few minutes I returned to my camp site, sat and had a second cup of coffee and watched a bear run along the ridge, not too far from Lakota.

An hour later, Lori and I decided to head back down to the pond.  We found Tecumseh in one of the pens, eating.  Tecumseh looks a little rough.  He seems to have some back-end/ hip problems.  It is very apparent when he walks, especially going down a hill.

Tecumseh, July 31, 2012

I looked past Tecumseh and saw Topper Too in a pen with Chino.  This was as close as I had ever seen them before.  She did not notice me right away.  But when she did she quickly left the pen.  I got the best photo of her ever.  But as soon as she regained her composure  she and Topper headed quickly down the hill to the pond.  Chino continued to eat in the pen.

Topper Too, July 31, 2012
The Toppers, July 31, 2012

After a few minutes Chino ran to catch up with them.  He is 21 this year, and looks amazing.

Chino, July 31, 2012
Chino’s band, July 31, 2012

We only saw these 4 horses.  I knew others were in the trees surrounding the pond.  But I did not bother looking for them.  I thought they deserved a quiet day too, and I did not want to disturb them.  They would show themselves when they were ready.

On our way back down the road I saw Duke’s band tucked in the trees.  Little Maverick was sleeping in the sun just out of the trees.  We stopped and watched until he got up.

Maverick, July 31, 2012
Maverick, July 31, 2012

Lori headed back to camp and I continued on to spend some time with Lakota (bear spray in hand).  I thought about how great Chino looked, one year older than Lakota was.  I knew that if Lakota had not broken his leg, he would have looked just as great.  But for whatever reason, it was Lakota’s time to go and I tried to accept it.

We ate lunch and headed back to the pond.

By now it was starting to get pretty active.  We watched several bands coming down to drink and play in the pond.

Gringo’s band, July 31, 2012
Coronado’s Band, July 31, 2012

Dove was lagging a bit behind the rest of the band.  She looked huge, I thought she might be pregnant.

Dove, July 31, 2012
Coronado’s Band

Several of the horses enjoyed a good roll in the dirt after playing in the pond.

Coronado, July 31, 2012

Once they drank, they headed back into the trees.

Bolder’s band was hanging around the pens.  Bolder was in one of them eating.

The next band to head down to the pond was Blue Moon’s and Mecalero’s.

Blue Moon’s band, July 31, 2012
Mescalero’s band

Part of Bolder’s band got tired of waiting for him to get out of the pen and decided to head down for some water.

Celt
Killian
Scarlett
Part of Bolder’s band with Mescalero band, July 31, 2012

With Bolder no where to be seen, Mescalero decided to visit with the mares and Killian.  Celt decided she would have none of that and quickly chased Mescalero off.

Mescalero checks out some of Bolder’s Band
Celt sends Mescalero running.

Bolder decided to finally head down to his mares and came running.  They stopped half way to greet each other and then headed back to the pond.

Bolder
Mesa and Lobo, July 31, 2012

By now Duke’s Band and Teton’s Band were coming down to the pond too.  I got to get a closer look at Missoula.  He sure is a beauty!

Dukes Band, July 31, 2012
Dukes Band
Missoula, July 31, 2012

We saw Morning Star’s band and Doc’s band come down before it got quiet again.

Hataalli, July 31, 2012
Felina
Gaelic Princess and Hailstorm
Audobon
Hailstorm
Morning Star

I will miss Jenny, the next day she would be removed. It seemed like she was a bit of an outsider with this band for most of the spring and summer.  Broken Bow was pretty hard on her, it seemed, and she always stood a bit off most of the time.  In fact I got the feeling Jenny wanted to leave this band.  The last time I was here in early July, Doc had to keep snaking her back into the band.  But this day she seemed content and one of the band.  I was happy for her.

Doc’s Band, July 31, 2012
Malpais and Broken Bow, July 31, 2012
Doc
Doc’s Band
Jenny, July 31, 2012

We watched Tecumseh slowly make his way back up the hill from drinking.

Tecumseh, July 31, 2012

As we headed up from the pond we saw White Cloud and his band come running in.  In the three weeks since I had seen Mica, he had grown and changed so much.  He ran next to his father, and then passed him.

White Cloud’s Band
Mica’s gets ready to run right past his dad, July 31, 2012

Shortly before sunset that day Lori and I drove back down towards the pond.  We saw 4 horses as we approached the fence.  They were Two Boots, Jasper, Garay and Santa Fe.

I am happy that Jasper was not removed.  He is the son of Galena and Jackson, Lakota’s grandson.  He has been hanging out with Two Boots (his grandfather) for a few months now.  I hope he continues to do so.  Two Boots is 24 this year.  He will be able to teach the three year old Jasper a lot.

Jasper was a “Tier Two A” removal.  I am not sure why he was not removed.  But if I was to take a guess, because Jasper was with Two Boots, I would bet that they never even saw them.

Jasper has a lot going for him, Jackson’s son, Lakota and Two Boot’s grandson, being shown the ropes by an old and wise stallion.  I am looking forward to watching him grow old on the mountain.

Jasper, July 31, 2012
Two Boots, July 31, 2012
Garay
Santa Fe
Jasper and Garay, July 31, 2012

That night Lori and I had a band of horses lie down right by our trucks.  It was too dark to see who they were, but it was a comfort and a peace to have them there.

Sandy

Sunset, July 31, 2012
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

Mountain Top Update, July 30, 2012 (Afternoon)

After spending some time with the horses down in Britton Springs, Lori and I headed up Crooked Creek Road.  I had not been up Crooked Creek for 2 years.  Last year it was closed most of the time while they did some work on it.  I could feel my heart starting to beat a little faster as I turned to go up it.  I have a bit of a fear of heights, so this road really tests that fear.

They did do a good job improving the road.  However, it could have been wider!  HA  I know that would be an almost impossible task to do, given the steep cliff side that the road is on.  It is still a road that I would not like to meet anyone coming towards me from the opposite way.  I still prefer Sage Creek Road over this one.  Even Burnt Timber is better for me.

We made it up to the top and stopped and looked at the trap site.  It was pretty quiet there.  We decided to go to my camp site and set up our tents.

I was unloading my camp stuff when I saw something out of the corner of my eye.  It must be a horse I thought, so I turned to look.  Well, it was not a horse, but a bear.  He was standing up on his hind legs looking at me, no more than 50 feet away.  Perhaps I should have grabbed my bear spray, but instead I grabbed my camera.  While I was fumbling with the camera, he stood up again and started to run off. He turned to look at us one more time.   I snapped this photo of him right before he ran into the woods.

July 30, 2012

There are a lot of bears in the Pryors, especially this year.  I have seen at least one every trip I have taken.  This trip I would see 5.  I also will add that all 5 were seen from my campsite.  I keep a very clean camp.  I used to cook some food at night, but this year I only eat cold food.  The only time I use my camp stove is to boil water for coffee in the morning.  I have never had a bear get in my stuff.  I would like to think that is because of my clean camp.  I hope everyone else that camps up here will be as careful.  Lori and I decided that  we would sleep in our vehicles instead of our tents.  I am sure we would have been fine in our tents, but I believe we got more sleep by sleeping in our trucks.

We continued to set up camp.  Custer’s band came over to watch us and then turned and headed towards the pond where the trap was set up.  It would be the last time I would be able to photograph Leo in the wild.

Custer band, July 30, 2012

The light was pretty bright, so the photos are not the best.  But I like to take photos any time of day on the mountain.  I don’t really care if the light is perfect, I just want the memories.

Fiasco, July 30, 2012

I thought Fiasco looked like she might be pregnant.  I know she had Kaibab and Leo in August, so I am hoping she may have a foal yet this year.

Winnemucca and Custer, July 30, 2012
Leo, July 30, 2012.  Moments before his removal

We finished setting up camp and headed towards the pond.  I wanted to see if Jared Bybee was there yet.  I had sent him an email to thank him for ending Lakota’s suffering, but I wanted to thank him in person.

When we got to the trap site, we were surprised and disappointed to see Leo in there.  Custer was driving his mares away from the trap.  It was pretty painful to watch, so after talking with Jared for a few minutes we decided to leave.

Just before we left I saw Santa Fe.

Santa Fe, July 30, 2012

As we headed down the road back to our camp, we saw Custer and his mares standing calmly.  I learned over the few days that I watched the removal, that the horses would settle down pretty fast when they were away from the trap site.  But when they were near by and hearing the whinnies of the horses, or the sound of the trailer,  it could get pretty intense.  But it was nice to know that once they were a distances from it that life seemed to go on.  It was a small comfort.  Life will be fine on the mountain.

Custer’s band minutes after Leo’s removal.

I knew the next thing I needed to do was to go and see Lakota.  I know I already told you a bit about his memorial in my post a few days ago. If you want to read that click on Lakota.  There were a few things I wanted to add.  The feather that I added to the rocks was one that I found. (it is not the most visible feather that you see, it is dropped down in the middle of the rocks and you can just see the very top of it).  I was riding my horse Oreo in the mountains above our land on Monday, July 23, the day that Lakota died.  I happened to look down and there laid a perfect feather from a Red Tail Hawk.  I got off and picked it up.  It was beautiful.  I did not know what I would do with it, but later that week I realized it would be perfect for Lakota.

My hope is that those that knew Lakota will stop and add a rock or feather to his memorial.  I also hope that those that pass, will not take his bones.  I know some will disappear, but I hope that most will remain there.

Lakota’s memorial

A saw 3 horses off in the distances towards Penn’s Cabin.  It was Garcia’s band.  This is one band that I never seem to see very often.  I drove over to see them.

Garcia, Millicent and Greta, July 30, 2012
Garcia’s Band, July 30, 2012

We decided to take a break and sit in the shade, it had been a pretty emotional day.  As we sat there, we heard something.  It dawned on me what it was.  I told Lori to grab her camera.  The sound of thundering hoofs was coming our way.  We could not see them yet, but I knew it would not be long before we did.

July 30, 2012
July 30, 2012
Quelle Colour, July 30, 2012. Is she pregnant? I thought she was, but not sure now.
July 30, 2012
Washakie and her new filly, July 30, 2012
July 30, 2012
July 30, 2012
Teton, Missoula and Half Moon.
Missoula and Half Moon, July 30, 2012
July 30, 2012
LaSalle, July 30, 2012

Once again, the light was way to bright for these photos above, but I wanted the memories.  It would be the last time I would see many of these horses running together.  I didn’t care about the light.

It was getting late and we decided to eat something.   We had forgotten  to eat lunch (something that seems to be pretty easy to do up here!)  It seemed quiet and we wondered if they were done for the day.  Some people stopped by to talk and wanted to know where they might see some horses.  Shawn came by and said that they were still working the trap.  Lori and I decide to head down there and see who they had removed.

It was almost 7 by now.  Jared and Ryan were patiently working the trap. Despite what is said in other posts and blogs right now about this removal, I was here first hand watching and I was impressed with Jared and Ryan.  They were patient, respectful and caring towards the horses.

Tonopah was whinning nearby.  They had Jedediah in the trap.

All of the horses in the area were watching.

Duke’s Band, July 30, 2012
July and her colt, July 30, 2012
Galaxy and his band, July 30, 2012
Galaxy
Ireland and Maia
Gringo and Kechikan (Gold Rush’s daughter)
Pocochino, July 30, 2012
Ireland
Ketchikan
Ireland

Grijala was very worked up.  His whole band of “Special K’s”, minus Kalahari were in the trap.  Quelle Colour was in it as well.  Kalahari wanted to run away, but Grijala kept snaking her back and running around in a panic.  I knew they weren’t going to keep all the K’s, Kindra and Kohl would be let out of the trap along with Quelle Colour.  But Grijala did not have any way of knowing this.  He would loss Katrina and Kachina that day.  But as soon as they let QC, Kohl and Kindra out, he settled right down.  I would see them the next day.

Grijala watches QC and the Special K’s in the trap, July 30, 2012
Grijala
Grijala calls for his mares.
Grijala
Grijala
Grijala, July 30, 2012

A few other bands came in to watch.  Doc’s band remained calm.  But Horizon, Fiesta and Juniper were constantly trying to stir things up.

Doc, July 30, 2012
Horizon, Juniper and Fiesta
Juniper
Part of Galaxy’s and Gringo’s band watches.

Gringo and his band were pretty worked up as well.  I knew that they had LaSalle.

Gringo’s band, July 30, 2012
Gringo
Gringo
Gringo’s band
Gringo’s band
July 30, 2012
Gringo
July 30, 2012

When the trailer started to back up to the pens it seemed to trigger a memory for Baja.  He came out of nowhere calling.

Baja, July 30, 2012
Baja
Baja calls out.

Custer’s band watched silently and Garciana and Jacinta called for their offspring.

Custer’s band, July 30, 2012
Garciana, July 30, 2012
Jacinta, July 30, 2012
Garciana

 

Neither Lori or I wanted to stay any longer.  It was very hard to see this.   I did and still do support this removal.  But that does not mean that I or anyone else who supports it, did not feel the pain.

I felt a lot pain that day.  Pain for the removal of band members, pain for the loss of Lakota.  Pain for the unrest that filled the air.

Custer’s band leaving.

At day’s end  July 30, 2012, six horses were removed.  They were: Katrina and Kachina from Grijala’s band.  LaSalle from Gringo’s band.  Leo from Custer’s band. Kane from Blue Moon’s band and Jedediah from Duke’s band.

It had been a very long and emotional day.   I did not sleep well that night.

Sandy

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell