I actually started for the Pryor Mountains Sunday afternoon. I planned on having a little time before dark to see what was going on and set up camp. Once I got to Lovell I started to realize it had rained in a way I had not seen there before. The main roads had mud across them, but it wasn’t so bad I couldn’t drive through it.
So maybe I would be able to go up Burnt Timber like usual.
Negative Ghost Rider, the puddle is full. I next tried Crooked Creek, which I don’t know too well. I had to turn around on it and go all the way around to use Sage Creek. The last 2 miles were the only really bad spots on it, but I didn’t get to my camp until around midnight.
I spent a decent chunk of Monday with the Pryor horses. From my usual camping area I could see some horses down in the woods below Penn’s Cabin. This is where I would usually expect them after a storm. I will say now that I didn’t take a super-heavy dose of pictures in the Pryors this trip, mostly just ones of things new or interesting to me. I have a lot of portrait shots already, and there have been a lot of visitors recently so it is not a time of the year where people have not been able to keep up with what is going on.
The first band I did find in the trees was Duke’s, so I started with some pictures of a foal I had only read about.
Bonus Madonna shot
As a result of the shadow, Aurora’s belly looks really round. It is big, but it looks even more so.
I also saw Custer and Teton in the area, but the next new situation to me was Horizon’s. I had missed the news that he had picked up Tonopah.
I saw Tecumseh for the first time since his injuries, and he is looking fine. He is still following Gringo, but except for a minor reminder here or there, they seem ok with the situation-for now.
As I hiked around checking out various groups, I got distracted by some birds.
On my way back up the hill ( I had hiked from the Burnt Timber side to let things dry), I talked to Kim Michels a little and then made my way to Coronado’s band above Mystic to see the second new foal I had heard of but not seen. I mentioned that Gringo-Tecumseh seemed pretty relaxed, but that is not the case with Santa Fe and Coronado.
While I wanted to see the foal it was sleeping, and I had been watching my favorite band way off in the distance. I could tell they were going to come down in to Mystic. I made it down to the rocks above the pond to watch them come in. I love this group.
Even though I was not close and on the hill, Greta seemed disgusted by the paparazzi not leaving their private group alone.
I made my way back up the draw to Coronado’s band. I had to wait quite a while for the foal, I think called Nickle but I am not sure of the spelling, to get up and stretch.
Before the band could move very far, Coronado had to chase Santa Fe off again.
In that time, the foal decided to sleep again. After a while, Coronado got impatient and decided it was time to move. The colt seemed to say “Come on dad, I don’t want to!”
“Well, as long as I am up, is there anything to eat around here?”
The tension between Santa Fe and Coronado may be a large factor in the drama that played out with La Brava over the next few days.
After talking to Sandy, I continued to watch them. I happened to look down and notice something in the grass.
I was a little surprised as this was the first snake I have seen on the top of the mountain, but it gave me something new to photograph for the Pryors.
Longer than I thought when it got into the open
I made a check of BT, where Cappy and Garay were keeping their bands away from the rest.
Before I left back down Sage Creek, I did see Baja’s. I wanted to put up a picture of Topper Too, because she did look a little round to me. Apparently I only took ones of the round Washakie. I thought TT might be, but others have seen her recently and don’t. Maybe I just looked at Washakie a lot and confused her with TT, never giving TT a really good look. You will have to wait for a picture to judge for yourself, but I am usually wrong.
On my way home from my trip on Wednesday, I stopped in lower Sykes with every intention of finding Bristol. I tried views from a lot of different ridges and knobs, but did not see him. I did not see Sitting Bull either but I am sure he was out there, so Bristol may have just been hidden from sight. The only group I saw out there was Hidatsa and Belle Star.
I decided to see if BT was passable, which it was with only a few places being worse than before, and I am glad I did. I was able to see Nacer briefly. He was hanging out at the sign so I grabbed 4 quick photos and went down to find Coronado’s band. They were at Mystic. By the time I got back to the sign Jared had taken Nacer down to the vet.
I am not sure exactly what to say about Nacer. It is sad, but not the first foal lost this year. It is part of the natural process on the mountain. Is it because of La Brava’s young age, like Kiva the year before? Is it because Santa Fe was dogging the group so hard. I know how bad it feels, having seen Demure’s and then it ending up gone. At the same time, I realize that if the amount that are born and the amount that are lost ( I fear a few older horses are no longer with us either) balances out, then the herd will maintain its size and there will not be a need for a future removal. We grow so attached to each of these horses that hearing about the loss or injury to any of them sucks, but watching the ones we loved be removed last year was not much easier . It is partly eased knowing some of them have great homes, but they were still leaving their native home . At least when they pass away on the mountain, they have lived their whole life knowing the freedom of the wild horse. At times harsh and not always an easy life, but a free one.