I was pretty sure I would not be able to drive up Sykes Ridge, so my choices Wednesday were to head back over to Burnt Timber to try and find the horses I didn’t see the day before, or to go over Sykes from the park side. While drving through the park, looking for horses and weighing my options, I decided it might be worth trying the pass just across from the Devils overlook road. I am not sure if this is what is called “Bad Pass”, or if that is the next one down, but I decided to try it. There was a nice place to park from when they did the powerline work, and the pass entrance isn’t too far from the road. The entrance starts out narrow, but opens up and runs a long ways up to the area the guzzler is in.
It took a while to get up to the open area where the upper loop of Sykes Ridge Road goes around the coulee, but once I was there I started to see horses on some of the ridges above me. The closest looked like Fools Crow’s band, and I was sure Jemez was part of the higher group. I made my way to Fools Crow, Icara and Morgana first.
From them I was able to get on an older, unused road that led up the ridge next to the one where I saw Jemez. Johnston was with him, as I suspected. The other horses I had not been able to tell for sure fromt he bottom, but it turned out to be Hidalgo’s band, with Fresia and Montana.
When mapping my route on google earth, I noticed a picture of “sykes arch” that I hadn’t noticed while hiking. Looking at my pictures, I think that is it right behind Johnston.
I also noticed that there were more horses behind the 5 I was watching, higher up on the ridge. You can see the black dots in between Jemez and Hidalgo, just over their ridge.
Zoomed in shot of the far horses, that I now believe are Jewel (for sure), Halo and Hawk. More about them later.
The rest of my time up on the ridge, I shifted focus between the near groups and the far group. I tried to set Hidalgo’s group up to get some shots with good backgrounds. I was on the wrong side for the light to cooperate with this task.
There are 2 shots that make me think Hawk was the lead stallion up higher, but I am less familiar with the dryhead horses and could be wrong. I almost think I can see some of his disconnected strip in the first, zoomed in.
Notice there is no sock, so this is not another of Jewel.
Jewel and Mercuria were there.
I think Belle Star may have been the furthest up horse, more to herself.
I did move one ridge closer, on the one above Jemez, Johnston and Hidalgo’s, but I didn’t see a good way to get over to the far horses with the snow being more solid and the steepness between us. I had a decent handle on at least some of them, so I decided to make my way back down the ridge I was on.
As I continued down the ridge, I saw Medicine Bow in the bottom.
I saw Fools Crow’s band one last time.
I had not seen Hidatsa when I had come through the bottom, but I saw Jerad taking pictures of him from higher up and he was still in the area when I got down.
Not seeing any other horses, I made my way back through the pass, toward the light rock just past the dark ridge. Notice how much more snow remains on the North facing slope than the South facing slope.
I did stop in one large cave/eroded area near the bottom to look at the icicles and weeping wall. There are so many neat little geological areas on the range.