Most any day of the year, a trip to Big Horn Canyon provides a richness of beauty. Today was no exception. The day’s weather was typical spring with dark cloudy skies and strong winds. The thermometer’s display of 62 was deceiving with the brisk wind lowering the temperature to the need for a warm coat. On a windy day, the chance of seeing horses is diminished. They are smart and know how to find shelter from the winds. However, the threesome of Hickok, Seneca, and Hightail were easily visible in one of their favorite spots near Crooked Creek Bay. These horses are some of the most visible horses on the range and yet, the two mares have maintained such a wildness to them. They will move off quickly if approached. No need to get closer and cause them to move off.
The trip continued through the beautiful landscape. Dark clouds swirled around the top of the Pryors just above Mustang Flats.
Took a slow trip through Mustang Flats, searching each small ravine for any sign of wildlife. Something caught my eye in one such ravine to the south. It was a good size herd of Big Horn Sheep. This was a nice treat as the Big Horn Sheep population has struggled throughout the years. Again, on a windy day, just best to keep the distance to prevent unnecessary stress.
In the same area a brilliant flash of blue appeared…a mountain bluebird perched on a juniper. It is, indeed, spring!
The ample winter moisture had filled the sagebrush areas with green grass, such a treat for the wildlife in the area.
Down into Layout Creek, really the last opportunity to see wild horses before leaving the Wild Horse Range. No disappointment today…across the creek bed near the range fence were two familiar grullas. It was Sacajawea with Fiero. They were on alert as they looked in my direction.
A movement to my right let me know that the two horses weren’t worried about me. It was Seattle standing right near me, just below the road. The last time I saw Seattle he was with Sacajawea. Now alone, Seattle obviously hasn’t lost interest in winning her back.
Seattle, at the age of 17, has led an amazing life on the Dryhead. He has created a legacy of his strength and striking black color. But even now he shows strength as he quickly headed down the hill to approach Fiero.
With arched neck he moved into the thick vegetation of Layout Creek.
Fiero headed in Seattle’s direction. But the next few moments were hidden by the thick brush. Fiero chased off Seattle with no physical confrontation. He then returned to Sacajawea.
They watched intently. The last glimpse of Fiero was as he and Sacajawea headed off along the fence line towards the east.
Seattle seemed to have disappeared from sight, well until I turned to head back to the vehicle. And there he was. Energetically running up the hill along the road.
He crossed the road and slowly walked up the ravine to the west. Perhaps another day he will challenge again for the mare.
By this time, rain had started to fall. The return trip was filled with the special beauty during the time when winter turns to spring. This area holds such a beauty with the wild horses and so much more!