It was a privilege to go to Sykes Ridge with Ginger Kathrens and Ann Evans on the last day of April 2016. The day started out with horses in the distance. Medicine Bow and Jemez were grazing up on a high meadow on the face of Sykes. That set the stage for the rest of the day!
As we continued up the mountain and up to the mid-meadows we ran into friend, Dennis McCollough, who was scanning the area with binoculars. He pointed out several more bands including Kemmerer & Waif and Hidatsa & Belle Star.
At that same point we could also see Bolder’s band, Irial’s band, and Hamlet’s bands. We continued up the road with the knowledge that we could get much closer.
We found a good spot to look for horses and were not disappointed. We was the first “near” horses which gave us a wonderful treat!! Ginger was excited (as we all were) to see the beautiful stallion, Mica/MatoSka. He is the 2012 son of Cloud and Feldspar.For me, this sighting was incredible because of Johan. Since his birth in 2009, I had never seen Johan. And there is was!!! There was a third young bachelor stallion with the other two. It took us a minute until we realized it was Nickle. This was the first time we had seen Nickle away from his mother, Fool’s Gold, in Irial’s band.
The three horses took off running and disappeared. We walked up the hill to see if we could spot them again. But…no…they were gone! From that vantage point, though, another band was spotted to the west. It was Bolder’s band.Bolder’s band has had a major change this year. Scarlett/Velvet disappeared from the band earlier this spring. Jack Sterling had reported the band was one horse short, but we weren’t certain which one was missing. Scarlett/Velvet turned 20 last year. We’ll keep an eye out for her in case she somehow wound up in a different band. The rest of the band is accounted for including: Bolder, Sapo/Cedar, Baileys/The Black, Celt/Cascade, Lobo, and the ever persistent, Killian/Echo.
From the same lookout point, Hamlet’s band could be seen to the southeast. Hamlet has mare, Audobon and her 2016 filly, Penn. He also has Niobrara who joined the band earlier in the year. The band was resting quietly.
After we turned around to head back down, it wasn’t long until we saw a horse off in the distance. We were able to quickly identify Jupiter’s band of roans.
A short hike brought us much nearer to this beautiful band. During 2015, Jupiter/Jasper had mare, Maia, and her colt Oro. During late winter or early spring, he acquired one more dun roan mare, Niyaha. Niyaha had been with her mom, Audobon, and stallion, Hamlet in 2015.
At first Jupiter grazed quietly a short distance from the mares. What a beauty! He is just unmistakable with his funnel shape face marking.
We continued on down the mountain and enjoyed the rugged beauty of the land. Sykes gives such an amazing view of Bighorn Canyon to the east. That alone is worth the trip. We got all the way to the bottom into Cougar Canyon when we saw our next “up-close” horses. This little one walked across the road in front of us.
The two males walked across the road and took us to the rest of the band.
We left the band and continued out of Cougar Canyon. We took the high road leading out of Sykes. This gave us the opportunity to view a few more horses from a distance. The use of a spotting scope revealed a lone horse standing high on Sykes Ridge. Persistence led us to identify the white socks and the classic face marking that could only be…Corona!
More scoping showed us the two horses we started the day with….Medicine Bow and Jemez.
And that was our day with horses near and far. We drove out of Sykes without seeing any other horses. But what a day! Many thanks to Ginger and Ann for letting me share this unforgettable trip to Sykes with them.