On a low note

1 07 2018

Maia, Alegre and Houdini

A new month … a renewed hope for rain.

The month of June brought just 0.38 inch of rain to lower Disappointment Valley, and that was in just two rain events. Coincidentally, the single greatest amount of moisture in any one day all year (including snow) was 0.38 inch on April 8.

For the year … FOR THE YEAR … starting Jan. 1, we’ve received just 2.61 inches of moisture. (I record moisture (and the lack thereof) daily for Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHS), a network of volunteers who record moisture all across the country.)

Even with that wholly depressing, disheartening and disappointing number, it’s hard to articulate just how exceptionally dry it is. Disappointment Valley (the lower part of which cradles Spring Creek Basin) is in southern San Miguel and northern Dolores counties in Southwest Colorado. Montezuma County is the southwestern-most county in Colorado. Dolores County is immediately north of Montezuma, and San Miguel County is immediately north of Dolores County. We’re experiencing a D4-level drought – exceptional – and have been for at least the last several months. The U.S. Drought Monitor doesn’t list a category worse than D4.

The mustangs DO have water. I want to make that clear. One pond still is (barely) sparkling in the incessant sunshine (oh, to have the depression symptoms of Seattle-ites), and I’ve tracked some bands to a few scattered seeps that manage to recharge enough for the horses to drink at least a little over a long period of time (waiting … waiting …).

Everybody looks good (as I hope you see from these photos of the horses, which are posted here within days to a week or so of when they were taken), and other than the stress of struggling through high temperatures, neverending wind and gnats, dust and dry, every day, they’re doing all right. They’re mustangs, after all.

I’d be lying if I said I’m NOT praying every day for monsoons to finally hit us this year. I’m praying like their lives depend on it.



4 responses

1 07 2018
Maggie Frazier

I think most in looking at the dry areas in the west DO forget these mustangs have lived for hundreds of years in these dry and arid areas.
Still wish we could send you some moisture, tho.
Right now – we are getting some really hot weather – BUT as we are told there is no such thing as climate change – guess we shouldnt worry!!!

1 07 2018


1 07 2018
Sue Story

As first-hand witnesses to this disaster right along with you, TJ, we too pray daily that the rain will come. We’ve lived here for 44 years and never seen anything like it. Those beautiful mustangs are my role models – they just keep on going, making the best of it, not giving up, and never looking back. 🙂

1 07 2018

Prayers being dispersed for much needed rains for our wild ones. Heartbreaking.

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