Tribute to a public-lands servant

30 09 2022

Connie Clementson, manager of Tres Rios Field Office in Dolores, is retiring after 37 years of public-lands service. For the last 11 years, she has been the head of BLM public lands in Southwest Colorado. We first met her at the 2011 Spring Creek Basin roundup when she was still with the Forest Service and served here as the then-acting district ranger for the Dolores District of San Juan National Forest. We’re glad she was able to finish her three-plus decades of service here in our corner of Colorado.

Our herd manager, Mike Jensen, gets a lot of the well-deserved credit for our recent management accomplishments in Spring Creek Basin, and we know that’s because he has had the support of the top boss – Connie – and her confidence that he was making best decisions for our herd.

Monday, Tif Rodriguez, long-time advocate for Spring Creek Basin mustangs as well as for protecting rights and rights-of-way for horsemen and horse (and other pack stock such as mules) use on public lands, and I went to Tres Rios Field Office, where Joe Manning, assistant field office manager (who also has a lot to do with our confidence-inspiring herd management), had scheduled us into a rare gap in Connie’s last-week schedule. Daniel Chavez, range tech who works with Mike (and Garth Nelson), joined us in Mike’s absence (he was returning from a trip with his daughter).

We presented Connie with a photo of Spring Creek Basin mustangs and a letter from our Disappointment Valley Mustangs group (which includes Pat and Frank Amthor, David and Nancy Holmes, and Kathryn Wilder, in addition to me and Tif) in appreciation for her years of service – specifically here and especially for our mustangs. While we chatted, she reminded us that she said 11 years ago at the roundup that she didn’t ever want to do that again in Spring Creek Basin. And because of her 100 percent support of the PZP fertility-control program in the basin, we haven’t.

In the photo above, from right to left: Joe Manning, Connie Clementson, yours truly, Tif Rodriguez and Daniel Chavez.

We’re so grateful for Connie’s leadership and partnership these many years, and we wish all the best to Connie (and her family) during her well-earned retirement!

Crowned prince

29 09 2022

A little autumn hunkiness for your Thursday morning. 🙂

Tenaz hangs out with his band near Spring Creek canyon. There are limited places in Spring Creek Basin where we either have cottonwood trees (very few) or can see them lining Disappointment Creek in the distance. Behind Tenaz is a tamarisk/salt cedar at the edge of Spring Creek. Like the rabbitbrush, they turn sort of yellowish in the fall, but it’s not blooming or leaves turning golden, just sort of a dying-toward-winter (dis?)coloration. But for purposes of imagery, it sure seems to *crown* our handsome Tenaz very well, don’t you think?

Fancy girls

28 09 2022

All in a row: Dundee, Aiyanna and Rowan. Such glorious girls!


27 09 2022

The bokeh in the trees shadowing Chipeta is divine, as is the girl herself.

Rock art

26 09 2022

Now, for you Southwest-rock-art aficionados, don’t get *too* excited about/by the title of this post; I don’t mean rock art in *that* sense. I mean just that I used a uniquely weathered boulder at the base of Filly Peak to frame a band of horses napping along a ridge above Spring Creek in the western part of the basin.

I’m not sure whether it *works*. … The mustangs are pretty far and not much more than dots (white or otherwise!), but I like trying to use the basin’s other, maybe minor (!), natural beauties to show off her obvious ones.

While there is a much-weathered panel of rock-art petroglyphs on a rock wall several miles north of Spring Creek Basin, just across the highway from Road 19Q/Disappointment Road, I’ve never found any in the basin.

(I thought I’d taken a pic of the boulder with my cell phone, but apparently, I didn’t. I’ll try to rectify that missed opportunity in the near future. The pic might work better if viewers could tell that the weirdly shaped orange blob at left IS a boulder!)

Boulder field

25 09 2022

To further illustrate Winona’s adeptness at keeping me in view while clipping the good grasses from the bases of boulders, here’s another image from the same evening as yesterday’s post.

But I think I like this one most of all:

She’s a master!

Boulder bound

24 09 2022

Winona, resourceful mustang that she is, was grazing among the boulders at the base of Filly Peak the other evening. Coincidentally, she may have been practicing her boulder-picking skills.

While I kept my eyes peeled for interesting compositions among the lichen-splashed rock giants, Winona interrupted her grazing at times, making sure to keep her eyes on me. 🙂

Autumn blooms

23 09 2022

As of last night, it’s autumn!

As of yesterday morning, at least one particular part of Disappointment Valley got 0.64 inch of rain since Tuesday afternoon!

In the pic above, Corazon stands in Spring Creek yesterday. Which is to say that he’s standing in water running in the Spring Creek arroyo in western Spring Creek Basin – water draining from the basin’s tributary arroyos after all of that lovely, wonderful, excellent, above-mentioned rain. The yellow glow is blooming rabbitbrush (also called chamisa), an early autumn bloomer in our high-desert wonderland.

I’m pretty sure we’re all happy about all of the above. 🙂

Gold is always there

22 09 2022

Sun-setting shadows already had grown long over the area east of Spring Creek canyon by the time I got down to Skywalker and his companion bands. I tagged along as they moseyed uphill from their evening drink, to a slice of sunshine over the rimrocks before night started its descent over our little piece of heaven.

The wisdom of the swish

21 09 2022

You don’t survive in the wild as long as Houdini has without learning the art of where to get the best swish for the buck. In her case, bestie Alegre has the tail that’s best for the job of keeping flies away. I’ve seen Houdini numerous times following Alegre with her head positioned to take advantage of Alegre’s swishing. And it’s always Alegre. These ladies have been together for a very long time.