Dedication

20 05 2019

Family members and friends of Pati Temple drove into Disappointment Valley yesterday to celebrate a woman who changed all our lives for the better. To her, we dedicated the now-officially named Temple Butte.

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David Temple led the ceremony with Marona, the first mustang he and Pati adopted. She’s a Spring Creek Basin native. 🙂 Pati’s sister Marcie is in the striped jacket, and long-time family friend Mark is in the yellow jacket.

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Long-time friend Sara Staber (in blue) speaks about Pati, telling the story about how Pati successfully fought to return Traveler to Spring Creek Basin after he was removed during the 2007 roundup.

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Kat Wilder talked about the impact Pati had on her … though she never met Pati.

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Former San Miguel County Commissioner Art Goodtimes served with Pati years ago on BLM Colorado’s Southwest District RAC. He spoke about how she inspired everyone with her passion for public lands. She was Art’s introduction to the mustangs of Spring Creek Basin.

(Note: Temple Butte is in San Miguel County. It’s just outside Spring Creek Basin Herd Management Area, which straddles San Miguel and Dolores counties.)

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Marona, about 21 years old, loved the attention.

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The feelings were mutual. 🙂

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Our sincere thanks to everyone who came from far and wide to honor Pati Temple and her dedication to Spring Creek Basin’s mustangs!





Happening today …

19 05 2019

Maia; Temple Butte and McKenna Peak

A special dedication to a special lady.

Today in Disappointment Valley, we’re having a ceremony to dedicate Temple Butte in honor of our dear and much-missed friend – and friend of mustangs – Pati Temple.

Last year, just before Christmas, we learned that the U.S. Board of Geographic Names had granted our request to officially name Temple Butte. It was an arduous application process, and we are tremendously thankful to Ann Bond for her commitment to the paperwork and seeing it through to the successful end.

San Miguel County commissioners (Kris Holstrom, Hilary Cooper and Joan May) wrote a letter of support for our application, and we thank them, especially past and present members who knew Pati personally.

Pati worked tirelessly with local BLM employees to get things done for Spring Creek Basin’s herd, and Wayne Werkmeister, herd manager in the 1990s who played a vital role in the creation of the Colorado chapter of the National Mustang Association, wrote a letter of support for Temple Butte. He’s currently the associate field manager at the Grand Junction Field Office (out of which the Little Book Cliffs herd is managed). At Pati’s insistence (one of her best traits was her absolute refusal to take no for an answer!), Wayne was here for our 2011 (last) roundup, during which we implemented our PZP program.

Mike Jensen, current Spring Creek Basin herd manager who also knew Pati, had this to say: “I really see it as fitting to have that beautiful butte which looks down on the HMA named in honor of Pati. Her passion for those horses was a driving force in where we are today in the management of the HMA.”

During her many years of involvement with Spring Creek Basin and its mustangs, Pati made sure that we partnered with BLM instead of fighting with the agency. That philosophy continues … and look at the good it has generated for our mustangs!

Pati touched the lives of humans and animals alike during her life, and it is fitting for those of us who knew her to continue to advocate for all those who need a helping hand and a word of encouragement.

Thank you, Pati. Thank you to all who made this happen.





Little, wild, free

26 03 2019

S'aka; Spring Creek canyon

Really. One word. And they all mean “gorgeous”!

The curve of rimrock is the north rim of Spring Creek canyon (through which Spring Creek is STILL flowing). Beyond is more of Disappointment Valley (Spring Creek Basin is a tucked-away little paradise in Disappointment Valley). The mustangs can’t go beyond the rimrocks.





The best of green and blue

12 03 2019

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The little blue “square” in the middle is just east of McKenna Peak Wilderness Study Area (labeled), which is east of and in the eastern part of Spring Creek Basin Herd Management Area.

I’m wearing a smile as big and broad as lower Disappointment Valley. 🙂





Safety first

2 03 2019

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Please don’t be fooled by the idea that the lack of snow means area backcountry roads are driveable. Six or more inches of snow has melted in the last couple of days, and that has left MUD – soggy, deep, boggy, forward-motion-destroying mud – in its wake.

The above pic was taken yesterday from the intersection of Disappointment Valley Road and the road to Spring Creek Basin. The driver and passenger of the pictured truck tried to drive in … and soon (but not soon enough?!) realized it wasn’t a good idea. Having nowhere to turn around, they tried to back out. That went well until they got to a particularly boggy area, which pulled their truck off the road, where they tried unsuccessfully to get out of the deep mud.

In the pic, my truck (foreground) is atop the cattle guard at the intersection. I’d pulled the stuck truck to the cattle guard with my chain, but because of the angle and narrowness of the road, I couldn’t get it out of the mud along the road and ONTO the road, and if I’d kept pulling, their left rear wheel would have hit the exposed abutment of the cattle guard. Fortunately, from that point, the driver was able to gun it forward up and out of the mud and onto the road. In the pic above, the truck is on more or less solid ground (it wasn’t all that solid), and the driver and passenger were looking for the tire chains the mud ripped off (at least two of three they put on).

PLEASE do not think that because the snow has melted and the road is brown that it is dry. It most certainly, absolutely, definitely is NOT.

Apparently, I need to add a sign to those seen at the right side of the pic: DO NOT DRIVE WHEN WET. *

Ground moisture = GOOD.

Wet road = VERY, VERY BAD!

We have several days of rain and rain/snow in the forecast – with warm temps – that means the moisture content in the soil will get even better. … And the mud will get even deeper. It’s not spring yet, folks. 🙂 If you’re jonesing to get out and about, please do so responsibly!

(* Note: The three miles from Disappointment Valley Road (starting at the above-mentioned cattle guard intersection) to the boundary of Spring Creek Basin is a county easement/road that crosses private property.)





Elk friends

10 02 2019

So I was just hanging out in Spring Creek Basin with my mustang friends when these guys showed up, moseying along, drinking at the same little pool of water in the rock arroyo. Super cool. 🙂

Bull elk, Spring Creek Basin

Bull elk, Spring Creek Basin

Bull elk, Spring Creek Basin

Bull elk, Spring Creek Basin

This fellow has had some kind of encounter that resulted in a broken main beam of his antlers.

Bull elk, Spring Creek Basin

And this healthy-bodied youngster has a great start on what will someday be a very impressive set of antlers!

There were about five bulls with a group of cows and calves. Because of the trees, I couldn’t get a count (and I never think about it anyway), but I’d estimate around 15 to 20 total. The boys usually disperse into all-male groups after the rut, but these elk were still hanging out together. And as you can see, they still have their antlers.

In my experience, elk are pretty wary and hard to get close to. These guys and gals were grazing through the snow near a band of mustangs when I first saw them, but unfortunately, I couldn’t get to my camera quick enough to document that. However, it may be why they were so calm; their equine friends were calm. 🙂

Later, when I looked across the little valley from the ridge I was on to the ridge they had been on, most of them had bedded down on patches of bare ground under pinon and juniper trees (which are sucking up that moisture like nobody’s business!). Nice and quiet on a very windy day!





Takin’ a turn

7 02 2019

Aurora

This pic of Aurora was taken a week or so ago. Then that snow melted. Yesterday, Disappointment Valley got white again!

Because we need it so badly in Southwest Colorado, we hope everyone got a great dose of life-giving snow!