Giving thanks, early

5 10 2022

We have had a pretty amazing surge of rain this fall – contrary to the forecasts for a dryer-than-usual fall. Or maybe that was for Colorado in general, which doesn’t seem to remember sometimes that our southwestern corner IS, in fact, still within the Centennial State’s borders. (And although we’re still dry – we *are* high desert, after all – other parts of Colorado are in (much) more severe drought than we are now. The U.S. Drought Monitor has reduced us to “abnormally dry.”)

Lower Disappointment Valley (as the elevation changes – and it changes rather dramatically from upper to very lower – rainfall amounts vary wildly) has gotten at least 1.84 inches of rain just in October. … Are you paying attention? That’s just the last few days! To put that in perspective, we got just 2 inches of liquid moisture between last Dec. 1 and this April 1 (that’s liquid from snow). Wowza.

We’re kinda dancin’ a bit ’round here. 🙂

The pix in this post are of Temple Butte … different perspectives than normally seen from the interior of Spring Creek Basin. The top pic was taken from southeast of the southernmost basin boundary (Spring Creek Basin is basically on the *other* side of it from that perspective), and the one above was taken from below the last/southern/southeasternmost drainage in the basin – both from Disappointment Road.

Moon over Disappointment

20 09 2021

Magic happens.

I rest my case. 🙂

Beloved horizon

2 07 2021

Just about everything is shown in this one pic – just about everything I love: Mustang (and there are more in the yonder) and that horizon that always lets me know I’m home after any amount of time away.

As always, I wonder what the horse sees/thinks as he looks out on that view, those places he knows intimately as a true, wild resident of that vast, wild land.

No trails, no problem

2 11 2020

On Halloween, I had great fun hiking with a group from Telluride’s Sheep Mountain Alliance into a part of Spring Creek Basin that is overlapped by McKenna Peak Wilderness Study Area.

Lexi and Mason from SMA brought five interested – and interesting – people to see this area that’s in the same county as Telluride (San Miguel) … and a world away climate- and geology- and geography-wise.

Disclaimer: The pic above of Juniper walking past McKenna Peak was NOT taken during our hike. 🙂

We didn’t see any of our fabulous mustangs during our hike in the far southeastern part of the basin, but we did see a couple of tarantulas and lots of cool fossils (including a couple of faint but awesome nautilus impressions!). I got to talk about my favorite subject ever (I bet none of you can guess what that is … ;)), and Lexi talked to us about McKenna Peak and the CORE Act – the Colorado Recreation and Economy Act.

From the website:

“The CORE Act is the most significant and broadly-supported effort to protect Colorado’s most cherished lands, waters, and forests in a generation. The legislation would protect roughly 400,000 acres of public lands in Colorado, ensuring that future generations can always enjoy our state’s mountains, rivers and wildlife.”

McKenna Peak Wilderness Study Area is proposed for inclusion in the San Juan Mountains area. This link shows the locations of the areas; scroll down to read a little more about McKenna Peak and see where it’s located. The entire WSA isn’t included, just the part in San Miguel County. As with anything else, politics plays a part. Our San Miguel County commissioners are fully supportive of this inclusion, just as they were of the naming of Temple Butte, which is in San Miguel County.

Regular readers know the shape of both McKenna Peak and Temple Butte as icons of our Spring Creek Basin horizon. Given our location and lack of specific trails, I don’t think we’ll be overrun with visitors. But how cool would it be to see the status of even part of this amazing landscape go from wilderness study area to full wilderness area? It’s protected from motorized/mechanized-vehicle use currently, which enables it to feel secluded and protected to the wild horses and other lives that know its wildness (even us humans).

Being able to share it with another few like-minded humans gave me great enjoyment. To see their wonder and appreciation of this landscape I love … well, to be perfectly honest, it made me happy. 🙂

Green = good

22 07 2020

That looks lovely, right?! That’s nearly all of San Miguel County – McKenna Peak is outside the basin’s eastern boundary – under wonderful green, which in radar terms, of course, means RAIN.

Except that it wasn’t actually raining when I took this screenshot (around quarter after 8 a.m.). The heavens had leaked a little a little while earlier, but someone fixed (!) the leak. (Note to someone: We’re really OK with that kind of leak … and it could rip right open … really!)

We are so hopeful, and we need it BADLY – GOODLY? … We need the goodness of it in a really bad way ’cause it’s really kinda bad dry out there.

Girl, lovely, 2

3 05 2020


Lovin’ that do, JuniJu!

McKenna Peak in the very near background.

Natural high

26 04 2020


Mysterium naps just below a ridge just below McKenna Peak. It was my first time in that particular area of Spring Creek Basin … but it probably won’t be my last.

Welcome green on a computer screen

22 04 2020


Of course, there’s a bit of blue (snow) and red-and-yellow (heavy rain), too, but the moisture is what we’re concerned with, and it’s the moisture that lessens our considerable concern this early in the spring because of the *lack* of it for months and and months now.

Spring Creek Basin is mostly to the eastish and southeastish of the lowermost red-and-yellow blob. Some of it, yes, is not green-covered on the version of the weather map shown (KWTX Channel 10 is my parents’ news station in Central Texas, and it does feature an excellent radar map), but I’m confident that our our whole little region got a little bit of soothing drizzle for slightly more than a few minutes yesterday in the late afternoon.


There’s nothing quite as uplifting in the high desert, in spring, than the sight of sprinkles drizzling from the heavens and the scent of that divine wetness-on-dry-desert-sage permeating the air.


The above was typed around 4:30 or 5 p.m. Tuesday (yesterday).

The below, around 6:30ish p.m., kept happening:


We’re kinda happy on this Earth Day. 🙂

Happy 50th anniversary to this official celebration of our Earth. We owe her everything.

East pocket paradise

20 11 2019


Do you see what I see? Besides the road leading to beautiful country *beyond* the road?

Remember, look for white spots. In our country, they could be rocks or old juniper trees silvery in the light or salt coming to the surface … or grey mustangs, posing as mountain goats in the desert. (That’s a hint: Look fairly high.)


How ’bout now? 🙂 About seven horses are visible, though at best, from this distance, they don’t look much like equines!

I got so giddy, seeing the horses on that high ridge, that apparently all I could blurt out was “mountain goats! mountain goats!” And my friend Karen Keene Day thought I really was talking about mountain goats! No, no, just wild ponies pretending to be sure-footed wooly wonders (well, they ARE all that!), high on a ridge on the farthest east boundary of Spring Creek Basin. 🙂

They’re also deep within McKenna Peak Wilderness Study Area (which covers a good chunk of the whole eastern side of the basin). The road you see in the first photo is almost to the farthest eastern edge before it turns south. Beyond, only foot – or hoof! – traffic is allowed.

In other good news: The ground is damp as I type this post Tuesday night! More rain is coming! More is welcome! More is NEEDED!

Please, please, moisten our ground and fill our hearts and hopes for a good start to winter wonderfulness!

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.