Mona, que Mona

2 08 2013

Mona got her name courtesy of one of our NMA/CO board members, artist Karen Keene Day. When the mares first came from Sand Wash Basin, Karen recalled how I kept talking about “how cute” the red dun mare was.

How cute = que Mona. I liked to call her “MonaKMona.”


This was taken about a month ago.

Mona and Comanche

This was taken just last week.

Mona watching Kestrel's band.

Be at peace, que Mona, not just cute – beautiful.


Thank you, all, for your words and kindness. No matter how intellectually you tell yourself it’s nature, and it happens, still it hurts our hearts when we know and love them as much as we do.

RIP Mona and foal

1 08 2013

Sunset the night Mona died.

With a heavy heart, I let ya’ll know that Mona died after complications from foaling. Her foal is presumed dead.

God certainly welcomed them to heaven in spectacular fashion.

My heartfelt appreciation goes to Logan Briscoe, BLM law-enforcement officer, and Mike Jensen, former herd manager, for coming first, and continued thanks and whole-hearted appreciation to Logan and to Connie Clementson, Tres Rios Field Office manager, for coming back. Connie responded ASAP when called first thing in the morning to provide relief to an injured mustang so that she wouldn’t suffer needlessly.

Evening sip

28 07 2013

Hollywood, Shane, Mona and Aurora drinking in the Spring Creek arroyo.

It doesn’t look like much, but they’re drinking in the bottom of the Spring Creek arroyo in Spring Creek Basin. With more moisture comes more irritation in the form of biting flies.

His & hers

16 07 2013

Hollywood and Shane with Shane's mama, Mona, in the background.

She is his, and in the background is her mama.

Miss Shane will be 3 in September. For perspective, Mister Hollywood is not the tallest boy in the basin. 🙂

Side by side

28 02 2013

Shane and mama Mona

Mona (dun) and her daughter Shane both ended up in Hollywood’s band, separately. Shane turned 2 in September. She’s still close to her mama.

Merry Christmas Eve!

24 12 2012

Two in the far white basin:

Mona and daughter Shane

Mona, left, and her daughter Shane (by Kreacher) are in Hollywood’s band.

Our snow has started to melt with warm temps (45!), but another storm is on the way. Here’s hoping it snags over Disappointment Valley.

-8 and be there

20 12 2012

Not quite as iconic as Galen Rowell’s oft-quoted “f8 and be there” – nor, I suspect, will it become as universal. But at minus 8 degrees this morning, I was there, in the basin, in paradise turned white.

Seven; hill to the back right is the eastern side of Flat Top.

Seven in winter’s wonderland.

Kootenai and Mysterium

Kootenai and Mysterium

Hayden and Tenaz

Hayden and Tenaz

Hollywood's band

Hollywood’s band walking away from the noise of a truck. What kind of crazy person would be out here on a minus-8-degree morning?

Oh, right. 🙂


Aurora with her band. For extra credit, name the horse in the background attached to those gorgeous stripes! (Aurora’s daddy, Bounce, whom she resembles so strikingly, is following the bands.)

The temperature didn’t get above about 22 degrees today. Snow-lasting temps. I love it.

Mustangs at the edge of the world

18 12 2012

Seen any “Pirates” lately? Seems a good reference for this shot:


Or was it “end” of the world? Ah well. That’s a mix of Comanche’s and Hollywood’s bands on the “edge” of the second saddle of what I call Lizard Mesa. Young bachelors Hayden, Tenaz and Apollo “ran into them” at the double ponds and sent them running north. I thought maybe they’d end up at Sorrel Flats for a drink, but only the boys were there when I arrived. West of the east pocket, I finally spotted the bands on the yonder ridge, all in a line, silhouetted by the sun just before it dropped into a snow-cloud bank, which has been stalled at the west/southwest ridgeline (the top of the very far tree-covered hill you can see in the background of the above pic) for the last two or more days.

Notice, if you will, the complete and utter lack of snow on the ground.

Gentle admonition to folks within 200 miles who got a foot-plus of the white stuff: Don’t be greedy!

How does EVERYBODY get snow but Disappointment Valley!? Not a speck; not a drop. It’s not even damp.

Weatherman says another wave is coming … Cross yer fingers ‘n toes. We sure need the moisture.

Another dark girl

24 10 2012

This happened a little while ago:

Aurora has hooked up with Hollywood and his band.

She’s the daughter of Alegre and Bounce, and most recently was with her mother, little sister, big sister and niece in Traveler’s band. Little girl growing up.

Water, blessed

1 09 2012

Oh, peeps. What a summer. No rain for months. Then rain. Ponds – three – dug out. Then no rain – again. Did I mention heat? Drying wind.

We got a big rain last week. I couldn’t wait to get back in the basin to check ponds. But I’ve been distracted – by Terra’s new baby, by checking Chipeta (no baby today). The day I found Terra’s baby boy, I got stopped at the first Spring Creek crossing by a big wash of rock, some still-not-dry mud (which kinda IS mud, eh) and a tall/deep “step” of dirt/mud at the far side. It wasn’t much changed today. It took one aborted attempt in regular four-wheel drive then four-wheel-low to get up and over it today.

But this stopped me:

The old washout, washed out again. But this time, it’s all the way across the road. I hate to think what mess the hunters will make trying to get past it.

Did I say it stopped me? Welllll. It stopped the Jeep. Bike to the rescue. I hit the road, to this destination:

Is this not a glorious sight?! This is the roadside pond, full to the brim! OK, maybe not quite to the brim – you can see how high the water got. The spillway is at back right, but it doesn’t look like much water went over there.

Back on the bike. Back to the Jeep. Back to check the northwest pond.

Did I say the other photo, of a brim-full pond, was a glorious sight? Nah. (Well, yeah.) But this, folks … this is what it’s all about. 🙂

Not full at all. In fact, just a puddle compared with roadside and trapsite (which also is full), but Hollywood’s band was there (Mona and Shane seen above). Comanche’s band was there. Duke was there. Bounce was there with Seven and Kreacher. The young misters Hayden, Tenaz and Apollo were there.

That is there. See it? The green stuff? Not in the foreground (BLM, that’s weeds again already, and not the good kind; good thing BLM is set to spray weeds this fall from the coordinates we GPS’d during the Four Corners Back Country Horsemen’s project this spring!). Where the horses are. Comanche’s closest; Hollywood’s a little farther and to the left. Duke was in there, too, I think.

That, my friends, is lovely, life-sustaining grass.

Oh, what a difference, rain.

Glorious rain. Valuable, wonderful rain. We had a little more last night. Despite the promising clouds, none tonight.

(Pond notes: The northwest, trapsite and roadside ponds all got dug out this year, courtesy of the Forest Service and Director’s Challenge money, which our Tres Rios Field Office was awarded based on partnership with our Disappointment Wild Bunch Partners. The east-pocket pond had gone dry, then had water again, then gone dry again. I wasn’t able to get back and check it, but based on roadside’s full status, I’d bet it has water again. All the other ponds have water. Grass is amazing. Horses are fabulous!)