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.

Temple Butte forever!

19 12 2018

Seneca; Temple Butte

It’s official! Temple Butte IS Temple Butte!

Just last night, we received word that our application* to name Temple Butte, above Spring Creek Basin’s eastern boundary, in honor of our beloved and much-missed Pati Temple was approved by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

We are ecstatic. 🙂

Pati was an integral part of NMA/CO‘s long mission to protect and preserve Spring Creek Basin’s mustangs in a way that sustains both the herd and the range upon which they depend. With perseverance and commitment, our partnership with BLM’s Tres Rios Field Office is stronger than ever, and our horses and their range are beautiful and healthy.

We are forever grateful for Pati’s guiding light, and, thus named, Temple Butte now is a testament to her memory.

The formerly unnamed promontory has its forever name. 🙂 Just in time for Christmas!

*Heartfelt thanks to Ann Bond for her diligent efforts gathering and submitting the paperwork for the application!

** Another aside: Pati is responsible for Seneca’s name. 🙂

Not enough white

4 02 2018

Kwana; La Sal Mountains

Those patches of snow are gone, though damp spots on the earth still linger in shady places. The snow on the La Sals is rapidly fading to the grey of the rock below as the sun shines relentlessly down during this winter of discontent.


Today is the fifth anniversary of the passing of a beloved friend, Pati Temple. Even as we continue to mourn her loss, we celebrate her life and the shining light she was to all creatures, especially Spring Creek Basin’s mustangs.


5 01 2017


Tesora helps show off another unnamed promontory, farther up the valley. Behind her is the shadowed ridge of Brumley Point, and above and beyond that is our previously unnamed promontory, now called Temple Butte in honor of Pati and David Temple, who advocated tirelessly for Spring Creek Basin’s mustangs (David still does, and Pati spreads her angel’s wings over our blessed basin).

The very last light lit up that promontory, and it was hard to balance its brightness with the already shadowed foreground – and mustangs. So that’s not snow; it’s very-bright sunshine spotlighting the golden rock of the promontory.

As the snow falls

4 02 2014

Temple, Spring Creek canyon

Today marks one year since we lost our amazing Pati Temple. One year since heaven gained a unique angel. One year of grieving and insights and feeling her presence among us still. She is missed, but she left us all with lessons and love.

The basin didn’t get a whole lotta white stuff (coupla inches), but it came on top of rain, and it’s sloppy and saturated. The above photo of Temple was taken before it snowed.

We have decent numbers beside the percentage signs in the forecast for the rest of the week! Thanks for the dances and prayers. Pati, please nudge aside the dome over the basin/lower valley and let it fall!

Water for mustangs

30 06 2013

Not elephants. Although, as this drought continues, it’s beginning to look a lot like the sere plains of Africa out here.

I call this photo “La Sals, Imagination”:


Whaddya mean you can’t see the mountains … through the smoke? Use your imagination. 🙂 Although Grey/Traveler’s band seems to also be looking for the mountains, they were watching Chrome’s band walking toward them on their way to the water catchment.

Smoke from this fire – way, way, way east of here – apparently has drifted into New Mexico then blown back north and west into Colorado. But it’s not the only fire burning in the region.

Earlier, Grey/Traveler’s band had been drinking at the water catchment’s trough:


Maia, clearly at her leisure, worried me; I thought the worst, that the storage tank had drained and the trough was empty, and she was waiting for someone to come fill it, darnit!

Not to fear.

Water trough at the catchment in Spring Creek Basin, looking toward the road.

The trough was full of water. Whew. (The big green tank is the storage tank that holds water from either rain or snow or direct-fill.)

Because of the drought, BLM has been checking to ensure that the horses have enough water sources, and we – National Mustang Association/Colorado – recently got the green light to deliver a load of water – 4,000 gallons – to the catchment tank. Donors and silent-auction-item buyers at the Pati Temple Memorial Benefit Bash, this is the first use of the money you helped us raise! Interestingly, the area of the catchment is used primarily by Chrome’s band and rarely by other bands. But some other bands have started to find the water – and the good forage in this area. Water is a good way to disperse the horses’ grazing and get them to use under-used areas.


Chrome’s band at the catchment trough, drinking clean water. This is an important water source because it’s the only clean source of water in the basin. The others are high in alkalinity and salt because of the basin’s soils. The dusky, hazy color cast is because of the smoke.

The temperature hit 110 degrees Friday. On Thursday, the high was 108. Smoke, wind, heat, zero moisture = ugh.

Cecil Foster, owner of Foster’s Water, to the rescue.


The storage tank is about 15 feet tall, so Cecil brings his ladder to access the hatch at the top. At right is the hose from his water truck.


Seen here are his water truck, the hose to the tank and the water trough in the background at right.


Thanks, Cecil! He also donated a load of water for the benefit’s silent auction. Cecil is a super nice man, and a friend of the mustangs of Spring Creek Basin.

Thank you, NMA/CO, for the delivery of water to the mustangs!

Pati Temple Memorial Benefit Bash

5 06 2013

Monday’s event to honor the National Mustang Association, Colorado chapter’s Pati Temple was a great success! A huge, heart-felt thank you to all the friends and family of Pati – and David – Temple who donated items to the silent auction and/or attended the bash. Your attendance and contributions go a long way toward helping us continue our advocacy on behalf of our Spring Creek Basin mustangs!


Durango photographer Claude Steelman donated a print of his outstanding photo of our handsome Traveler (left) and two of his photography books, including Wildshots, pictured. Bayfield artist Sarah Rose donated a print of her beautiful painting of Spring Creek Basin’s Aspen, right.


NMA/CO board member Karen Keene Day donated this stunning painting of Traveler. It’s based on a photo she took of him and his band in 2004.


Susan Thomas and NMA/CO board member Nancy Schaufele (in purple) check out silent auction items.


Nancy marks the final bids at the end of the silent auction. Kennebec Cafe, one of Pati’s favorite restaurants, provided a really beautiful setting for our event; many thanks for the great food and wonderful setup!


Kathe Hayes with San Juan Mountains Association shows off Alice Billings’ donated painting of Temple, wild filly in Spring Creek Basin named in honor of Pati and David. Kathe was the high bidder on the painting!

In addition to Nancy and Karen, many thanks to NMA/CO board members Tif Rodriguez and Lynda Larsen – and, always, David Temple – as well as our event planner, Tina Roth, for making this such a memorable and successful event in Pati’s memory.

Pati was an exceptional woman who fought for the well-being of animals and people whenever she saw a wrong. We think she would have loved this party. The worst part of it was that she wasn’t there to enjoy it with us.