Doin’ the mosey

2 10 2022

Maiku was doing a little visiting the other day. Just checking out a couple of neighboring bands. He and two bachelors had a friendly chat, and then they all went back to the business of grazing – and drinking. In the background are the rimrocks above Spring Creek canyon, and Spring Creek was running that day after a rain.

We all love it when water is so convenient!

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Full to the brim

22 08 2022

Have I mentioned the recent GREEN in Spring Creek Basin? Yes? Oh, good. … ‘Cuz it’s there. ๐Ÿ™‚

Along with a little of this:

Two perspectives of Spring Creek, flowing with rainwater, the day before yesterday. The first image is directly as the road crosses the creekbed/arroyo; the second is just to the right – water flowing toward us. Interestingly, the road was dry to this point, but clearly it had rained in the northern and eastern (at least) regions of Spring Creek Basin. By this point, the major arroyos of the basin have converged (though there are still some that feed the creek’s westward drainage). The water was neither high (deep) nor terribly fast, but I didn’t cross. There are times to respect Mother Nature’s obstacles, and I deemed this to be one of those times.

Also a good bit of this:

This is the pond near the hill we call Flat Top. It’s rare to see it so full of water that it backs up so far to the right.

And this is the east-pocket pond, way back in the far eastern region of Spring Creek Basin, also full to the gills.

The pond pix were taken the day before those of Spring Creek running, which was the day after I got soaked going into the basin and getting caught in a lovely little drenching that did NOT go ’round. ๐Ÿ˜‰

All the ponds are so excellently full; the above two are just examples.

So grateful. So very, very grateful.

Nap time

11 01 2022

When the cold air is sun-warmed and the ground is soft (OK, muddy), a little nap is just the ticket when the belly is full (look at that belly!).

In the distance, clouds were clearing from the base of Utah’s La Sal Mountains – (relatively) warm ground plus passing snow over the mountains.

A lot is even better

4 08 2021

So we had a bit of this:

And, because of skies like that the last couple of days from the east and southeast (the above pic is looking west), all our ponds now look like this:



Are we happy? Are you kidding?!

We are about a gazillion kinds of grateful. ๐Ÿ™‚

Every time I rolled up to a pond and saw the reflection that meant water, I yelled, screamed and cried with joy. Nobody heard me but the wind … and Ma Nature. She knows our gratitude.

‘Home on the Range’

4 06 2021

“Managing Wild Horses on Colorado’s Public Lands”

On the heels of this week’s feel-good good-news stories, here’s another one to end your week on a high: Through the end of the year, Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum (formerly called Anasazi Heritage Center) will host โ€œHome on the Range: Managing Wild Horses on Coloradoโ€™s Public Lands,โ€ an exhibit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Images and information about Coloradoโ€™s three herd management areas (Spring Creek Basin, Sand Wash Basin and Piceance-East Douglas) and one wild horse range (Little Book Cliffs) are included in the exhibit, as well as an adopters corner, which highlights a few awesome adopters of some of Spring Creek Basinโ€™s awesome mustangs with a poster and short video. (Thank you to Tif Rodriguez and Whisper, Keith Bean and Skipper, Alice Billings and Liberty, Steve and Teresa Irick and Breeze and Sage, and Olivia Winter Holm and Ellie!)

The exhibit is a collaboration between CANM (Bridget Ambler), our local Tres Rios Field Office (Mike Jensen and Connie Clementson) and Colorado BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program (Ben Smith and Eric Coulter). I can’t begin to describe how incredible it looks. I walked through the doors, stopped dead in my tracks and burst into happy tears! The poor CANM employee who showed me in waited ever-so-politely for me to regain my senses (it took a little while). It’s THAT beautiful!

The center/museum is located on Colorado Highway 184 above the town of Dolores and McPhee Reservoir. If youโ€™re in Southwest Colorado this year, please stop by to view the exhibit and the rest of the museum for a glimpse of ancient life here on the Colorado Plateau!

Below is a selection of photos of the exhibit. Really, it’s best viewed in person!

If you know me, you know that I’m the biggest emotional softie when it comes to my mustangs. Therefore, it will surprise none of you to read that when I drove up the road to the parking area below the building and saw handsome Hollywood and his beautiful mares, that was the first burst-into-tears event of the visit. Notice also the vertical sign on the side of the building in the background – also Hollywood. (Really, this guy should have his own star on a walk of fame!)

This was the next – and biggest – burst-into-tears moment: when I first walked into the exhibit hall and saw all those beautiful mustang faces. At right: Sand Wash Basin mustangs. In the background: Little Book Cliffs mustangs. At farthest left: Spring Creek Basin mustangs (the pic they used on the outside banner). Piceance-East Douglas mustang fans, don’t worry; your ponies are around the Sand Wash Basin wall. And the little section out of frame to the far left is the rest of the Spring Creek Basin area.

Right around the corner from the doors into the exhibit hall, the adopters are featured. Belatedly, I realized the mistake about Steve’s and Teresa’s mustangs: They’re both geldings. But I love the photos and quotes from everyone! These people all recognize the beauty and value of America’s mustangs (particularly our Spring Creek Basin mustangs), and I’m so glad BLM wanted to highlight their horses and parts of their stories. (The mustangs were adopted in 2005, 2007 and 2011.)

The exhibit also pays tribute to Colorado’s mustang advocacy groups – at least one for each herd in the state! Our mustangs are blessed to have people involved in every aspect of their observation and management (of course, we advocates know that WE are the blessed ones!).

No exhibit of mustang management in Colorado would be complete without a display of some of the tools of our fertility-control trade (on the wall across from this is an info-graphic panel about fertility control). We use CO2-powered darting rifles in Sand Wash Basin and in Spring Creek Basin, and they use .22-type rifles to dart in Little Book Cliffs. At upper left is a teeny branding tool for foals. Hopefully coming soon is a darting program in Piceance-East Douglas; all the pieces are being put in place.

Let’s see some pix of the pix (they are beautifully printed on canvas; each of them will go to the respective offices (Tres Rios, Grand Junction, White River and Little Snake) when the exhibit closes at the end of the year):

One of the walls of Piceance-East Douglas beauties.

A cozy corner of Little Book Cliffs mustangs with some of the astounding scenery shown. Part of Little Book Cliffs also is a wilderness study area (like McKenna Peak in Spring Creek Basin).

Some lovelies of Sand Wash Basin.

And of course, my most-beloved Spring Creek Basin wildies.

Deep, heartfelt gratitude to Bridget and Mike and everyone who conceived of and then brought this exhibit to reality. It didn’t open in January as planned because, you know, Covid, but it’s been open since mid-April and will be open the rest of the year (check the link at top of the page for visitor center/museum hours). (As of this writing, they’re following safety protocols with limited capacity in the building and social distancing.)

If you’re coming to or through Southwest Colorado in 2021, please, please, pretty-pretty please make a stop at Canyons of the Ancients Visitor Center and Museum and take time to walk through, and/or sit, and very most definitely enjoy this exhibit of some of the mustangs that call Colorado home. We are SO proud of our mustangs!

Summer rain = running creek

5 08 2019

Piedra above Spring Creek

Piedra grazes above FLOWING Spring Creek.

Yes, we got rain, and yes, we are very happy. ๐Ÿ™‚ This isn’t the only creek flowing in Disappointment Valley after rain yesterday!


23 03 2019

S'aka and Skywalker

Self-explanatory. ๐Ÿ™‚

We got more rain. Spring Creek still is streaming through Spring Creek Basin. ๐Ÿ™‚

Run, Spring Creek, run!

19 03 2019

Skywalker and S'aka in Spring Creek, in Spring Creek Basin.

You’re about to read something you might not ever read on this blog again:

These mustangs are in Spring Creek.


Spring Creek actually is flowing in Spring Creek Basin these days, and it’s flowing from snow melt – and rain – and it is providing the horses with more than a flash of drinking water. This is the first time I’ve really known the arroyo that is Spring Creek to run with snow melt. Usually, it flows for a limited time after a significant rain event, and then it’s a dry arroyo again.

This has been an unusual winter in many ways.

Now, our Spring Creek Basin mustangs are enjoying water in Spring Creek, and it’s a beautiful world after all. ๐Ÿ™‚

(Spring Creek and its tributary arroyos – many of which also are running or at least trickling with water right now – drain Spring Creek Basin, which really is a large geographic “bowl.” Water drains out of the basin and flows in the Spring Creek arroyo across lower Disappointment Valley to Disappointment Creek, and from there to the Dolores River. Usually, all those arroyos are dry, and Spring *Creek* is a misnomer. The mustangs always are in Spring Creek *Basin* Herd Management Area. They’re rarely in Spring *Creek* because it – and the other arroyos – usually are simply dry washes or ditches or drainages.)

Cliff walker

16 07 2017


Seven walks a trail down to Spring Creek, which wasn’t flowing … but would run – just a little bit – a couple of days after this photo was taken.

Why did Seven walk the cliff to cross the creek?

To visit the bands on the other side, of course! ๐Ÿ™‚