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. 🙂

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 “Home on the Range: Managing Wild Horses on Colorado’s Public Lands,” an exhibit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Images and information about Colorado’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 Basin’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 you’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. 🙂 This isn’t the only creek flowing in Disappointment Valley after rain yesterday!





Slurpies

23 03 2019

S'aka and Skywalker

Self-explanatory. 🙂

We got more rain. Spring Creek still is streaming through Spring Creek Basin. 🙂





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. 🙂

(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

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! 🙂





Rain = gooooooooood!

30 07 2014

And we finally got rain …

County line drainage during the big flow.

This drainage coming out of Spring Creek Basin usually is wide and dry.  The water gap is in case of episodes such as this! The PVC pipe creates a visible barrier for the horses in the fence line, but it swings with the force of water when it flows. This pic was taken from the Disappointment Road looking northeast into the basin. The unnamed promontory is barely visible through rain at far back right. The horses already were taking advantage of the rain and running arroyos; three bands were to the east and north of this point.

County line drainage after the big flow.

A couple of hours later, the big flow was a memory. But I bet the memory lives on in the form of some ultra-full ponds!

Spring Creek during the surge from a massive rain event.

Here’s a shot of the usually-dry Spring Creek arroyo that runs under the Disappointment Road in the northern part of the valley – west of Spring Creek Basin. In the background, you can see the rimrocks that form the basin’s western boundary and beyond, the unnamed promontory. (Yes, that’s dreaded tamarisk along the left bank of the creek.)

Spring Creek after the surge.

And this is Spring Creek a coupla-few hours later after the above peak. Still high but receding.

The above two pix of Spring Creek are together for comparison purposes. The below two photos were taken inside Spring Creek Basin after the first of those two photos were taken.

Spring Creek flowing high and wide through Spring Creek Basin.

This is the entrance to Spring Creek canyon – site of previous roundups. Spring Creek flows west out of Spring Creek Basin after collecting water from multiple arroyos and drainages in the basin and eventually joins Disappointment Creek, which joins the Dolores River, which joins the Colorado River. Cool, huh? Spring Creek flows only during major rain events like the one today. Spring Creek and Spring Creek Basin are not interchangeable terms.

Spring Creek flowing high and wide through Spring Creek Basin.

Looking upstream, sort of east-southeast. It was raining when I took these photos, so I didn’t stay long.

Rain. Lifeblood of the desert and its inhabitants. I cry at its lack, and I cry for joy when it falls. My heart is happy for Spring Creek Basin’s mustangs and other residents.





Ladies’ man

29 07 2013

072713comanchecall

The bands were drinking in the bottom of an arroyo the other night, and Mona and Shane wandered off. They might have thought the others would follow, but they didn’t. Pretty soon, there came whinnying, and Comanche responded to the damsels in distress (they’re not even his mares). All was well when he shepherded them back to the flock, err, band(s).

Comanche

Bonus pic because he’s so darn handsome. 🙂

********************

P.S. Dear god(ess)s of rain and all dancers who kept the faith for the wet stuff: THANK YOU! We got a massive downpour yesterday afternoon. If that doesn’t fill ponds, I don’t know what will.





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.





Shesa stunner

27 07 2013

Kestrel in sunset light in the Spring Creek arroyo.

Kestrel in lovely, almost-sunset light in the Spring Creek arroyo in Spring Creek Basin.

I love the way her golden coat mirrors the golden arroyo wall glowing in the background.