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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

Below the top

21 09 2014

Comanche's band; unnamed promontory in the background.

Comanche’s band walks past the unnamed promontory, one of Spring Creek Basin’s premier, most recognizable landmarks.

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.Β  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.

Unique to us

6 06 2014

Tesora and Puzzle; Brumley Point and the unnamed promontory.

Tesora and Puzzle look fat and shiny below Brumley Point and the unnamed promontory – which happen to be lined up perfectly from this perspective but are, in fact, two different land forms!

Alternative spring break – 2014

26 03 2014

We had sunshine. We had short sleeves. We had the flush of sunburn on winter-white arms and faces. We had, uh, shale?

No beaches, but we had hard workers and fantastic attitudes. As usual, Mizzou sent some – 10 – excellent students to continue the fence-rebuilding project on Spring Creek Basin’s southeastern fence line as part of alternative spring break. Leader Chalen said the number of groups working this spring break is 52 – up from 38 last year. If all you’ve heard about the next generation is a not-so-hearty endorsement, these students made myth of such statements.

They ranged from freshmen to seniors, from undecided majors to finance, to animal science/pre-vet to fisheries and wildlife, to journalism.

Every year, we’re grateful and excited to welcome them, and every year, a new group of students humbles us with their willingness to work on public lands very far from their Missouri campus.


The sweatshirts didn’t last long. It was a gorgeous day in Disappointment Valley, and we were down to T-shirts in no time at all. Right to left: Grace, Sam, Chase, Sophia, Casey and Kyla.


BLM range specialist and former herd manager Mike Jensen helps Mizzou student Jake set a cross piece into an H-brace at the start of the project.


Students Chase, left, and Mark attach boards to a tree to protect it from wire fence strands biting into it. This is just up the line from the H-brace Mike and Jake are working on in the previous pic.


Student leader Chalen – who also was last year’s group leader – drew the short straw in digging this post hole with Sam. See all that rock? See the tamp bar? The only other tool they used was a post-hole digger.


Same post hole – post in! Sam, right, tamps it in while Chalen and fellow student Sophia admire the work.


MK Thompson with San Juan Mountains Association carries out old wire strands that the students removed and rolled. A local Girl Scouts troop will pick up the old wire to recycle and earn some money! How about that for both recycling and partnership among local groups?


Herd manager Damon Corley pounded his fair share of T-posts. Part of the fence line was relocated to a straighter route, so posts were lifted out and reused or replaced. The lower wire strand was left in place temporarily to help align the new posts.


Sorry, Dustin! While he was hard at work with a shorty tamp bar, Kyla bombed his photo – but gave his hard work an enthusiastic thumbs-up! They and Casey (whose foot appears at bottom left)Β  – and Sophia helped, too – dug two holes for an H-brace at the bottom of this steep little arroyo toward the end of the day’s work project.


Sophia, right, and Kyla set the cross piece into the notches of the posts they dug holes to place. Kathe Hayes, mastermind of the alternative spring break week for many, many years (did I hear 17 years, Kathe??), supervises.


The Forest Service’s Tom Rice helps Dustin drill a hole for a spike to secure the soon-to-be-upright juniper post to the cross piece, as seen in the previous pic. Remember, in McKenna Peak Wilderness Study Area, no mechanized tools are allowed.


On this end of the brace, Dustin hammers home the spike while Casey steadies the cross piece.


NMA/CO executive director and volunteer Tif attaches a clip to a T-post to secure a wire strand. Only the top strand to go! The top and bottom strands are smooth twisted wire, and the the middle strands are barbed.


We’re using wildlife-friendly wire spacing on this entire line (I think that’s usual now for Forest Service and BLM fences). Jake holds one of the measuring sticks used by students toΒ  attach the wires at the right spacing while Casey attaches a strand to the T-post with a metal clip.


The students were so “on the ball” that hardly had a wire strand been tightened and tied off at the H-brace than they were attaching the strands to posts and staves to wire. Wow, they were fast! Some of the students have fence-building experience, but most don’t. Quick learners, these college students!


This shot is a little out of order, but it’s a good contrast to the previous pic, which shows the nearly-finished fence. In this pic, taken from about halfway up the steep bank of the arroyo at the end of the day’s work section, you can see Kyla and Tom drilling a hole in one of the juniper H-brace posts while Dustin, Kathe, Casey and Sophia have set their post and are getting ready to tamp dirt in around it. When the H-brace is completed, wire will be strung – from the bottom wire up – clips will be placed, staves will be set, and we’ll call it a day well spent!


One of the last things to do was to dig a hole and place this tall, stout juniper post (cut Saturday during work prep) about midway up that steep arroyo bank. Sophia, Grace and Damon carried it to its place, and they and other students dug the hole and placed it and tamped it steady before we hit the trail for the trucks …


… where we took the obligatory group shot. Back row from left: Damon, Mike, Kyla, Sophia, Dustin, Casey, Chase, Grace, Chalen, Sam, Mark and Jake. Front row from left: Tom, Connie, Kathe, Tif and MK.

We really can’t say “thank you” too many times. Mike, Tom and Connie won’t be joining us for the second day of work, but the students, Kathe, Tif and MK will return along with a couple of wildland firefighters Kathe conned encouraged to come.

Big country

22 05 2013


Seven at home on his range.

Maiku framed

2 04 2013

Maiku against the unnamed promontory.

Maiku, well-framed by the unnamed promontory, one of Spring Creek Basin’s dominant landmarks.

He and the rest of the band were watching David walk to water in the distance. David is alone since losing Shadow and Puzzle to Seven, but he looks like he’s doing just fine.