March 25, 2009
Our first wild horse trip of the year couldn’t have been much better. We visited The Little Book Cliffs just outside of Grand Junction, CO. We were fortunate that Billie Hutchings (who has the “Wild Horses of the Little Book Cliffs-Billie’s Space” blog) offered to show us where the horses winter in the lower canyons near Cameo. Tom and I left home around 4:30 a.m. on Saturday morning (wanted to beat the ski traffic) and arrived at the range just about 9:00 a.m. where Billie was waiting for us. The weather was perfect. In the 70′s with a slight breeze. It doesn’t get much better than that for hiking.
The first horses we came across were Spin, a Palomino colored stallion and his mare Fish.
Spin was quite entertaining throughout the day as he dashed down the side of the canyon, sparred with band stallion Magnum and later, stole one of Magnum’s mares and her foal. All within a span of 5 hours!
All the activity probably made Spin thirsty – he and Fish headed down to the creek.
We saw a total of 4 bands – Spin’s, Magnum’s, Diamond Rio’s and Laramie’s (who I’m told is the most photographed horse on the range. Well, he was pretty cooperative and could strike a lovely pose).
I marveled at what I saw the horses eating. What looked like prickly sagebrush! I don’t know how they got around the barbs, but they seemed to enjoy the new green on the bushes. Amazing what they can get by on. I thought all of the horses looked pretty good.
We were also lucky enough to see a small herd of Bighorn sheep. A ram and 2 ewes. The ram had a crippled rear leg, but he seemed to get along just fine despite the handicap. It’s amazing what animals can learn to adapt to.
I could certainly tell by the next day that we’d hadn’t had a wild horse adventure in much too long (since last September). After climbing up and down and hiking all around that range area, my feet and calves were pretty dang sore! Hopefully, we’ll be able to go more regularly and I’ll once again become accustomed to the long (painfree!) walks into the horse ranges that I enjoy so much.
At least I was able to relax and recover not far from the horse range at “Nick’s B&B” in Whitewater. That’s how we describe my father-in-law’s place. He spoils us each time we come over so it’s always a treat to visit him.
There are many more images that I took while at The Little Book Cliffs. I hope to have them posted on my website soon.
Thank you Billie for sharing your horses, knowledge and time with Tom and I. It was so much fun to go with someone who has such a connection to the area and the wild horses that live there.