El Mariachi & Hope – February, 2011 (Part 2)

March 13, 2011

Just a few days before we were to leave on our trip to Arizona, I found out that a Facebook buddy of mine was going to be in Tucson at the same time we were. I had the privilege of being with Aleta when she saw her very first wild horses in Sand Wash Basin, CO, we both attended a wild horse event featuring Michael Blake and Ginger Kathrens and a wild horse rally in Boulder, CO. So of course (with Michael’s permission) I asked her if she’d like to come out to the ranch while she was in town.

(Click on the images for a larger/sharper views)

Aleta with Shelby

Aleta brought her cousin Amy with her (also a horse person). Little Boy clearly thinks she's found the right spot to scratch.

Aleta with Little Boy


Gypsy (on the right) nuzzles Smudge who is a bit uneasy with us in the paddock.

We headed out to the arena to watch El Mariachi and Hope for a bit before they decided they needed some space and raced out to the rest of the property.

Respecting the horse’s wishes, we let them be and went up to Wolf House to visit with Michael. Always gracious and generous, Michael spent some time visiting with us before taking us all down to his studio. There he shared stories that went with some of the many photos and posters on the walls, signed books and shared some tracks from one of his CD’s. I think a good time was had by all. 🙂

After some lunch with Aleta and Amy in town (thanks you guys!), Tom and I went back to the ranch and just hung out. We put the wild ones up for the afternoon and let the rest of the horses out.

Gypsy and Smudge



Before we knew it, it was time for the evening feeding. Michael had told me that El Mariachi has an affection for carrots, so I tossed one out for him while Tom was getting the other horses fed. Though he hesitated to accept my gesture, the carrot proved too tempting. 🙂

El Mariachi and Hope are more comfortable with us if we’re sitting in the car, so we parked near their stall just to watch them eat for a while before calling it a night.

Dark clouds again, but still no rain.

Bright and early the next day, we left the ranch to meet up with a couple more Facebook buddies. We’d met Cindy and Jacky on a previous visit. We piled them into the car at the meet spot and drove on to the Phoenix area where we were going to pick up Karen, a wonderful painter.

Karen showed us around her place where we met her dogs and horses before she took us out to one of the areas she draws her inspiration from. I was ready for a nice hike to see more of the Arizona desert, but what we got was quite the adventure!

Our guide, Karen McLain

Dry wash area

That's Karen in a forested area that made young Jacky feel like she was in a Harry Potter movie. 🙂

It was beautiful and interesting terrain. I could see why Karen liked it out there.

Cindy spotted this tree with a cactus growing on it.

Yup, getting pretty dark - just after I took this photo, the sky opened up on us.

Okay, so we’ll get a little wet. No big deal. We’ll just tuck our cameras inside our coats. Surely it wouldn’t rain that long. Afterall, Arizona is so dry. HA!

We got pummelled as rain turned into hail!

On our return hike, the ground turned into little streams and the trail became a slippery mess, especially as we went up and down some washes. I was pulling up the rear and had just told Tom to be careful when his legs went out from under him and from one direction to the next. With arms flailing, he somehow managed to stay upright, but joked about feeling like he had just performed something you’d see in a cartoon. We both laughed – Tom was grateful I was the only one who’d witnessed his gymnastics.

When we finally got back to the car, the need to document this event took over and I snapped this photo of our drenched companions – my little point and shoot hasn’t worked properly since.

L-R: Jacky, Cindy, Karen and Tom.

We were soaked – I mean completely SOAKED – and we were all still smiling and joking. My kind of folks. Karen suggested that despite our condition and appearance, we should get some lunch. And so we did. What a sight we were. Wet and cold, we sat there chatting away. Water was still dripping off my pony-tail and down my back. Brrr… Still, a good time because of the cheerful company.

We said our good-byes to Karen and pointed the car towards Tucson with the heater blasting (there was short stop at Target for some warm socks for Jacky). 🙂

We dropped off Cindy and Jacky and continued south. Despite how it turned out, we had spent the day with some great people and shared an adventure we would all remember for quite a while.

As Tom and I made our way to the ranch, we were treated to this rainbow. What a fitting final photo.

Part 3 (the final chapter) to follow…

Part One of this series: https://nickolesphotography.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/el-mariachi-hope-february-2011-part-1/

Part Three of this series: https://nickolesphotography.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/el-mariachi-hope-february-2011-part-3/

(Photos are for viewing purposes only. Images are copyright protected and owned solely by Pam Nickoles Photography. No reproduction or downloading permitted. Feel free to share the link, not the images. To share, click on the blog entry title. The permanent link will be displayed in your browser’s address bar. Copy this address to share.)


15 Responses to “El Mariachi & Hope – February, 2011 (Part 2)”

  1. puller9 Says:

    Ha! Ha! That old willow surely looked like the ‘Whomping Willow’ of Harry Potter. How cool about the cactus in the tree. Courtesy of a bird I suppose. What a great adventure! Thanks so much for sharing with everyone.

  2. Helen Ellis Says:

    Thank you for being so kind, caring and a credit to the human race. Thank you also for allowing us to read and view your wonderful experiences and horses xx

  3. sandra longley Says:

    Mariachi rainbows and hope kisses, and happy to know Marachi still sees himself as wild and free!

  4. TJ Says:

    Fantastic! What cool trees where Karen took you! Amazing country – and love that rainbow at the end. Just love how phenomenal all the horses look at Michael’s – so loved and cared for. Can’t believe El Mariachi has developed a “sweet tooth” for carrots – isn’t that something!

  5. Karen Says:

    Thank you Pam for documenting our adventure! It sure was great to meet you, Tom and Cindy and Jacky. It was a real treat for me to take you out to some place that is so special. I really appreciated everyone’s good humor and willingness for adventure despite the drenching we got! I look forward to doing it again when we don’t have quite so much excitement!
    El Mariachi and Hope are thriving, and the rainbow was beautiful!

  6. Jan Says:

    GOSH, he looks great, Pam…all of them look so healthy and loved. Looks like El pushed that carrot around a bit, remembering your scent (in my humble opinion!), before munching it. Good! Next time he’ll take it right from you (again, IMHO, and hoping!)

    Sounds like a wonderful visit with your Boy and his Buds…and your soggy friends – OH MY, what a day!!!!

    Looking forward to Part 3! And hoping that when you say “final”, you’re just meaning the final chapter of that visit.

    ~ Jan

  7. Joanne S. Kilduff Says:

    Great story and photos. Thank you for sharing!!

  8. Karen Says:

    The horses look beautiful and healthy….I love that Tomas…after all the news of Japan…his face is a bright spot:)

  9. Beautiful photos, as always. And fantastic to both see and read that the horse are doing so Fine! Thank You so much for sharing!

  10. Janet Ferguson Says:

    Until Puller9 called that a willow tree, I was thinking it was an osage-orange. We have several ancient osage orange trees in our yard (3 acres). The knarled look, thick trunks and multiple trunks make for a truly enchanted – looking tree, and is a real little ecosystem for many animas, insects and birds and more. I understand they are native to Texas, and were planted to be used as fencerows/hedges to keep boundaries secure. The osage-orange migrated or was brought to Missouri from there from what I have read. The willows look very similar to our MO osage, but the osage we have are 80-120 feet tall and almost as wide, counting the multiple trunks. Maybe the wind and conditions there in Karen’s enchanted forest create a similar-looking willow.

    Thanks for sharing this busy adventure and the rainbow!

  11. Margaret Says:

    Pam do you think Mariachi and Hope would mind another auntie? Or maybe I should ask you if I could be an honorary auntie first!!!!

    I guess from the first time I saw Mariachi I saw just how handsome he is. And Hope is so pretty.

    Those amazing photos of AZ are beautiful. No wonder your friend takes so much inspiration from the area.

    I can hardly wait for part 3.

  12. Maggie Frazier Says:

    What a great time you all had – sure is nice to have friends like that!
    Horses look great – happy & healthy.
    Love seeing the pictures & reading all the great posts from everyone.

  13. […] https://nickolesphotography.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/el-mariachi-hope-february-2011-part-2/ Posted in Wild Horses | 121 Comments »Tags: "Twelve The King", 3-Strikes Ranch, Alliance Nebraska, BLM, BLM adoption, BLM gather, BLM roundup, Bureau of Land Management, Dances With Wolves, El Mariachi, International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros, Karen Sussman, Michael Blake, Morrill County Nebraska, Mustang rescue, Nebraska horse rescue, Nebraska Mustang rescue, Nebraska Mustangs, Pam Nickoles, Pam Nickoles Photography, White Mountain HMA, wild horse legislation, wild horse protection, wild horse sanctuary, Wild Horses Like2 bloggers like this post. […]

  14. laurie Says:

    Nice work…thanks for documenting these amazing creatures.

  15. suzanne o'meara Says:

    adorable .

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