Piceance Creek/Sand Wash Basin trip – 4/12

May 17, 2012

I find myself pretty much unable to write detailed trip posts anymore. The time it takes to edit, compile, size and load the images and write the text is just more than I can seem to put together right now. So, most of our adventures remain unpublished. Of course I imposed this “rule” of getting at least one whole day or weekend, etc. (and in sequence) on myself. I think it’s a good time to throw away that standard and just bring smaller chapters more often and maybe not in order. No one would have a problem with that would they? After all, I’d rather get some things shared than nothing at all. Change can be good, so I’ll run with it…

It had been since last September since Tom and I found ourselves in the horse ranges. Much too long to go without the horses. On this trip, we were bringing someone along with us. It would be her first time to see the wild horses, so we knew there was a definite possibility this could be a life-changing adventure we were about to embark on.

A little background. Through a friend’s recommendation (thanks Rene!), I had taken my gelding (Gold) to a specialist for a final evaluation and treatment before deciding whether or not to put him into training after a lengthy injury. At Diane’s clinic ( Elemental Equine Services) my boy received chiropractic, accupuncture and dental work. Both Tom and I were impressed with the time and care she took. (I’m happy to report that Gold is doing well in training). Through another friend that was working with Diane, a conversation about wild horses came up and Aleta gave Diane my name. Interesting timing, since I had just been out to see Diane (I love the way life can line things up that way). Anyway, we started e-mailing about the wild ones, I asked her if she’d like to go out to the range sometime and a date was set.

We headed for the Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA near Meeker, CO. It would be our first time back since the roundup. I had spent a lot of time at Piceance last summer. I wondered what horses I’d see and who I would recognize. I knew my favorite stallion “Handsome” had been re-released, so I was really hoping to find him.

We drove to the “pasture” area, but saw no horses and very little sign. This had been a place where you could almost always find horses. Tom and I were a little shocked by the absence of horses. We continued north for just a bit and came across a horse. Not just any horse mind you – it was Handsome! There to greet us on our first trip of the year and to introduce Diane to the magic of the wild ones. So cool! He looked good, but he was alone except for a group of cows nearby. I’ve never seen him alone, so his circumstances were new and strange, but hopefully not permanent. It was just so good to see him and be able to share my favorite boy with Diane. What an initiation to the wild horses!

Handsome! 🙂

Hello boy.

Diane getting a good look at Handsome.

Handsome stuck around for a while and then decided to make his exit. We just watched him float off into the sage. What an awesome sight.

Being out in the horses ranges again feels like breathing fully. It’s just good for the soul. I don’t know how else to put it. It’s just everything that feels good. 🙂

What a great start to our adventure. We decided to drive over to the beautiful area near Cathedral Bluffs. A couple miles up the road, I caught something out of the corner of my eye and there to our left, more horses under the shade of the trees.

He blends in so well – almost becoming part of the tree.

There appeared to be two bands separated by a fence. All but one were stallions. They were surprisingly tolerant as we observed them.

Another stallion.

So alert. Love him.

And there are some pretty young ones in the bachelor band.

Kind looking boy.

We stayed with this group for quite a while before continuing up the road towards Cathedral Bluffs…

Part Two of the trip can be viewed at the link below:

Photos are for viewing purposes only. Most images available for purchase at: http://www.NickolesPhotography.com. Images by Pam Nickoles Photography, along with all site content are copyright protected and owned solely by Pam Nickoles Photography. Photos and/or text may not be used, downloaded or reproduced in any form without express written permission from Pam Nickoles Photography. Feel free to share, but please respect my copyright.

17 Responses to “Piceance Creek/Sand Wash Basin trip – 4/12”

  1. TJ Says:

    Great write-up about your recent adventure and *handsome* horses, to boot! Where DOES the time go?! Glad you were able to get back out to see the horses!

  2. Linda Ha Says:

    We relish whatever you post Pam! Thank you for your insight and your eye on these beautiful horses. And yes, Handsome is so handsome!

  3. Diane Wagner Says:

    This was definitely a life-changing event for me! Pam – you knew what you were doing… I am totally addicted to the magic of the wild horses now! You got some gorgeous photos of the blacks in the trees 🙂 and Handsome just lights up the screen regardless of the background or lighting. Thank you for taking me 🙂

  4. Beautiful! Handsome is definitely a looker… I just love those grays, and what a gorgeous gait he has. And I think you’re absolutely right… nobody will mind shorter updates, or out of sequence, or whatever else… you just write and share what you want, when you want to! We’ll be here to read. 🙂

  5. Grandma Gregg Says:

    These are all MAGNIFICENT stallions and it is so so wrong that their families are gone and that any chance of them getting new families is slim since last years capture. None the less, I am glad to see that at least these can live out their lives as nature intended and thank you very much for sharing their gleaming glory with those of us who always look forward to your photos and stories. I genuinely thank you … but with much sadness for our wild ones.

  6. Arlyn LaBair Says:

    beautiful photos! As a friend of both Diane and Aleta, I was very excited that Diane got to travel with you. I was up there last Oct and look forward to returning in August or the range clean-up! Arlyn

  7. Kim Michels Says:

    Great images Pam! I’m longing to be out on the range with my camera.

  8. I know what you mean about ‘breathing fully’. The wild ones do that to you. I also feel that way as I plumb the depths of our local woodlands. Pam, we’re happy with ANYTHING you post on the ranges you are able to get to!!! You are correct, these are some gorgeous stallions. Love the guy with the ‘mustache’.

  9. arlene Says:

    Again as always Pam , You capture the beauty that belongs Free on the Range !!!!

  10. Maggie Frazier Says:

    Whatever & whenever you can send these pictures & write, they will always be appreciated – I only wish I could be out there to actually see them “in person” – but thanks for being my eyes & letting me know there still are SOME wild ones there.
    Its so sad they dont seem to have their families anywhere around. Certainly seem to be plenty of cattle tho>>>>
    Thanks to the BLM etc.
    Thank you again, Pam
    Always look forward to your pictures so much.

  11. Judith E Smullen Says:

    “Handsome” indeed! What a gorgeous fellow — but then I look at the next batch, and they’re as beautiful. Thank you so much, Pam, for your artistry and commentaries.

    I echo my cousin above — always look forward to them!


  12. Linda Says:

    Pam, Thank you for getting so many of the Blood Bays, I have to say they are my favorites. Once again you have outdone yourself with photos and once again I sit here kleenex in hand looking and drooling…oooops..messy messy…lol

  13. pnickoles Says:

    I have no idea how so much time passes between trips TJ, but I was certainly in need of a wild horse fix! 🙂

    Thanks Linda!

    Diane, it was our privilege to take you. Just so glad you got to go and witness their magic for yourself. I hope we’ll be able to do it again yet this season. 🙂

  14. pnickoles Says:

    Thanks so much for your kind words and support Mackenzie and Grandma Gregg.

    Thanks for your comments and for stopping by Arlyn. 🙂

    I hope you’re able to get out to the ranges soon Kim. I know it had been too long for me as well.

    Thank you Puller. It means a lot that you comment and care. 🙂

    Thanks Arlene – that’s my goal. 🙂

  15. pnickoles Says:

    Thank you Maggie – I wish you could get out yourself to see these magical horses someday. And, I appreciate your support.

    Thank you Judy. Yea, I always say I have favorites, but I truly love them all. 🙂

    HA – glad I found some of those bays you love Linda. The color of my first mare, so I love them too. 🙂

    Thanks everyone!!

  16. Amy Says:

    I’ve been out of the loop- my only internet access is via my cell phone so when it was on the Fritz, I had to wait for a replacement, etc. So, I’m trying to catch up. LOVE the almost magical blue light that shines through on several of the shots. It’s as if they are emitting a healing energy or spectral vibration. So cool!!! (Literally)

  17. akash Says:


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