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A couple of good looking bachelor stallions. Piceance-East Douglas HMA, Colorado (12/2016)

Photos are for viewing purposes only. Most images are available online 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.

While not exclusively horses, I thought I’d share some images from the southwestern area of Colorado where Tom and I just spent 10 days.

Our first stops were the Monte Vista and Alamosa National Wildlife Refuges.

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The brightly colored Yellow Headed Blackbird

Ruddy Duck

A Coot youngster

An American Avocet

Ain't I something? πŸ™‚

First thing next morning, we were on our way to spend the day on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad – America’s highest and longest coal fired, steam operated, narrow-gauge railroad. Cool! I’ve been on the Durango Silverton and the Georgetown Loop, but this was my first time on this train. Our adventure began in Antonito, CO and ended in Chama, NM with a lunch stop in Osier, CO. Loved it and what a wonderful fall trip this would be!

Our mighty little engine

Making last checks before heading out

Blow out!

Known as the Speeder, this little car hangs back and follows the train to put out any cinders that may hit the ground thus preventing a fire.

Indian pictograph along the route - gotta be quick to catch this. The train doesn't slow down! πŸ™‚

Los Pinos River valley

During our ride, we met a young family from Ohio; Ryan, Carrie and Aiden. Ryan is a railroad buff and had been on a section of the route once before. He explained quite a bit about the mechanics, history, etc. of trains and when he remembered a particularly scenic or dramatic scene along the way, he always alerted me. Thanks Ryan! πŸ™‚

Hi Ryan!

Aiden spent most of the day on the observation car (as did I - I have cinders in my camera sensor to prove it). The red booster step was his constant companion.

Our lunch stop - Osier, CO. The train from Chama, NM (going the opposite direction) is already there.

The Chama train departing Osier and heading towards Antonito, CO

At the Cumbres Pass Summit (10,022 ft), we are greeted by a guy and his dog on an ATV. Hi!

Last blow out before coming into the Chama station

End of the line - Chama, NM (we rode the bus back to Antonito).

What a great day – a bit sunburned and windburned (but not bad) with a few cinders in the teeth and eyes (trophies – HA!), but so worth the incredible views. I’ll be back!

I’ll also be going back to Stunner Pass just to the SW of Antonito, CO. A bit high, but very doable (especially if you come from the southern side – you’re up against mountain the majority of the time) and absolutely gorgeous scenery. We camped one night just below the summit. Just a perfect trip. And did I mention something about it being GORGEOUS?! πŸ™‚

The pass follows the Conejos River for quite a ways.

We ran into these guys on the road in the little town of Platoro, CO along our route. My kind of place!

Looking back on Platoro

Summitville, CO

This was both a gold and silver mining location

Something old, something new

Lots of really pretty runoff streams along the way

Approaching the summit

So peaceful

And there's still snow up there! πŸ™‚

At the end of the drive, we found ourselves just west of South Fork. We weren’t sure where we’d end up, but this worked out well since our next destination was Creede, CO.

Downtown Creede

There's a loop you can follow just north of town that takes you to some of the old mines and buildings.

More streams...

We took a road we'd never been on and ended up at the Last Chance Mine. It's location is not for the faint of heart. It sits on a cliff edge and it's about a 2000 foot drop. Gulp!

It’s a very intesting setup and history however. You can find out more about it on their website: Last Chance Mine

They rent cabins for donations (again, cliffy, high locations), there’s a museum and it’s the home of Creede’s Amethyst Vein (my favorite stone). If we’d had more time, maybe I would have tried my hand at “mining” (also part of the activities available).

Some of the items attached to the outside of one of the cabins.

This sits out over the cliff - I will never have to go that bad!

And so does this deck. Sitting out there is one brave individual.

You can see this as you leave the Last Chance Mine.

Looking down at Creede

We stayed just west of Creede at Freemon’s Ranch and enjoyed a horseback ride along the river and into the foothills. The folks there are very nice and next door is their little store that they claim has the best burgers and ice cream around. We tried both and they may be on to something. πŸ™‚

Hi cowboy! πŸ™‚

We spent another day just driving around enjoying the sights and critters around Creede and Spring Creek Pass.

North Clear Creek Falls

Cow moose and calf

Chippy with his face stuffed in a dandelion (see all the seeds spread all over?). I have a whole series of images with this little guy. He was too much fun to watch.

Our state flower - the Columbine.

I just love these colors.

And, a very curious marmot shared his home with me for a bit.

My follow-up post to this trip (Part Two) will include some more incredible Colorado locations as well as many horses. πŸ™‚

Photos are for viewing purposes only. 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.

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Last weekend, we were back at Piceance Creek/East Douglas for a quick trip to see the horses. While there, we met up with new friend and fellow wild horse lover, Rachel Reeves (she is too much fun – thanks for joining us Rachel!). Not far into the HMA, we came upon some horses and got out to photograph.

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Bachelor stallions

Hi Rachel! πŸ™‚

While we were out, I kept hearing screams – youngster screams. After the bachelors moved off, I tried to determine where the calls were coming from. And then I spotted them. I asked Rachel if she was game for photographing something other than horses for a minute and of course, she was.

This was a good location for these baby red-tailed hawks. I couldn’t safely climb up from any angle.

Aren’t they amazing? Momma hawk buzzed us a few times, so we didn’t stay long, but finding these guys made me think about some of the other wildlife Tom and I have seen while in search of the wild horses. So, I thought I’d share some of those images with you just for fun. The ranges have so much to offer and the variety of wildlife is part of the appeal. I don’t know exactly what all of these creatures are, so I will give only location if I’m not certain and maybe some of you can fill in the blanks.

In no particular order and certainly not fully representative of what’s out there. πŸ™‚

Close enough to the Piceance Creek HMA to include, a family of bald eagles.

The little eaglet calls out to its parents

Pryor Mountain HMA in Montana

Handheld image taken with a long lens very early morning - so not crystal clear - of a black bear. Pryor Mountains, MT

Lucky dragonfly - Big Horn Canyon - Pryor Mountains, MT

Toad. Not sure what kind. Big Horn Canyon, Pryor Mtns, MT

Turkey vulture - Big Horn Canyon, Pryor Mtns., MT

Horned lark - McCullough Peaks HMA near Cody, WY

Desert cottontail - McCullough Peaks HMA, WY

Pronghorn - Green Mtn HMA, Wyoming

Sage grouse - Green Mtn HMA, WY

Elk - White Mountain HMA near Rock Springs, WY

Meadowlark - White Mountain HMA, WY

Killdeer - Salt Wells HMA, WY

Badger - Salt Wells HMA, WY

Pronghorn - Salt Wells HMA, WY

Mule deer - Adobe Town HMA, WY

I have no idea what these little guys are (Meadow lark?), but they were so well camouflaged that I almost stepped on them! McCullough Peaks HMA, WY

Baby birds - McCullough Peaks HMA, WY

MacGillvray’s warbler - Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA, CO

Bull snake - McCullough Peaks HMA, WY

Chipmunk - Chippy. They're all chippies to me. πŸ™‚ Red Desert , WY

Bluebird - Fifteen Mile HMA, WY

Grasshopper - Red Desert, WY

Coyote - Fifteen Mile HMA, WY

Dragonfly - Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA, CO

Duck - Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA, CO

Shackleford Banks, Outer Banks, NC

A little bird hitchhiking on the back of a Banker pony (which they are sometimes called). Shackleford Banks, Outer Banks, NC

Shackleford Banks, Outer Banks, NC

Shackleford Banks, Outer Banks, NC

Chippy - Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA, CO

Lizard - Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA, CO

Horned toad - McCullough Peaks HMA, WY

Corolla, Outer Banks, NC

Corolla - Outer Banks, NC

North Carolina deer - Corolla, Outer Banks, NC

Corolla, Outer Banks, NC

Geese - Corolla, Outer Banks, NC

Carrot Island - Outer Banks, NC

I have no idea what kind of bird, but they sang beautifully and had a mud nest close to the red-tailed hawks. Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA, CO

At the entrance to the mud nest. Piceance Creek HMA, CO

Proximity of the mud nest to the hawk's nest - Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA, CO

Location and view of the mud nest. Coyotes were yipping in the valley while I took these pictures. Very eerie since their voices echoed all around me.

Brewer's Blackbird - Fifteen Mile HMA, WY

Some kind of ground squirrel - Piceance Creek/East Douglas HMA, CO

Jerusalem cricket - Salt Wells HMA, WY.

Burrowing owl - Sand Wash Basin HMA, CO

Robins bathing - Pryor Mtn HMA, MT

Golden eagle - Adobe Town HMA, WY

Red-tailed hawk - Adobe Town HMA, WY

Bighorn ram - Little Book Cliffs HMA, CO

Northern Shrike - Fifteen Mile HMA, WY

Rattlesnake - Sand Wash Basin HMA, CO

Prairie falcon - Dishpan Butte HMA, WY

Solitary sandpiper - Great Divide Basin HMA, WY

Marmot - Pryor Mtn HMA, MT

Jackrabbit - McCullough Peaks HMA, WY

Cottontail - Sand Wash Basin HMA, CO

Pronghorn babies - McCullough Peaks HMA, WY

While I love and admire all the wildlife, the only reason I have any of these photos to share with you is because I went out specifically to see the wild horses. They are the main attraction. They are my passion, my inspiration and they are what draws me out to these remote and remarkable locations.

Photos are for viewing purposes only. 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.

The β€œEmail Subscription” link automatically alerts you to new posts. Stay updated and subscribe today!

Wild horse prints, DVDs, totes, cards, apparel and more: www.NickolesPhotography.com

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