Alice and I starting the trip fresh and with a spring in our steps, exploring a different part of a different Herd Management Area- the Stinkingwater HMA in SE Oregon. We then traveled to our regular HMA the SS where we photo-document the mustangs out there. 1801 images registered on my phone screen and also some vid clips.
Trail weary and weather-beaten we came out of the range... much differently. Alice always beautiful and cheery... Me... lots of wind-knots, sunburns, and mosquito bites.
90/50 for the high/low temps the first two days and 80/40's for the temps the last two days. The fierce wind at night made us weary of the potential of wildfires from camp sights as we were in the wind trajectory from some a few miles away north of us. The last two nights the wind-chill made us shiver in our bedrolls and the last night ate dinner in the truck's cab.
On this first day we went through a severe thunderstorm with warnings issued and the computer radar also showed the specific cell we had to get through, had a potential tornado signature- a meso-cyclone. We watched this monster develop from a relatively small cell to an impressive storm which grew and expanded quickly. That happened a couple hours after this pic, almost had to pull over with torrential downpour and 60 mph winds (per anticipated warnings), once back on the road, and at one point thought we blew a tire, but possibly hit by lightning as the boom was deafening, the truck shook, and we felt a vibration through our seats.
Camping out on the range sipping coffee and getting gear ready for the day and something tuned into the mustang radar. Didn't see anything just a sea of hills and valleys before us and the expanse of the west below the flank of the mountain. Fairly sure I thought I may have heard something.
Kicked back the coffee and grabbed gear. Possible goose chase.. errr horse, that is LOL but what the heck, my radar was locked on the direction. We crossed a deep valley and up a steep hill between rocks, and this time in the morning we were rather aware of snakes who like to come out to warm up and sun themselves. Carefully picking our way over the rocks and between boulders. Got to the top of the hill- and nothing, and began feeling bad I dragged my friend on this elevated hunch... or perhaps wishful thought.
Started heading down hill and spots of brilliant color began moving in the morning sun before us- the backs of moving and grazing horses... colorful Ranger band, grazing and swishing tails. There they were. The band was making their way east up the mountainside, stopping to graze every once in a while. We sat down and just took the colors in. The band would look at us, and move on with their grazing. They are fairly familiar with photographers and remain relaxed, going about their business.
The band moved on, but saw something little and white and colorful in the wildflowers. A foal deep asleep- so asleep he didn't realize the band moved on. But even farther beyond the sleeping baby was another solitary mustang, standing there and watching. The foal was Cayuse's 2021. I put my glass on this solitary horse to riddle the situation.
It was a stallion, and he began walking toward the sleeping baby. Looking closer, and I could see it was the Ranger band's 2018 young stallion Spirit- Laylas's offspring. This far out from the band and it became immediately clear he's being pushed out of the band by the stallions and staying well away from them, beyond the chasing point of one of the three powerful stallions- Ranger the band stallion, and Achak and Rango- both buddies and both Lieutenants to Ranger- a firewall to the band, and it was decided that it was time for this maturing 3-year old to be on his own.
Spirit walked up to the Cayuse colt and woke him up. The bewildered baby got up with a start and looked around assessing- realizing he was all by himself without his mother and the rest of the band. He got up fast and started the "clacking" behavior (chomping upper and lower teeth together) to the young stallion, a signal youngsters give to other mature horses that they are just babies. Rango from the band looked back and saw this and ran back to chase off Spirit and retrieve the colt, taking him back to the band.
Wild weather, colorful mustangs and wildflowers, another epic adventure.
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My recent interview about the mustangs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&fbclid=IwAR2Rx3x0V0wKvnskGQDdWWRFAmqsJGeyByA6KBtcFpMEMMR0nC3f7Rp1UBI&v=-p0HgsjwYFU&feature=youtu.be
The storm weather radar and our location, we were sent: Here is the radar image of the storm and about where we were relative to it.. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=337956264357085&set=a.337376297748415
Keywords:American, Mustang Meg, Mustangs, Oregon, SE, colts, east, fillies, foals, horses, mares, pintos, south, stallions, wild, wild