September 2018 Mustangs
September 2018 Journal
Wrapped up our Oregon 5 HMA mustang camping trip with friend Alice McCammon. We covered Palomino Butte, Stinkingwater, Kiger, Warm Springs, and Steens.
Woke up to rain at 4:30 the last morning, sure glad we opted out of sleeping in the open last night. Stopped raining in time for breakfast and packing up camp. The rains are much needed out here this time of year following a hot dry summer, although all the horses are in great shape in the ranges we covered, some we’d say even on the portly side- especially the Warm Springs HMA. Water sources are naturally low but not unusually so this time of year. Main water sources we’ve seen are adequate, but rain is always welcome when it happens here in the high desert.
The horses look great minus aged and lactating mares- we have three very aged old mares on the Steens (one old mare - Mercedes - was born in 1994) nursing new foals who are showing their age as typical in their top line and hips. The rest are pretty much in exceptional weight. One 2 week old foal belonging to aged mare Noelle, looks a bit frail, but all hope he continues to grow and gain strength. The rest of the herds we saw in the different HMAs looked ready for winter.
The rains will push up some much needed greens for those old souls.
We went over 20 miles- east to west on Warm Springs. Shallow water holes this time of year were dry as they usually are, but main water sources were fairly descent. We found 12 horses- 3 bands- one with 7 horses, one w 3, and one with 2 (bachelors). Each one healthy some even a little too healthy lol. One mare had a foal just a few days old. Although we found 12 horses out of an estimated 800- but it’s so huge- about 747 square miles, we just couldn’t cover it all and certainly missed some- but looking as far as the eye can see in all directions- pretty ominously empty this range felt- how huge.... the tumbleweeds with little dust devils crossing our path, felt like a ghost town.
We got back to camp at dark and tired, but all that forgotten when we looked up and saw countless stars, heard lots of crickets, and the quaking aspen in the night breezes. Warm in my sleeping bag heard the coyote desert lullaby as my signal for sleep.
Busy long days on the mustang ranges, on the go from sun up to sundown, traveling back after dark makes for late suppers. Being tired and hungry made us all the more grateful for food and sleeping bags. As mentioned, the mustangs look good this late into the season, the ranges sure could use the rain of course, but will sustain them until then. My favorite wake-up alarm this trip, was the interesting sound of soft crunching... wriggled my way to the top of my sleeping bag and looked to see what it was and it was the sweet sound of a family of mule deer happily munching on the fallen yellow heart-shaped aspen leaves right by us.
Another little camp family was less quiet and inconspicuous. One evening, our camp was raided by a family of raccoons. They even tried climbing in the truck when we were eating dinner, could hear them trying to climb it into the back where our sleeping bags were. In the middle of the night, buried deep in my bag, I could hear and see them busily going about their business looking for left over viddles. Adorable seeing them by moonlight, the little masked bandits they are. Less thrilled when we were woken up several times to their clammering with our stuff, trying to pry open lids to get into the food, but we had it all well secured. Even funnier as we watched them move to other camp sights and seeing brooms and flashlights sending them on their way. They successfully raided the big burly hunter’s cookie stash. One left a perfect little paw print on my cooler that I have left there.
Journal in progress, please check back.
Keep the wild in our west!
Keep MM roaming: www.roamwildfund.com
PO Box 785
Lebanon, OR 97355
Keywords:American, HMA, Mustang Meg, Oregon, SE, Steens, black, chestnut, cremellos, east, horse, horses, mustang, mustangs, paints, perlino, pintos, roan, running, sorrel, south, sunrise, sunset, walking, white, wild, wild horses