Only 1,117 images and vid clips but this second trip was a bit more relaxed and no extended day-long hikes which we usually do as we had friends with us visiting from the east coast … more of a sight-seeing trip. But that’s not to say we didn’t see wild horses- still had some amazing moments with the mustangs as well.
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Range Report *Forage - Range is in full grass growth mode with lots of green everywhere and a variety of wildflowers. Some areas fairly sparse as expected lower on the mountain and in areas with high underground volcanic rock content but overall forage is good. *Water- In Oregon water levels seem adequate at present. We also visited a couple other OR HMAs nw and ne of Steens (Palomino Butte and Stinkingwater) and main/obvious water-source are also good. On Steens, a couple weeks back we hiked between main water sources and found small pockets of waterholes here and there we didn't know existed, and rather surprised. Compared to other states, Oregon seems to be fairing well in terms of water sources on the range at this time. While I'm not a hydrologist, but I do enjoy learning about earth processes, and we've been observing one particular and seasonal watering spot (along the tourist, aka 'hollywood' section of the HMA) since 1994 and in various seasons. It's a particularly shallow depression right along the main south loop road visible to the public and in times of plentiful rain collects water. Its dry, and some may find it worrisome, however there are two close-by main sources to the south and north of it and they are filled as usual and to date have been dry (knock on wood). This particular and highly visible seasonal catch basin along the main road is superficial and shallow and not a consistent source, and with the ongoing drought out west when its filled its the exception and not the rule. Over the years we've seen it both full, but also dry. It's become a terrific barometer indicating recent and more heavy precipitation in the area and it takes an unusual amount of sustained or torrential rain events, or succession of rainstorms to fill it. Storms like that are not the norm in this region of Oregon this time of year. But we all love it when it's filled bc it brings the mustangs there where it's easy access and can see the horses from the road. The local 'hollywood' horses love it as it's in a favored grazing area, as well as near a natural mineral pocket on the mountainside. The trip: We stopped at Palomino Butte HMA on the way and saw a few bands. But most of our time was on the South Steens, two weeks prior we also visited the Stinkingwater HMA during a thunderstorm and found a small band of water standing in a full waterhole on that range. Back on the Steens: We saw Amado's big sorrel mare Aamiyah with a new pinto foal. Thrilled to see Survivor snoozing near several family bands. We also saw Azec, Yellow boy band, Navajo, Tuaro, and and Merlot. The Remington/Caesar band we counted 24! We had friends join Alice and I who live on the east coast, and were prepared for possibly not finding the mustangs with temps in the 90's. They've been coming out with us one time a year since 2018, when the gal with us, Donna, named HalfMoon's 2018 colt- Firefly. Well on the first night of this trip, guess who comes prancing in all his grown glory... Firefly! He and bachelor buddies came running down out of the hills to the waterhole we were next to, and she got to see him as a three year old- grown up and looking grand. Needless to say, she was delighted. Firefly is a buckskin pinto with one blue eye and she loves him. Her other favorite has been Jack, and we scanned the southern hills, but sadly no. He hasn't been seen for over a year now. Survivor is growing beautifully, staying outside some of the family bands, and sometimes hanging out with another bachelor. A thrill to see him after long last. Besides mustangs we did some sight-seeing. After numerous years of Alice saying that we really need to take the time and visit the historic Riddle Brothers ranch, we finally just did it, and glad we did. It was like stepping through a time capsule, imagining how they lived back in the early 1900’s. It was a cattle and horse ranch near the mountain’s summit on the west side of glacial-carved valleys. Green valleys, blue skies, wildflowers, songbirds and butterflies filled our eyes, along with old farm implements, period antiques, hand-hewn wood and old artifacts. If I remember right, the ranch annually produced 150,000 tons of hay. Walking in the old homestead and outbuildings was a wonderful way to step back through time. I'll be adding more to this journal as time goes, this is a work-in-progress. I hope you check back! :) Follow me on my video channel too! www.youtube.com/mustangmeg
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