Monday, January 17, 2011

Rock Hounding With The Wild Horses of Wyoming - The Polished Pebble

Wild horses....nothing says freedom quite like the image of a group of wild horses running free. No fences to hem them in. No borders they are not free to cross. A lovely thought - but hardly reality. But on the day I spent with them, it was hard not to feel the draw.

The day started out as planned. I was going to go out to an area that I had kind of skipped over before in my travels out rock hunting. A large basin surrounded by low to medium hills just north of Raulins, WY. Barren rolling ground with little more than sagebrush & native grass. Wild horses were nowhere in my plans.

I turned off the pavement onto one of the many dirt roads...scanning the sides for any interesting rock outcroppings or gullies that needed to be explored. Careful to stay in the well worn ruts & not damage this fragile land anymore than necessary. As the truck crested a low hill they came into view...a group of horses. They were lazily grazing when I first saw them.

Beautiful & strong I thought that they were the property of a nearby rancher. They looked extremely healthy & well feed. As I drove within 50 yds. of them they seemed unconcerned until I stopped to just look. It seemed that the minute the truck came to a halt all eyes were on me. I sat for just seconds looking & it became clear that they we not happy with me so close - so I continued on my way. After all, I was not looking to find horses. :)

I did find some interesting agates along the road not too far from where I saw the horses, so I pulled off the road & got out. Looking around I noticed that I had crossed another ridge & the horses were not visible from here. I was busy looking around, and picking up some of the agate & petrified wood that was in the area. I had wandered about 100 yds. from my truck when I heard the noise. The ground seemed to be shaking along with this thundering noise. As I looked toward the direction of this noise I saw the same group of horses heading my way at a dead run. Not a casual speed - a "RUN FOR YOUR LIFE" run.

Now, it is amazing just what goes thru your mind when you are faced with something like this. All I could think was "Dang, I left the camera in the truck!". Looking back now, I should have been afraid of being run over...but for some reason I didn't feel that way. As the lead horse spotted me - he veered to the left ever so slightly & the pack passed by about 20 yds. away. Each horse looking me in the eye as they passed.

The last horse in the group slowed as he approached me & stopped. the other horses had cleared the next rise by then. Standing there, it was very evident that he was sizing me up. Me, I was admiring this beautiful & powerful animal. He was stunning. We stood there for what seemed like along time...then on top of the ridge the rest of the group appeared & one of the horses made a noise. The horse by me turned & walked towards the others. And then they were gone.

I continued my quest for stone - but it was just not the same & I decided to call it a day. The drive back to the ranch was uneventful, but the memory was & still is very vivid to this day. I plan to make another trip to this area next year....don't know if I want to find more rock or just visit the horses again. Either way - it should be fun.

Connie - The Polished Pebble

*****One additional note - just before we left Wyoming....I read in a local paper that the BLM was going to do a Wild Horse roundup later that month in the area I was in. I wonder if the group I met is still roaming the range. I sure hope so.

1 comment:

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