In search of wild horses

Sun on rimrock, mild temperature, and wind. Perfect day to head out in search of wild horses

We had to pause for a couple of cows crossing the highway and a bit further on for a bevy of quail. In a roadside field a cowboy on horseback was moving some cows toward a trailer. Harney County.

The BLM office in Hines was closed. Columbus Day. I forgot that our federal government still celebrates the beginning of the massacre of this continent’s indigenous peoples…and I can’t buy the map I want.

The BLM wild horse corrals just to the west were open. Horses eat every day. There’s always controversy around managing wild horse and burro populations.  It’s worth cruising the web to find out about. They did have a (small) paper map and a helpful guy. Palomino Butte here we come.

Hang a left at Double 00 Ranch road and start looking. Not far in we saw a single horse on one side,  then a group on the other. Seems too easy.

Nice country,  but no more horses. We had no idea how long the road was or where it would pop us out. Enough.  Enjoyed the same group on the way out.

The BLM guy cautioned against Kiger and Riddle Mountain–bad roads. I wanted to find a Kiger Mustang. We headed toward Diamond taking the route through Malheur.

Hey! The other end of Double 00 road is just before Sodhouse Lane and the turn to Malheur Headquarters.

The headquarters were closed (did I mention Columbus Day),  but the lovely bathrooms were open. Canada Geese and wigeons were on the pond.  Well worth the stop.

We took the Happy Valley route and found Kiger Wild Horse Viewing Road. Even if there are no horses, wow!

Juniper skeleton

The road skirts the end of a rimrock box canyon. Just a short jaunt from the car, basalt pillars, rusty wire, and the spine of some largish mammal, one pillar separated from the rest. Right out of Zane Grey. As we approached some very large crows exited the canyon straight up. Too cool.

Freya got a little test. The road was dirt, stone, and ruts. Wouldn’t have been too bad if someone hadn’t driven it when the mud was a foot deep. Freya did well.

And…we found horses!

and pronghorn. I love pronghorn.

About 7 miles in we headed back out. Back past the hunting camp, the bluebirds, the beautiful Juniper, and the sage. Back over the ruts, rocks, and washouts. Wish I knew how far to the overlook. Wish I was certain we took the correct tine of each fork. (My map didn’t show any forks or distances.)

Stars, planets, shooting stars. Pretty perfect.

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