Saturday, March 2, 2013

BLM And Cows

In my previous blog post I shared pictures of a trip LC and I took to see the wild horses last weekend.
He and I spent a long time parked in the middle of a dirt trail, in the middle of BLM land, watching the horses graz, and then watching them as they slowly and surely made their way across the trail we were standing on, before beginning to graze again on the hill to our right.
Some of them glanced in our direction as they passed us by, but most of them simply ignored us.
They - as with the big horn sheep and bison we see grazing along the highway in the Shoshone National Forest in the winter - are completely used to people.
Locals and visitors to the area who stop to watch, take pictures, enjoy these animals in their natural habitat..............
Eventually LC and I climbed back into the truck, I patted my sweet dog on top of her furry head, and we continued slowly driving further along the dirt trail, eager to explore some more and see what we could find.
We drove down one trail after another, bumping our way through the dirt and gravel and rock and mud, enjoying the solitude of the experience.
At one point not long after leaving the horses, we stopped to watch a huge herd of antelope grazing in the distance.
We had never seen such a large herd before.  There must have been over a hundred of these goofy looking, white-butted creatures grazing and running and we tried to take pictures of them but they all turned out too fuzzy to post.
Too far away for my little digital camera to cope in full zoom-in mode, and without the zoom these speedy, graceful, at-the-end-of-the-day beautiful animals blended seamlessly with the terrain and became invisible.
Sometime this past summer LC and I were parked in this same area of BLM land and on the spur of the moment decided to dig out a set of binoculars to see what we could see.
There were antelope everywhere.  Simply everywhere.
We watched them on that warm summer day through the binoculars for a long time.
Without the binoculars we would never have known that antelope were even in the area................
The Big Horn Mountains are like a huge, never ending wall of snow covered rock.
This endless mountain range is located 60 miles or more from Cody, but is visible even from the house.
During the summer they almost seem to float in the air, and have the appearance of being a mirage.
A mirage in the desert...............
Looking west towards Rattlesnake and Cedar Mountains.............
After leaving the horses we stopped often during our slow journey to nowhere in particular.
We climbed out of the truck continually at the noisy behest of our demanding mutt who wanted to explore as much as we did.
We were out on BLM land for a couple of hours and saw no other humans the entire time that we were out.
Sometimes I miss trees, but there is a solitude and expansiveness to all of the BLM land that we are surrounded by.
It is wide open and uncomplicated terrain.
The openness and quiet is compelling.  And comforting.............
For all the times we have traveled out to this place we eventually and somehow found ourselves driving rutted out dirt roads that we had never been on before.
LC and I have always wondered how the horses could survive in this barren land during the winter.
There is almost no shelter.  Almost no water.  Almost no food.
And then, unexpectedly, we found part of the answer.
A large watering hole we didn't know existed.
Completely frozen on the day we visited...............
And right beside the natural pond, we found a huge water trough.
It was also frozen on this day, and we can only guess that it is there through the work of those employed with the Bureau of Land Management.
We knew of two other natural springs in this huge section of BLM land because we had come across them in our travels.
But these two were newly discovered the other day..............
Both the frozen pond and the frozen trough were located in a huge, wide open expanse of land...............
I have seen cows grazing in many other sections of BLM land in the region but had never seen cattle grazing on wild mustang land until last weekend.
This guy was the first cow we saw, and the sight of him startled me initially.
Where there was one, there must be others, and we quickly found them...............
“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. but mostly they're darked.
But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!

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