Lovell is a very small, quiet town. The Wild Horse Refuge Visitors Center is still
a work in progress and not open yet.
There was not much information available in town regarding the
Pryor Mountain horses, so we take our chances and head up Highway 37 again. The black horse we saw
last night is still there, grazing a little farther in from the road and the herd of horses we saw.
They are mixed in with some cattle, which we find puzzling. Why would wild horses be grazing with
cattle and why would anyone be allowed to graze cattle on the Wild Horse Range?
Farther north up the road in Mustang Flats Tim spots a black horse standing
in a gully and we pulled off the road and walk into the sandy plain to watch. He has a white marking
on his face and a brown vertical stripe on his front foreleg.
The horse barely moves, swishing his
long tail once in a while, blinking his eyes. He may be so used to being watched, he is not afraid
of us. I read that the wild horses can be very tame.
Across the road a gray horse with a black mane grazes high on the hillside among the cedars. He is hard to see even with his light coloring. From this distance he appears to be a combination of gray and brown, with a black tail and a white blaze. This horse is also alone, another bachelor.
We took some time to take in the view overlooking the Bighorn Canyon, passing two groups of bighorn sheep lambs, ewes, and rams. The canyon is a breathtaking site - endless red and tan rock, the Bighorn River winding through quietly. Raptors dive toward the water.
We spend the rest of the day exploring the high desert of the Bighorn Canyon, looking for wild horses, and traveling past sprawling ranches and towering red mesas. We drive through Cody and past Two Dot Ranch towards Yellowstone. Although I have driven the Chief Joseph Highway before, it feels like the first time for me. The colors - the mix of green and gold and red is hypnotizing. We pass Clark's Fork and any number of historical landmarks recalling the travels of the Nez Perce. After navigating past fat black cattle grazing at the edge of the Shoshone National Forest we arrive in Silver Gate by early evening.
Author - Christine Baleshta
Photography - Tim Springer
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