In The Desert
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2013 - Present - Don & Linda Gilmore
Wah Wah Mountains
Wild Horses, Mustangs, Utah
Wild Horses, Mustangs, Feral Horses in the desert southwest. Originally arrived here in the 1,500's with the Spanish and by the early 1,900's there was an estimated 2 million of them running around in the United States. Of course now most are found in the West. The BLM captures a lot of them every year in round-ups, mostly with helicopters, and puts them in storage areas, hopefully to be adopted. Slim chance of this happening to all of them as the BLM (as of 2013) has over 50,000 in pens where they have to feed and care for them. We'll look at this closer in another article. For now lets see how they are doing and where you can find them to view these pretty animals yourself.
Before we get into the main part of this topic, here's something that might help you find horses in the desert in another part of the southwest. We've been looking in Utah. Several friends have asked us how we always seem to find the animals we're looking for. The desert southwest is a massive place where animals can hide. Some animals are only found in certain areas. For example if you were going to look for Chuckwalla lizards, you wouldn't do it in western New Mexico or in Utah anywhere above the town of St. George, they don't live there. They like the lower elevations of the desert. The horses like the higher elevations, but can be found even in Yuma, Arizona. You'll find more of them in Nevada and Utah in the higher elevations. We looked up locations on the Internet and even saw a mustang on a trip for a completely different purpose. We also saw some trails with horses tracks and scat.. And the main thing, go slow and keep your eyes open, look for a sign.
You can enlarge a few of the photos here for more detail. Viewing the GPS track on either a topo map or on Google Earth will give you more info on where this trip was located and where we went. The GPS track is 70 miles long and only shows the trip from Lund, Utah, north to Highway Rt. 21 where we went east to the town of Milford, then home. Total round trip from Cedar City, Utah was 180 miles. This is a remote area and we only saw one other vehicle, some loggers with a truck and trailer on the whole trip -- on a Saturday.
Needless to say you should keep your eyes open for other interesting finds along the way, like the Juniper trees..
Linda spotted this horse skull up in a tree across from the spring..
Other finds included some flowers, like this Indian Paintbrush, and the Western Fence Lizard looking at us from his perch. We haven't seen any snakes yet, but it is warm enough for them. This trip was during the last part of April. For a better look at the Western Fence Lizard, check HERE.
The old road into the spring is no longer used, but a walk along sections of it will tell you where the Mustangs are crossing to get to the spring. We saw a really healthy animal crossing the road here. We think she was a pregnant female. See the video below.
Among other things, you'll find some neat old cedar trees here. Parts of this area have burned off in the past, probably due to lightning strikes. Mountain Spring Road is the main road into this area and it eventually turns into Pine Valley Road.
One of the first two horses shown here in the beginning is one we've seen before and seems to be really curious about us for some reason. He was first shown in a video slideshow HERE and is one of the reasons we came back to this area to look for more wild horses, "mustangs". All together we saw 18 mustangs on this trip (shown in this video). The one by herself near Mountain Spring caught us off guard when she jumped out of the trees and crossed the road. The other (ten) mustangs gave us some time but we could not get close to them. The last 5 we saw were the only ones that we got close too but they disappeared quickly down into a wooded ravine.
The main reason for this trip was the Mustangs, but we also thought if we had time, which we did, we'd look for some old "kilns" that we found out were in the Southern Wah Wah Mountains. Unexpected find? You bet.
and a map.