Friday, July 2, 2010

Mesa Verde road trip, Day 3: Wild horses

Sorry for the break in vacation posts. I had a busy few days. If you've missed the first few posts, you can find a complete list of links here.

Having crammed two guided tours (Cliff Palace and Balcony House) into one afternoon, we were planning on doing some hiking and seeing Spruce Tree House on our second (and last) day in the park. The next day we'd be leaving Durango and driving to Aspen.

I had discovered by accident the night before that a Facebook friend and fellow boarder at the barn had just gotten back from Mesa Verde the week before. She mentioned on Facebook that there were wild horses in the park, and so we were looking for them the next day when we made the long drive in.

After spending some time in the gift shop, we headed out to Spruce Tree House, where the hike we wanted to do also started. On the way out there, we kept our eyes on the trees (many of them burnt from wildfires that swept through the park between 2000 and 2004), which is probably the only reason why we spotted the horses.

Wild horses in Mesa Verde National Park

We had our DSR with us that day — my brother-in-law gave it to us, and we are just learning to use it — so we were able to get some good photos with its huge lens. But even so, I still had to crop these photos. That tells you how far away the horses were.

Wild horses in Mesa Verde  National Park

One horse in particular made a good subject. The others were standing clustered together, but she was alone — or so we thought. Later I spotted a pair of ears in the grass next to her.

Her coloring is interesting, isn't it?

Wild horses in Mesa Verde  National Park

We also realized later, when we looked at the pictures on my computer, that she was expecting. At the time I thought she was just well-fed!

Wild horses in Mesa Verde  National Park

This is my favorite picture. The mare watched us nearly the entire time. She was the only one of the horses to do so — the others just sunbathed or napped while we took our pictures — so I wonder if she was the lead mare, looking out for her herd.

Wild horses in Mesa Verde  National Park

I could have stayed there and taken pictures all day, but I knew Michael was impatient to get started. As it was, we ended up having to skip our tour of Spruce Tree House and go straight to our hike... But I'll tell you about that tomorrow!

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