“Hidden in the glorious wildness like unmined gold.” ~John Muir
Leaving Rock Springs, Wyoming the morning of this image in October of 2018, I headed to the dreaded South Pass on the journey to Lander, my stomach mostly in knots in anticipation of the drive over the pass. Not that the weather was bad, actually yesterday was an incredibly beautiful day, but because of my ongoing battle with not necessarily ‘fear’ of driving in the mountains, but my ‘fear’ of driving in the mountains. I know, it makes no sense.
It’s my flatlander upbringing which doesn’t include the expansive spatial vista one gets in the mountains! It was mostly a piece of cake because the road across the pass was clear, although it was foggy, and I couldn’t see far enough to hinder this flatlander’s nerves. But the beauty! Wow! So incredibly beautiful, and I was so tempted to stop and take pics but I just couldn’t unfreeze my hands from the wheel. You’ll just have to trust me that the trees were frozen in aspen yellow glory, and the reds were brilliant, the landscape coated in white powder, and the fog waved over and around the buttes as the sun would break through and make her own dream catcher.
Instead of driving straight into Lander, I veered right and took the loop around to see if I could find any wild ones close enough in to the road. But alas reaching the road to head north, it was also coated with a heavy fog as I drove over that mountain. Dropping off into the valley below and driving through beautiful desert, I reach the Wind River Reservation.
Up ahead, I spy a highway patrol slowly driving along. His companion, a very large, black Angus bull, on the wrong side of the fence. Being the farm girl, I saw his intention and pulled much further ahead, parked, and made my way to the other side of the road allowing the bull plenty of space but I could position myself to his shoulder to make the step to move him into the open gate if the patrolman couldn’t get the job done. The officer got out of his car to move him further and Mr. Big Black Angus said, ahhhhh…I don’t think so! He was not having any of that as he whirled around faster than any animal of that size should be able to and faced off with the officer, head up with a snort. The officer took a step back and then said, “Hey Bull, get.” Well that didn’t work….it was a true face off. I held my breath, making sure I had an exit plan, and the officer took another more aggressive step this time toward the bull, slapping the side of his pant leg, and the bull swung his head my way, back to the officer, and then said heck, it’s not worth the effort. He ambled on, I took the step I need too push his shoulder to the gate and off he went. Not without swinging one more time toward us, to solidify his roll as king. Officer waved, said thanks, and now back on the road.
On the outskirts of Riverton is a road that heads east where one may be able to spot horses from. So off I went. In the meantime, I could see where trucks had been in and out of the range leaving HUGE, DEEP ruts because of the moisture and as I was driving I realized there was no way I would ever get into the backcountry here and was formulating a back up plan as I drove along. Twenty miles or so down the road I saw horses. About ½ mile off the road. A beautiful pinto, and laying down in the sage, I glimpsed a set of ears. Ooooo! I marked the spot, drove another five miles, didn’t see anything, turned back and headed back to the horses. Stopped and started glassing and up pop three more! Nervous, milling around, didn’t like me sitting there watching them, so off they fled.
Well, I said earlier it was a beautiful day, and I had spent the last five hours cooped up in my car, and my derriere is tired, so I checked the wind direction, grabbed a camera, climbed the fence and headed downwind of where I thought they might be going. Not having a clue really. This was going to test my brain and my heart, because it was pounding like a rock in my chest.
I followed a gully down below a ridge, allowing me to stay out of sight, and worked several hundred yards past where I thought I had originally seen them. When I felt I was downwind of them, I started working my way slowly between two small hills until I could glass them. There they were and one of them had spotted me as I dropped to a knee. I didn’t move. She watched me for several minutes, then finally put her head back down to eat, and then up her head came again. This went on for several minutes until she finally relaxed. But now what? I’m exposed and any movement would catch their eye. Finally, when they all had their butts to me, I went to my left to another low lying area and started crawling toward them using sage as my cover. I could see they had turned my way now and were working toward me, so I tried as hard as I could to be patient and wait, taking deep breaths, trying to steady my hands, and waited and waited. As you know horses when grazing tootle along.
After what seemed like forever I could see the tops of their backs. Now I am in another conundrum, what happens when I move to try and get a shot? Well….I slowly came up on my knees from the middle of some sage and brought that huge lens up, and tried to compose a shot! Of course they thought I was the man from outer space or the oldest, ugliest, coyote they had ever seen, and OFF they went and as that big pinto stopped on the crest of the hill and took one last look back, I silently said thank you for sharing your world with me for one quiet moment.
This one of a kind 24×16 limited edition print is professionally framed to protect your investment for the next generations. Printed by a master printer this fine art piece is framed with a black wood frame, white archival mat, and archival UV acrylic. Includes an added professional look to give the artwork more depth when viewing. Signed, titled, and numbered by the artist with a graphite pencil and includes a Certificate of Authenticity (COA).