Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Horses and Rocks

Rock Springs, Wyoming is home to one of the Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse preserves and processing centers. DSC_0256

The preserve is thousands of acres of mountain desert where these hearty mustangs live free and multiply. The BLM has a 24 mile self-guided tour of the preserve where we did see some horses, but they were far away. We didn’t have any carrots or sugar cubes to attract them, although at one point Penny thought about hiking about a quarter mile to one lone horse. I convinced her that there were probably less than friendly snakes and other animals in the desert which wouldn’t take kindly to being stepped on.


The BLM tries to maintain a specific herd size, so they periodically round up horses and ready them for adoption. Most of the adopted horses can be trained to do anything any other horses can be trained to do, and the average cost to adopt one is just $185. But there’s a long list of requirements for potential adoptive parents. All I can say here is that it’s a good thing we don’t have a horse trailer with us.

On our first big trip, three years ago we stopped in Rock Springs just for a night. When we got here we saw a lot of signs for the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. It sounded interesting, but we were on our way to Steamboat Springs, so we didn’t have time to explore the gorge. This time we had the time. It turns out the gorge is almost 50 miles long…mostly in Wyoming, but with the southern part in Utah. We weren’t planning to go that far, so we drove south to see what we could see in Wyoming. What a disappointment. There was a nice lake in the desert, but no gorge and nothing flaming. So we decided to go all the way to Utah. Here’s what we found:

DSC_0288 There really is a gorge in Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, and some of the rocks are so red they look like they’re aflame.


There’s a “geological loop” road in part of the gorge that runs through examples of the various types of rock formations in this area where dinosaurs once walked. We didn’t see any dinosaurs, and we didn’t see any fossils, except those in the information center, but we did see a DSC_0283 female big horn sheep near Sheep Creek, of all places.

We then headed back to Rock Springs and the campground. At around sunset I walked outside and saw something that explains why some people really love the high desert. So I’ll end this entry with a picture of what I saw in the sky.



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