Horses, Helicopters, and Bison
Hello everyone! As I mentioned just before Christmas, the day I hiked out to Red Face did not go as planned. After I reached the band that afternoon, I decided to explore the area a little. I was admiring some huge petrified trees I had found when the band walked off. Luckily I saw Red Face on a hill as he waited for Ember’s Girl to catch up so I was able to follow along behind them. They took me up and over a ridge and when we reached the other side I could see Arrowhead and his band in the distance. I had spent several days prior trying to locate his band and now with Red Face’s help I would be able to finally sit with them…or so I thought. I spent a short time with Red Face once they stopped to graze and then climbed the hill to see Arrowhead. I had taken maybe 10 photos when I see Mare Diamond’s head shoot up and look behind me. I heard the noise before I turned around and knew exactly what was wrong. There were two helicopters flying by in the distance and that only means one thing…the horses are going to run. They were pretty far off and outside of the Park but close enough to be heard by the horses. It didn’t take long for the entire band to take notice and just like that, they were gone. I could see in the distance that Red Face’s band had already run off and now Arrowhead’s band was close behind. That ended my visit with Arrowhead as quickly as it began so I began my hike out. On my way out, I ran into about 20 bison blocking the trail. I thought I could take a lower path to avoid them but when I popped up from below I was trapped by another group. After climbing back down and back up a very steep cliffside, I made it to a trail and was able to work my way to my car. It wasn’t the day I had planned but it was definitely one I will not forget.
So why do the horses run? The Park does not use helicopters when they do their round-ups but they did years ago. Some of the older horses are familiar with that sound and will run, which in turn, causes everyone else to run. It is not something I enjoy seeing but it also something that can’t always be avoided. The Park still uses helicopters to spray for weeds so the horses do encounter them from time to time. The two that went by, however, had nothing to do with the Park. This past week, I finally got to sit with both bands again and have a quiet, uneventful visit. Everyone was doing fine and enjoying the warm weather. Below are a few photos of Arrowhead’s band from that day. He had quite a large band so I will focus on his foals with this post and share more of the rest of the band with you soon. Enjoy and have a great week!