What a wonderful idea! Photographing the Wild Mustangs of the Adobe Valley! That’s what I want to do for my birthday! That would be wonderful! I ask my very dear friend Rae, whose birthday is the day before mine, if she wanted to join me on this adventure. Little did we know at the time of booking, that California was going to be receiving more snow, more rain, more cold during the Memorial Day weekend than it has in YEARS!!!! You see, this trip was also a camping trip...yes, in tents, in the middle of know where - with the Eastern Sierras to the west and the White Mountains to the east.
We ended up taking the long way around, through Bakersfield because of Winter weather conditions in the Sierra’s going over I-80. Neither of us wanted to drive through that mess...so, we headed over Hwy 92, through Hayward, on to I-580, then I-5 south to Bakersfield...then Hwy 58 east to Hwy 14 north then on to Hwy 395 North to Mammoth Lakes where we stayed for our first night. During our first leg of this journey, it was sunny and cloudy and rainy and snowy and sleety, windy along with a little hail... What more could one ask for right? All the while I was hoping and pleading with he universe that it wasn’t like this during our pack trip.
We stopped at Red Rock Canyon and Manzinar on our way to Mammoth.
Once we checked into our hotel in Mammoth, it started snowing - HARD. We headed out for a little dinner - best Corned Beef sandwich EVER at Liberty Sports Bar and Grill. YUMMY!!!!!
Back at the hotel, Rae tried on the Rain pants her husband packed for her...they were a little big! We laughed!!!!! Plus, she would have totally glowed in the dark.
We got a great night sleep and our last hot shower for the next three days.......
Headed out to the nearest outdoor gear store and found some great Gortex pants for both of us along with some nice glove liners, then headed out to our destination....the Adobe Valley near Pizona, off of Hwy 120 - between the Eastern Sierras and the White Mountains.
As we drove toward River Springs, the skies were showing their colors of this season....OMINOUS! Not sure ominous is a color, but if it were, the skies would be it! Beautiful, but, I don’t know how beautiful it was going to be for outdoor, no amenities, camping.....
Rae and I arrived a little early, but we were able to get our stuff unloaded, our tent site picked out and we were able to meet our Pack trip folks from Rock Creek Pack Station, Maddie, Patrick and Mark.
Ken Lee from The Art of Seeing was our fearless leader and Ivana Crone was our Mustang Guide.
With a group of 12 women, yup... an all women pack trip. Ken said it was the first time he had an all woman trip.....
After everyone arrived and set up their campsites, we all headed out on foot to photograph the Mustangs. There were a number of things I learned that I had no idea about before. First, the “herd” of mustangs that we were seeing was really about 20 herds. Years, years, years ago, it use to be that each herd had one stallion and his mares, with all of the bachelor stallions banding off on their own. Over the years they evolved to where a number of stallions have their own mares, but only 2 to 10 and they all hang out near each other...which from time to time can cause tussles between stallions. Interesting dynamics for sure, but the change of the herd dynamics has also created a stronger herd. I also learned that this particular herd has been DNA tested not long ago and that they actually date back to Spanish decent.
We met our horses and mules - my ride for the duration was Utah. A big old boy, kind of a cross between strawberry roan and paint and he was huge!!!!! He was a cutie too!
We started our evening with a hike out to where the wild mustangs were. It was quite a hike and this one was on foot. As we were crossing the beginning part of the field, there was a barbed wire fence that some went through - a few of us noticed a lowere section - basically one wire high that we were going to step over. In the process of attempting to step over this low, non issue section of barbed wire, my freaking brand new Grtex rain pants got caught. Repeatedly and then I fell over...in low motion...ugh!
Once I was up, we headed out into the field to attempt to photograph the mustangs. It started to rain - hard. The grass was wet, my boots were soaked, my pants and shoes were covered in mud and I wasn’t alone, everyone else was in the same boat.
We headed back to camp as the light just disappeared. Dinner was ready - BBQ chicken with all the fixin’s. Yum!