It had been a long day of looking for horses with no luck. The high deserts of southwest Wyoming can sometimes feel like endless road after road after road. Rolling hills and sagebrush for miles. The occasional oil rig, hillsides covered with junipers. There are so many canyons and hiding places for horses it can sometimes feel hopeless to even try. But I do anyway because I love it! And I love being out in the middle of nowhere.
Me and my buddy Dustin, who I invited to go with me on this trip, were eating a late lunch of chips and queso and washing it down with a beer. When I go on these trips, the accommodations are not that great. Most of the time, I sleep under a truck shell in the back of my truck. I throw a piece of foam out and a sleeping bag and call it good. I don’t need much now, but I have long-term goals of getting more creature comforts. Maybe a camper and a side-by-side with heat. That would be amazing! The food situation is hit-and-miss at best. I would just much rather be taking pictures than worrying about cooking and eating. I eat a lot of beef jerky.
Part of the fun for me is looking for horses. Especially when I’m in new territory, which I’ve never been before. I like the excitement of not knowing what you’re going to see. For example, I had never been to the Salt Well’s Herd Management Area before, and I follow other photographers on social media who take images of the horses there. They are neat-looking horses; I had to go!
The downside of exploring new territory is I have no idea where to look for horses. When we pulled off the highway into the HMA we found a place to camp, which just happened to be next to a big water hole. We had a few hours of daylight, so we decided to see what we could find. I unloaded the side by side and headed east. No horses. The following day we got up and decided to go in the same direction but to take a different road and see where it took us. We must have driven around for seventy miles by the time we got back to camp. We saw some neat country, but no horses.
Back to eating chips and dip on the tailgate of my truck, I was hungry and focused on what I was doing when Dustin said to me, “Hover, look to your left.” So I looked left, and I couldn’t believe what I saw. We had driven all those miles the last few days looking for horses, and here they were, a massive band of them running into camp and the waterhole to get a drink.
It took me a half second to compute what was going on. Then I dropped the chips in my hand and ran for my camera! While they were watering for the next fifteen minutes, I took as many images as possible before they wandered back off to the range.