Friday, June 24, 2011

Long Valley Herds (in Triple B's)

(2011.JUN.23) Western Butte Mountains - Long Valley - White Pine Co., NV

The daytime temps are comfortable mid-70's up to 90 degrees, feeling cooler due to scattered cloud cover. Most of the snow is gone, and the land is beginning to show signs of summer dryness.  Vegetation is plentiful, though much of it is not of  benefit to horses. Cheat grass is abundant, and will provide some forage in its green stages, but becomes inedible once it matures and turns purple.
  • This does not mean that there is NO forage.  The green we see in the photographs is not all usable forage. Much of the vegetation is wild mustard and cheatgrass. Horses do not eat wild mustard, and cheatgrass is unsuitable forage in its mature stages. There is still plenty of good grass and forage in the hills.
Triple B's Wild Horse Area (WHA) is an enormous land area, encompassing several thousand acres of undeveloped high desert and alpine terrain. Much of this is accessible with four wheel drive ONLY, and should not be attempted with any low-profile vehicle.

Travel is very slow, and approaching wild animals is a challenge, to say the least!  They can see and hear approaching vehicles from miles away, and will typically move into the cover of juniper and pinon pine thickets to evade observation.

Snow-covered Ruby Mountains looking northwest across Butte Valley and the Butte Mountains
viewed from western Cherry Crrek Mountain Range

On this day, we covered a relatively small area, between the Old Stratton Ranch and Long Valley.

All tolled, we saw about one hundred horses, mostly in bands of 8-12 scattered along the western foothills of the Butte Mountain Range, and two larger herds (20-30 in each) around a spring on Mount Hamilton.

On Mount Hamilton, we caught glimpses of heads and tails, and heard much vocalizing, but few clear visuals, due to dense trees and rock formations.
Well-worn trails are evidence of high equine traffic over a long period of time.

Western Butte Mountains Foothills

Cherry Creek Mountains in the distance

Western Butte Mountains

Eat Our Dust!

Butte Valley viewed from Cherry Creek Canyon

Click Map to view LARGER
The green line is Elko-White Pine County Line

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