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blizzard warnings - 13:52 , 03 October 2013

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15 August 2002 - 17:00

Bare Ring Slough

We were well off the asphalt this morning, on the second route in area 61, just north of the Titty Hills (yes, that's what they look like) when I caught just a smidgeon of a conversation on the radio:

"and then I scratched my head."

And knew immediately who it was, and what he was talking about. Heard that story last night at the Hunter Safety class. Seems he bought a new horse. Or technically, adopted a new horse. A former feral horse. Formerly from our part of the country.

Rode well.

Until he scratched his head.

The movement startled this former wild animal, who promptly ditched the biped on his back, and left.

Came back, of course. But I know the story he was telling a neighbor.

Dry country, this rock and dune land southwest of Green Mountain. But still good numbers of antelope. Never got bored.

As we headed north along the divide, I spotted a plume of thich smoke ahead, blowing west.

And realized it wasn't smoke.


A little cool this am.

But the fog was forming from the air mass from the east meeting that stopped on our side of the divide, forming a constantly churning white mass against the mountains.

Until I stopped to glass a herd of antelope, and then all of a sudden it was gone.

Popped over a ridge into Bare Ring Slough and was greeted with four pieces of fluorescent flagging.

No big deal. They're running seismograph lines all over this country this year, seeking the magic gas, and there's flagging everwhere.

But this flagging was on a fence.

A fence that wasn't there last year. Or this spring, for that matter.

And there's no gate. Just three wires (top two barbed, bottom smooth like they're supposed to be) stretched across my route.

And no way to bypass.

I hate new fences. I resist the urge to cut three wires and continue on. And call a friend in the federal agency. Pulling him out of whatever he was doing.

I'm sitting north of Bare Ring Butte. Looking at a fence, I say.

Knows immediately where I am. And what my beef is. Contractors forgot to put in two gates. On my route, naturally. He intends to get a crew up to put them in before hunting seasons.

I point out antelope season opened today.

So, I divert around this new obstruction, which is actually a good thing, since it will keep cows off the beaten-out meadows, for the next few years at least. Talking with him all the while about radios for sage grouse (to wear, not listen to). Finally he tells me how to get around their new exclosure.

Thanks. Been there, done that. While talking to you.

Quick hike to the top of Bare Ring Butte again. No antelope on top this year. Too dry. Did get scolded by one buck down below.

We finished our route by A&M Reservoir (dry), and then had a decision to make.

East along the county road to the highway, and home in less than an hour, or...

South along Bull Springs Rim into country I haven't been in for a couple years.

You know which way we went.

As we passed a reservoir, I remembered the last time I'd been there. With a ranch tour, during the last real drought.

Folks were pleasantly surprised to find numerous chips and at least one broken arrowhead on the dried banks of the pond.

Never been drier than this year.

So a quick little stroll found one horny toad (captured and released, like all the others), lots and lots of chips (whoever sat here making stone tools preferred yellow and red jasper, with a few black. And a little obsidian (probably from Yellowstone or Idaho... yes, they moved and traded that far).

And one little point. What folks call a "bird point" because of the size, but were apparently actually used for really big game, like bison, since the small points would go in deeper.

And now I'm overdue for getting out on my evening route.

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