04 July 2013

And just how did we start our Independence Day?

We went looking for wild mustangs ~ seems kinda appropriate, don't you think?

We picked the KOA campground on the just off I80 on the east side of Nevada precisely because their advertising blurb mentioned the mustangs. But once we got there, there was NO information... not even a tshirt in the gift shop that alluded to the presence of the mustangs, so we weren't very hopeful.

On a whim, I asked the lady behind the desk as we were getting ready to hit the road, heading east. She apologetically said that there wasn't anything formal, but that one of the guys who used to work at the campground would take off down the trails off 93A on his lunch breaks and about half the time, spot some mustangs. She also added that the trails were all accessible to 4WD vehicles (our 12 passenger green monster isn't one of those, just in case you were wondering).

We decided to give it a try. We drove south on 93 until we came to what we hypothesized was Mustang Trail. We turned off the blacktop and headed across the valley towards the Goshute Mountains...

This was what the road looked like... at first... We were thankful for our off road driving experience in vehicles not designed for that for so many years in Niger by the time we finally did pull back onto a genuine paved road.

We wandered back towards the mountains for about 1/2 an hour when Bren piped up from the back seat: "Those dark spots out there? Think they could be horses? Or cattle?" 

It soon became evident that they were something alive... and then one of the animals turned to get a clear profile... our girls were elated to see a genuine herd of wild west wild mustangs!

You wouldn't think spotting horses would be that difficult... but it is. Can you see the herd in this photo?

As we drove away, the black stallion relaxed, put his head down and began to graze again. He kept an eye on us the entire time our vehicle was stopped and we were watching. Amazing, beautiful creatures.

So we continued on Mustang Trail...

We rounded a bend and were just ready to crest a small hill when...

This group of three stallions was significantly more skittish... but also more curious and on several occasions actually began to approach the vehicle.

Our final view of the free ranging mustangs... and it was about at this point that we left the nice road... 

See? Our van really is out there! And we began the trek back to town... I wondered a few times if we could actually drive through what was in front of us. Tim did a great job and about 45 minutes later, we were finally back in town.

On the way, we spotted two antelope, many lizards, a few raptors flying about and thankfully, no snakes! 

As we drove back into the outskirts of town, we found holding pens and more horses... and wondered if maybe these were some mustangs culled from the herd and waiting to be adopted. Anna loved the mane on this one... and was ready to take him home with us. 

All the way to Salt Lake City, we listened to the kids singing songs
from a particular and favorite movie about a mustang...

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