Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Friday, 16 May 2008

Do Horses Like Bananas?

Dead Horse State Park, Utah

The jury is still out on that one, but my own sample of three horses resulted in one horse asking for more and two horses spitting them out. I was out of apples. These horses are in a pasture behind our RV.

We went up to Arches again last night for some sunset shots. It was a choice between that and "Ironman". The local theatre has one movie, which it presents each day at 8 PM.

We went for a six mile hike up on the mesa at Dead Horse State Park today. The trails lead around the mesa rim for views of the Colorado River canyons 2,000 feet below.

The "point" is reached by a narrow neck of land, about 30 feet wide. It was convenient to herd wild horses onto the point and then construct a short fence over the neck from juniper branches.

Horses existed in North America from at least 100,000 years ago to 10,000 years ago, when they went extinct. Mammoths, mastodons, saber-toothed cats and giant sloths disappeared along with the horses as part of the Holocene mini-extinction event. Most scientists attribute this to the arrival of the Amerindians, with climate as a possible contributing factor.

Then the Spanish reintroduced horses to North America 500 years ago and 300 years later there were herds of wild horses up on the mesa near Dead Horse Point.

So, anyway, the horses were rounded up and the good ones were sorted out from the inferior "broom-tails" (a class of range horses that are considered not worth much). Legend has it that one time the cowboys forgot to take down the fence after the round-up and the leftover horses died of thirst out on the point.

The hike was good. Lots of good overlooks, unimpressive cryptobiotic lumps, little lizards, wildflowers, warped junipers and pinion trees. If we did six miles a day, I could melt off some extra pounds.

Dead Horse is up on the same big mesa as Canyonlands National Park. Down below we can see the same road we bumped up on the jeep.

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