Virginia Range Mustangs

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The Virginia Range is just East of Reno, and if you grew up watching Bonanza  you’ve seen it “with your own eyes.” 50% of all the wild mustangs that lives on our continent lives in Nevada.

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The mustangs that roams the hills of the Virginia Range are among the easiest to see, if you would like to see a wild horse. The city of Reno, Carson City, and the surrounding suburban areas are constantly growing, for the wild horses that means that the hills that they’ve been roaming are somewhat taken from them. The water sources are scarce in the desert, and they are forced to use the water sources that are available, even if they now are in populated areas. The debate of the right to the land is not a simple one. It’s sad to see horses get killed by traffic while they are trying to get a ”snack” from someones lawn. The desert is mostly sage brush, very lean grass, and rocks, when the horses see all the green lawns in the neighborhoods it’s challenging to resist them. I’ve also seen people feed them treats from their cars on many occasions. It is illegal to feed wild horses. I’m sure people mean well, simply not understanding the damage they cause by doing it, (causing horses to colic, founder, and get killed in traffic.)

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These horses are not on BLM land, and therefor not protected in the same way as mustangs on BLM land. The Virginia Range Horses are classified as stray/feral livestock, when they cause nuisance (gets into neighborhood, highways etc) they get rounded up, and loose their freedom. They are sometimes sold at auctions. When any horse is sold at an auction it’s a really bad thing, they are often bought by kill-buyers, that transport the horses under cruel circumstances, to a cruel end in Mexico. If you do want to know the fate of these horses, look it up on Youtube, (don’t do it if you want to sleep at night.) Those videos are very graphic.

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All these horrible facts aside, the Virginia Range Horses are beautiful. I enjoy watching them through my telephoto lens higher up in the foothills, away from the the cities. Up there the horses are wild. (Near the cities these horses occasionally walk right up to people, since they are used to be given treats.) The Virginia Range Mustangs are on the shorter side, usually around 13-14hh. They are believed to be the mixed offspring off early pioneer’s horses, with a touch of Shetland pony (sometimes used for working the mines.) I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a few of them, that lost their freedom, and been sold at auctions. The ones that I’ve met had all the potential in the world to go in any direction as a riding horse; brave, surefooted, lots of endurance, and extremely loyal to their person. Wild horses that lost their freedom are used to being dependent on their herd (their family) for safety, they bond very closely to one person, that becomes their herd. If you gain the trust of a mustang you have a faithful partner that will do anything for you. My humble experience is that if you dedicate enough time to a mustang, the bond gets stronger than with most domesticated horses. In the wild their life depends on being close to their family, not only physically, but also mentally. They are masters of body language. Using body language as much as possible is recommended in any, and all interaction with a wild horse.

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Mustangs are extremely intelligent, and I often feel that they’ve read my thoughts before I even was aware of them myself. I hope you enjoyed this visit to the Virginia Range. These horses taught me so much, and will always own a part of my heart.

Love,

Ms Zen

PS. Prints of the photos of the wild horses in today’s post are available. Click on a photo you are interested in to see available art prints. I’m using Fine Art America‘s high quality prints, and safe online payment service. Order soon to receive your prints before Christmas. World wide delivery. Gift options available at checkout!

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge; Cheeky

The Lost Coast

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I celebrated my birthday last week, by going on a road trip to Humboldt County. The trip was a birthday gift, and I can’t think of a more precious gift for an adventurer/avid hiker/photographer (me..lol) than time together on a road trip, to one of the worlds most amazing places, with nothing more on the agenda than to enjoy and have fun. It was a magical weekend; with lots of laughter, an abundance of good food/local wines, and of course hiking at the Lost Coast.

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I would go as far as saying that it was my happiest birthday so far. Which makes me very excited about the year to come!

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We experienced all kinds of spectacular weather; foggy mornings, rain, sun, cloudy skies, clear skies, winds, waves, low tide, and high tide. My friend and I literally used every minute of daylight that there was, by getting up and going outside long before the sun was up, both Saturday and Sunday.

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Some cheeky waves, brought the tide in faster than we imagined they would. We actually made a rookie mistake and got trapped by some growing tide pools the first morning. Nothing scary, but we had to wade through them. It was more of an adventure. We were close to land. (I don’t take it lightly, I have a lot of respect for the ocean.)

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The tide pools grew fast on the first part, of our first hike. I took this photo (above) after safely wading through them, getting up on a sand dune. My hiking boots stayed dry 🙂

The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness.

– James Gates Percival

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On Sunday, our last day, the tide was low. The beach transformed into a different world, full of beautiful drift wood and seashells. I picked the three most beautiful seashells to bring home to my daughter. She was thrilled. My heart is bursting with gratitude that I once more got to experience this beautiful part of our State.

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You must give everything to make your life as beautiful as the dreams that dance in your imagination.

Roman Payne

I took hundreds of photos, and I’ll share more later. I still have plenty of photos to edit from the road trip in the beginning of last week (gorgeous wild horses in Nevada, and a beautiful day in Lake Tahoe.) Life is good here in northern California. I hope your week is everything you wish for so far.

Love,

Ms Zen

 

A Zen-Minded Thanksgiving Week, part 3

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I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, this is what it is to be happy. 
― Sylvia Plath

 

The third, and last part of my Zen Minded Thanksgiving Week, a beautiful hike along the McCloud River in northern California. (Here is the first, and the second part of the series.)

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The McCloud River is probably northern California’s most scenic waterway. It features  three amazing waterfalls, along a 4 mile well maintained trail. It’s a super easy hike, part of it is even paved.

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One of the most unique things with this place is that each waterfall have their own trailhead, parking lot, and clean restrooms. You could just drive up to one of the trail heads, and simply enjoy the waterfall, if you’re for some reason unable to do the 4 mile hike.

 

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.
― George Gordon Byron

 

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The lower fall have a wonderful swimming hole. It’s very popular during our hot summers. The swimming hole, and the trail can be crowded during spring/summer. I’ve done this hike many times, and last week was the first time I didn’t see a single soul, until after the hike.

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The water was ice cold, but my dog couldn’t resist jumping in, time after time. She’s crazy about water, and a  great swimmer. McCloud River Trail is a serene place, where the most exquisite nature is easily accessible for everyone. It’s very suitable for meditation, especially this time of the year. Have you been there? If so, what was your experience? Is it a place you would like to visit?

Happy Friday!

Love,

Ms Zen

 

PS. I just came back from another road trip last night (Nevada and Lake Tahoe.) I’m home to do some laundry, and repack my bags for a weekend trip later today. I promise to get back to everyone as soon as I can. I really appreciate your visit, emails and comments here!