They say when you go a little while without something, it makes you appreciate it all the more.
I have missed this….the wild beauty the highland country! After consulting with my Dad, who has backpacked all over Grayson Highlands/Mt Rogers numerous times, we decided to have a go at entering the recreation area via another route. As we wound through the back-country, we espied this waterfall and just had to stop and snap a few shots!
Over the summer I decided to quit doing photography professionally. I sold one of my dslrs (the funds went to the purchase of a rescue horse) ~ and unfortunately the other broke a short time later. It wasn’t until recently that I was able to purchase a Canon S1 for $40 on Ebay. The same week, my mom gave me her old Nikon D70 after purchasing a D200 for herself. (Thank you Mom!!) As I don’t have a telephoto lens yet for the dslr, the images from this trip were taken with both the DSLR and the point & shoot:)
We do some pretty crazy things to “get the shot”!
The result (her image, not mine:)
Okay, so this photo was actually taken on the way home in the evening, but I wanted you to see the sign that met us (and our vehicle) as we turned down the “road” leading to the scales.
It was incredibly wet and rocky. Water ran in streams down the trail.
We were slightly nervous as we had no spare tire…but the Explorer is just that…and we encountered no problems.
We parked and began hiking up the first part of the trail….this was the view that greeted us!
It was VERRRRY wet! The trail had turned into a river!
Me in the “river”. I had waterproof boots ~ unfortunately Michelle didn’t!
The clouds/fog kept blowing across the scales ~ one minute we could see, the next we were enveloped in mist. We climbed to a high point and waited for the next clear moment….so we could scan the surrounding countryside for ponies. Although the day was warm, a cold wind was blowing. It made me shiver.
Me and Rambo, atop the rocks, almost lost in the mist.
Finally! The wind swept the fog away, revealing the mountain once again. Check out that pine tree ~ I get the impression that strong winds are not unusual at this elevation.
Hiking across the balds…same tree, different view.
Myself and Rambo…we’re getting tired, but won’t give up until we find ponies!
An elderly mare….she had dreadlocks in her mane that hung almost to her knees, and she looked heavily pregnant. Unfortunately I didn’t really get any good photos of her from the side…right as we reached the ponies, fog found us once more.
The pony on the left was obviously the band stallion. He postured and pranced, demonstrating his authority. He was quite wary of us, and even more so of our dogs. His mares were more curious, but not in your face like some of the ponies near Massie Gap. I got the feeling that they were less accustomed to people.
The big black mare on the right was actually the first pony I noticed upon approaching. She was taller and broader than the rest ~ easily the biggest pony I’d ever seen on the mountain! We guesstimated that she was somewhere around 12 hands.
Jakob is without a doubt the wildest stallion I have encountered in the highlands! We were careful to keep our distance, to avoid stressing him out.
It was obvious that this band was not gathered in 2011, as they had all of last year’s offspring with them. Here is one of the youngsters, peeking out from behind Daddy.
Here is the “big mare” again. She has a certain nobility about her ~ she looks like a “Reyna” to me.
Another mare with unique, roan coloring. I think this may be the only shot I got of her. I name all the horses for documentation/cataloging purposes, so I am calling her Kacie.
This is the mare Michelle named “Smores”. No comment…lol;)
I am pretty sure the colt on the left is a 2 yr old. I am not sure of the sex of the rest of the youngsters…fuzzy winter coats disguise a lot and we didn’t get close enough to tell.
I fell in love with this colt…we named him Zebulun.
Reyna looking, well, regal!
I love their expressions.
This is Smore’s offspring, whom Michelle named “Cracker” (a good ambiguous name as we still don’t know if it is a him or a her).
Zeblun with a roan mare Michelle calls “Sass”. Sass was the boldest member of the herd ~ she marched right up to us! I flapped my jacket at her to urge her to move away.
Zebulun’s dam, a beautiful small chestnut mare called “Leah”.
Reyna ~ she looks a little like a Fell Pony, don’t you think?
Zebulun “talking” to Reyna.
Our dogs, (who were cowering behind a bush after getting a few evil looks from Jacob), caused a twig to snap and Zebulun spooked, running around to hide behind one of the more mature mares.
Sass’s offspring, with Jakob and another yearling. I don’t know where people get the idea that wild stallions kill foals. They obviously have never spent time among the wild ones.
Another one of the yearlings. I can’t quite remember who his/her mother was.
Cracker, peeking out from behind Smores. Cutie! I thought this image was appropriate to end Part I…with just a glimpse of the beauty we witnessed that day…