Patti Mosbey: Winter in Sand Wash Basin | CraigDailyPress.com

Patti Mosbey: Winter in Sand Wash Basin

Patti Mosbey/For the Craig Daily Press

Sand Wash horses paw at the ice and then scrape it with their lower teeth to lick up the ice crystals they managed to loosen.

"Have you been to Sand Wash lately?" That seems to be the most asked question I get these days. Laughingly I respond with "as often as I can."

I actually had a long break from the horses as everyday life and vacation took me to other ventures. I returned on Monday for the day with some friends. The horses were scarce and scattered. With snow in the basin they have no need to venture to water holes and most of those are frozen over. I watched with curiosity last winter a band of bachelors at Bitter Pond pawing at the ice and then scraping it with their lower teeth to lick up the ice crystals they managed to loosen. The wild horses are experts at surviving through each season.

Always something new to discover with each trip, a bachelor that has acquired a mare, a stallion who has lost a long time faithful mare and then there's the new foals. We found a new one on this trip as well. Although it seems late for foaling the new foals born this time of year come into this world with full coat of fur to keep them warm. There are new grasses in the basin giving ample forage to the nursing mares to keep their foals fed and warm.

It's always a good idea to check with someone who has been recently to get a road report. Sand Wash doesn't get the same amount of snow as we do in town, but beware, the drifts on those roads can become impassable overnight.

Going in early on frozen roads is a pretty safe venture, but keep in mind, those roads become mush when the temperatures rise. Go prepared, and let someone know you are out there. It's advisable to not go alone. Last winter I walked around my vehicle to open the hatch and promptly stepped in a knee-deep hole hidden with drifted snow. Fortunately I had the vehicle to grab to keep me from breaking my leg. Several of us regulars carry an additional cell phone service as not all service is available in the basin.

The fox and coyote are beautiful this time of year in their winter fur. The horses are fuzzy and somewhat lazy. They don't spend a lot of energy moving except to eat. Please give them space, don't crowd them. They are more interested in getting nutrition into their stomachs than posing for photos.

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So, yes I have been to Sand Wash lately and hope to continue through the winter months as the weather allows. It's always as adventure to see what's new as the basin turns.

Patti Mosbey is a regular visitor to Sand Wash Basin. Photographing and documenting the daily lives of the Sand Wash Herd is her passion. For more of her photos and adventures find her on Facebook: Sand Wash Adventures.Patti Mosbey is a regular visitor to Sand Wash Basin. Photographing and documenting the daily lives of the Sand Wash Herd is her passion. For more of her photos and adventures find her on Facebook: Sand Wash Adventures.Patti Mosbey is a regular visitor to Sand Wash Basin. Photographing and documenting the daily lives of the Sand Wash Herd is her passion. For more of her photos and adventures find her on Facebook: Sand Wash Adventures.

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