Sand Wash Basin, where memories are made |

Sand Wash Basin, where memories are made

Patti Mosbey/For the Saturday Morning Press
A group of Sand Wash Basin horses gather by one of their watering holes.

Sand Wash Basin driving directions

Drive 31 miles west of Craig on US Highway 40 until you reach Colorado Highway 318. Take the highway 17 miles northwest to the southern entrance. Turn right on Moffat County Road 67.

I’ll take you back a few years. My first daughter-in-law, Kelley Ann, was always chatting about the trips that her, her mom and grandmother always took to this place called Sand Wash. I listened but not really with great interest. The wild horses at Sand Wash seemed to be from a different time and era to me. At that moment, I was hooked on gardening, landscaping and riding bicycles with my husband and grandsons. Who had time for horses?

Tragic struck when both Kelley Ann and her mother were suddenly killed in an automobile accident. My world would take on a whole new meaning. As I sat all night with my grandson trying to comfort a child’s worst fear and console my own heart, I contemplated what the future would hold for this young man. I then knew that horses were about to become a whole world for me. I vowed then, that as long as I breath, he would continue to have his horses and we would find a way to hold on to as many memories as we could.

So began my trips to this place, once foreign to me, but soon to become a passion indeed.

My first trip to Sand Wash was with my grandson, Stayton, and his great-grandma, Dalpha. It was a day filled with adventure and wonder. This wide, vast, seemingly bare landscape would slowly start to reveal its beauty and wonder to me with each and every visit.

That first day we trekked across some marked and some unmarked trails hoping to get closer to these magnificent animals. Dalpha directed us to a place out of the herd management area where we found an old abandoned horse trap, erected there many years ago by her brothers and other family members. Before the Wild Horse and Burro Act was signed into law, members of Stayton’s family had been regulars and trapping, breaking and selling wild horses in Moffat County.

It took only one day for Sand Wash to capture my heart and my love of the wild horses grew. With the liquidation of the grandmother’s property we purchased two Sand Wash horses that she had adopted. We owned horses as kids and one for our daughter many years before, yet I was not a novice to horses and just never thought I would own one again.

Soon I was very involved with 4H and my newfound love of the wild horses. I spent about five years as a volunteer for the BLM, checking up on recent adopters, verifying they were complying with the adoption requirements. I became involved with a local wild horse club and before long we were off and running with the wild horses, promoting the adoptions, finding new homes for those needing help and learning how to train and show our wild ones.

It became a Mother’s Day tradition to visit Sand Wash in memory of some very special ladies, Tracy, Kelley Ann and Dalpha. We traveled the same roads, took some of the same foods, carrots for human munching are required. We revisited good times at Sand Wash. Every road traveled holds memories of previous trips.

Sand Wash Basin has become a place of depth and quality for me. I can go there and leave my concerns behind. Now, some 15 years later, I anticipate which horses I will see, as I have been learning many of their names and documenting their family bands, foals and ever changing roles. Go and discover Sand Wash Basin for yourself and all the beauty that awaits you there.

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