Wild Weds. 24/52 Wild Mustangs of Adobe Valley Pt 1

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I’m back safely from my trip to Adobe Valley to track, see, and photograph Wild Mustangs!

It was a fantastic trip.  We stayed in two camps; a lower one the first night then we rode for 6 hours up to the upper camp in the high country.

Here’s a look at the kitchen and some of the other photographers. We were assembling for a walk out to the herd of Wild Mustangs that were in a huge meadow a mile and half from camp. The kitchen/hangout is on the far right under the tarp like tent.  Penny our cook had quite a camp kitchen set up.   The paddock the horses and mules were in are just to the right of that out of the frame.

Happily, I can report there wasn’t a hot dog, or hamburger to be found on the menu!

The food was awesome. I wanted to bring Penny home.

We had BBQ chicken, corn puddin, and fresh fruits, Stuffed Pork Chops, fresh mixed salad, homemade applesauce gravy, and summer squash sauté just right, and steak, baked beans, corn, and anything left over from the night before was set out to be eaten.

Breakfasts were hearty and kept us going until our lunch stop along the trail.

We had sausage and egg  comme Mcmuffins, steel cut oatmeal with all sorts of topping choices; raisins, brown sugar, syrup, nuts, fresh strawberries, and bacon, and French toast.

Snacks and lunches we made and packed for the ride each morning. We had turkey, or ham, or roast beef and assorted cheeses, chips, nuts, cookies, and fruit.

Snacks were nuts, dried and fresh fruit, chips, dips, OH, and desserts! Fresh baked berry pie, carrot cake, and oh, I forgot what we had the last night already!  I should have wrote it down. Penny made the cake in a dutch oven on the grill, actually most the meals were made via her huge Dutch Ovens.

We didn’t go hungry!


Lower Camp Adobe Valley

I’ll show you some of the camp. My tent, and others.  That cabin is deserted. A rancher lived there once. They told us it’s about 150 yrs. old.  The horse paddock was made of stone fencing instead of wood.  That’s one way to clear the rocks.

Cowboy/Wrangler Patrick setting up my tent.  The pack company provided tents, the cook, wranglers, horses, and tack.  We had to bring our own sleeping bag, and sleeping pad that was weighed in as part of our 40 pound dunnage limit. Patrick setting up my tent

Tents set up at Lower Camp

Do you want to see the Privy? Inside there is a box with a lid. Open the lid to find a hole cutout. It was just a hole dug out of the dirt under that box.  It wasn’t bad.  I don’t see a ziplock bag with toilet paper clipped to the tarp so someone is using it at the time I took this image.  That was the signal. 😊😊

In the upper camp we had two of these privies, and two showers with hot water!

Lower Camp Privy

My trusty steed Tip. He’s a 25 year old Gelding. They told me he’s a mutt. A mix of Draft, and Thoroughbred? He’s a gentle, and easy going horse.  Up in the rocky lava strewn hillsides I would get a bit tense;especially going down. I tighten up his reins a lot, but he’d ask for me more, and I gave him the slack on the condition that he kept me on his back, and didn’t fall.  He stumbled a few times, but he has four legs, and rebounded quickly.  I learned to trust him pretty fast.  He kept me on his back every ride.


We didn’t find any Wild Mustangs in the high country, but it was fun to explore and ride despite that.  We rode all the way into Nevada!

I took a pair of He-Man’s cycling shorts with a nice gel pad, and lots of butt butter.  My butt was fine, my thighs, and knees on the other hand not so much.  Riding up and down mountains on horseback is a workout! My thighs are still sore.  I hate sage brush! We were riding single track trails between the brush and too often my stirrups or toe would get caught in it and it would pull my leg backwards.  My knees are so bruised.

That is my only complaint about the trip.  The bush is brutal! Nevertheless, if Ken will have me I’m doing this trip again next year.

Okay, I know you want to see some wild horses.  Here’s one of my favorite images.  Taken just as the sun was going down.

Wild Mustangs at Sunset

Aren’t they beautiful?  There were several foals, but only 3 Yearlings.  The mortality rate is awful.  Not many foals will survive because of the mountain lions. 😢

I have tons of images to share so I’ll be sharing for awhile. I hope you don’t get bored!

I’ll be catching up with your blogs!

Happy Wednesday!

Nikon D810 w/ 200-500mm, 20mm f/1.8G. and iPhone 7Plus

more to come…



64 thoughts on “Wild Weds. 24/52 Wild Mustangs of Adobe Valley Pt 1

  1. Oh my word, you really did rough it out for your adventure. How exciting too! I enjoyed reading your post and am glad I did not miss it. I am still trying to catch up with blogs too! Anyway, my final thought on the wild horses’ image…..just stunning, Deborah! I can’t wait to see more! 🙂

  2. Wow!! I’m impressed that you did this trip, Deborah! 👍 I don’t think I could sleep on the ground anymore…
    The food sounds gourmet and looks like you had good weather. Beautiful photos of the horses. I’m glad that Tip brought you home safely. 😊🐴

    1. I’m doing everything I can afford photographing the mountains and wildlife while I still can. But I’ll tell ya, a cot and big ole Civil War tent would be perfect for me right now! I’m upgrading my sleeping pad first thing! I’m going back next month and I am not sleeping on the thin pad I’ve had for these last 10 years!

      1. Lol! 😁 Good idea! 👍 I think it is awesome you are pursuing this adventure since you enjoy taking photos so much!! And you are really good at it too!! ❤️😘

        1. Good idea! Unless you are backpacking, there’s no reason to opt for a an ultra thin/light & expensive sleeping pad. An air mattress – the kind you keep in the house for overnight guests- is very comfy and cheap.

  3. It sounds like you had a great trip. I’ve been horseback riding in the Great Smoky Mountains. It definitely is a workout! Your trusty steed was a beauty. Glad to hear he kept you safe. The wild horses are amazing. It’s sad to hear about the mortality rate. I can’t wait to see more photos! 🙂

  4. What an amazing adventure, I’m envious I LOVE horses and your Tip did look and sound a real gentleman. Wow so spoilt with all that yummy food AND hot showers. Looking forward to more horse photos. Where they actually in a fenced paddock or able to run wild?

    1. The wild horses are free to go where ever and when ever they want to, but our pack horses were in the paddock when we weren’t riding them.

      I wondered if they felt the call of the wild while standing there holding us while we snapped image after image of the wild ones?
      Although I doubt if our horses were ever wild. Probably born and raised domesticated. 😊

      It was pretty amazing! I hope to do it again.

  5. WOW … you are such an adventurer! What a fun trip and I love your last image. I could never do this since am allergic to horses. I look forward to your sharing the experience with more photos.

  6. It sounds amazing! Apart from that brush, again.
    I love the menu. Oh, I am so glad Moo made us a roast today, because I’m going to have my fill of potatoes, carrots, and onions, but I pretty much want to eat everything in your list! Sounds delicious!
    Also, I like food more than horses or the west, lol!
    BUT, is it me, or is eating delicious food even more delicious when you’ve worked up a hearty outdoor appetite? Love that. Life Rules — get outside and do the things, then sit down to a yummy, yummy meal!
    I’m so glad you enjoyed it and that you’ve more to share! Great seeing your photos! 😀

  7. OMG! How wonderful. The food sounds amazing. I wouldn’t have been keen on the privy but I think that would have been a grand adventure. I love horses.

  8. Great article, Deborah! It was so nice to meet you and Dan.. You guys are hardcore…live it! I look forward to seeing you on next year’s trip :-). I’ll link to your post on FB and hopefully drive some traffic your way, but it looks like you have plenty of people following you already. Can’t wait to see the rest of your photos!

  9. Deborah, you know I have a big, wide smile after reading this post. I’m so happy you had such a good time (except for the sage.) The privy reminds me of a week rafting trip on the Green River in Utah many, many years ago, except that was much less privacy there and it all depended on making sure you saw that sign that someone was using it. 🙂 Looking forward to hearing and seeing more about the trip.

    A week from tomorrow morning my van will be on the way to Wyoming. I cannot wait!!!


    1. Thank you so much Janet! We were all pretty happy about the privacy our privies afforded us. 😊

      I bet you can’t wait to get back to WY and your horse! I’ll be a wee bit green with envy. You place there is lovely!

  10. How beautiful! Well done for your adventure. I have never ridden a horse and can only imagine… But even though I love the smell of sage, I bet I’d learn to hate the bushes too. 😀

    1. Thank you Manja! Horses are just big dogs.
      They don’t understand our words, but they do understand a kind, and gentle tone of voice. Tip was lovely.

      Yep, it’s gonna a take awhile for me to forgive the bush! Maybe pointy cowgirl boots would help huh? 😀👢

  11. What a trip. The last time I packed was in Aspin CO. We were at 8,000 feet on horseback walking along a ledge about three feet wide. Talk about trust. Beautiful photo of the horses. Thanks, Deborah.

  12. Awwww and you even got a pic of a foal! Lovely post, Debora — except for the ouchy parts. Sorry for those. That looks like a flimsy privy… I doubt the shower was any more substantial. I would have been terrified that a strong wind would result in my frightening all the campers and causing the horses to stampede! Your horse, by the way, is a charmer. Hugs.

    1. LOL! I thought so too, but it was pretty solid and private…expect for ones head when they stood up. Another indicator that it was in use.

      The showers were made out of that khaki colored tarp and pvc pipes with privacy curtains. What amazed me were the two hot water tanks up there!

      Tip was lovely. So much so that I want one, and a mule! He-Man raised his brows over that one.

  13. Very cool. My only trips out west have been to various California cities and to Salt Lake City. Would love to get a taste of the real west sometime. Great pics! Glad yo u enjoyed your trip.

    1. Oh Paul if you think you’d like this you should do it! There’s a High Sierra Pack trip I’m looking at doing as well next year. That’s focused more on landscapes not wild horses.

      We had folks from all over even two from Canada!

    1. It was so amazing! I’m still floating and pinching that it was real.

      You know we had two ladies from Canada! Vancouver Is.
      Careful for what you ask for…cause I have LOTS of horse images. 😊

          1. I ended up putting a Canon lens on my Sony using a Sigma converter. It was about half the cost of buying a Sony lens.
            It’s a 70-300mm and I can hardly wait to take it out on the trail with me next week in Quebec!!
            I’ve taken a few test shots this evening … I feel like I have so much to learn!!!

            1. Plus it’s not a beast to carry around either. I was wishing I had my old 70-300mm while on the Wild Mustang trip. It would have been so easy to have with me all the time and to hand-hold.
              I couldn’t have my 200-500mm with me all the time while riding. It was packed on the mule a lot.

            2. I had considered the weight when I was looking at options. This one is marginally lighter than the Sony lens and a LOT lighter than the Sigma lens I considered for a nanosecond (it was overkill for a newbie like me!)

  14. How cool is that Deb?! Wow – good for you! One day I’d love to do a trip like that….can’t wait to see more beautiful photos… 🙂

  15. I’m really happy to learn that mountain lions are keeping the herd numbers in check. I know it is sad, but you really wouldn’t want all the foals to survive because the habitat won’t support them and then you’d see a bunch of starving, diseases horses. Much worse.
    Hooray for you, you did it! What an inspiring thing to do.

    1. It was amazing!

      Nature can be cruel, but I do understand we need to balance the herd with nature. The problem is that there are a lot of mountain lions, and no natural predator outside of man, and there doesn’t seem to be a management plan in place to keep their number in check.

      It was inspiring, and quite a learning experience. I hope to do it again!

      1. Top predators are kept in check by scarcity of food and other disasters. Despite the bad press they get, we really do need them, and they do not become too numerous. I know out there the ranchers and such are very vocal about wanting to get rid of predators but it has been shown again and again that this is misguided.
        10 years ago I would leap at the chance to do that trip, but my arthritic hips and knees quail at the thought of doing it now!

        1. Oh no! A bad hip kept one of my friends from joining the trip.
          He-Man wouldn’t be able to do it now with his knee today. He’s come a long way since the Dr. repaired his ruptured Patella Tendon, but he can’t do somethings anymore.

          1. It is so sad to be limited by a painful joint! I’m sorry to hear that even after surgery He-Man can’t do some things. 😦
            I”m eager to see what you post next, so I can live vicariously 🙂 🙂

  16. I’ll start by saying that I’m chuckling at the thought of you striking a bargain with Tip. I’m glad he kept you on-board without incident. The food sounds amazing. I’ am always impressed by cooks who can adapt to the food and conditions at hand and still come up with wonderful meals for large groups.

    I love the picture of the horses, excellent composition on that. I look forward to seeing more in future posts. This trip sounds like something my daughter would enjoy. I’ll have to share this post with her.

    1. LOL! I like to think Tip understood me. I’m so glad he kept me upright too!

      Penny is a wonderful cook, and what she can create in those Dutch Ovens of hers is delicious! She has a little cookbook which I bought!

      Thank you so much for the compliment on the image. The light that evening was gorgeous.

      Faith would love this trip!

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