Yesterday morning I decided to head out to the Salt River area, just before sunrise. I was hoping to catch the rising sunlight along with some of the wild horses that have been in the area for years. Longer than that actually! The Tonto National Forest has been around since 1902 officially, but there’s evidence that they have been in the area since long before. It’s even thought that the Salt River Horses are descendants from a Spanish herd brought to the area in the seventeenth century.
When I arrived at the area, the first thing I noticed was how green the entire area was. In fact, this was the most greenery I can recall seeing in the area. We have had some decent rains though in the past six weeks, and it’s showing now. The shot below is from the top of one of the trails at Coon Bluff.
It’s a steep hike upwards, but a short one. There was lot’s of birds in the area, as there usually is during the early hours in this area. I observed a few cactus wren, a road runner, several phainopeplas, and a purple finch to name a few. In the shot above you can see the Salt River cutting through the landscape. In a few months, you won’t see much green except for the cactus and some random shrubs.
After taking in the view at the top for a little while, I headed downwards to see if I could spot any of the Salt River Horses. And I did! I spotted a small group of 3. They were all peacefully enjoying the morning warmth of the sun while enjoying some tasty green breakfast. The sun was rather bright, and there wasn’t much cloud cover, so I decided to focus on capturing the moment with some more intimate shots zoomed it. The warmth and glow of the scenes came through well on my final images, and I was very excited about that. Below you can see this gal feasting away!
For my final capture below you can see this girl without a care in the world. She’s just focused on the beautiful morning, enjoying a bite to eat, and letting her hair flail in the wind. We should all enjoy mornings like this. If you are heading out to observe these wonderful animals, please take caution and watch them from a distance (I was using a telephoto lens), and be aware of your surroundings. Don’t do anything to startle or disturb them. Finally, enjoy the Salt River Horses and all their graciousness from a distance and please be responsible with your camera.