I feel a tingling in my skin that gives me the feeling that I am going to be one crispy boy when I wake up tomorrow. I think back to this morning, before we hopped back into the truck, to Jordan telling me that he got the worst sunburn of his life on a day just like today. It's 75 degrees, with only a thin layer of cloud covering the sun. I choose to forget about it and just make it a problem for future me.
We descend from the main ridge artery that weaves it’s way through this desert, into yet another canyon. Jeff stands behind us, in the bed of the truck, scouring the horizon for anything that moves. I sit next to Forrest in the passenger seat. We’ve been driving around for 4 or 5 hours already with one simple goal. We’ve heard that there are wild horses out here. We want to see for ourselves. I hold a camera with a lens the size of an assault rifle in my lap, just in the off chance that we find these creatures. A primitive part of me wishes that it was an assault rifle so I could fire it above my head and feel like a badass.
At this point, it looks like it’s about to rain, which would be bad news for the Fray’s, still ripping around on their bikes just ahead of us. Only the piles of horse poop that speckle the crude path give us hope to keep driving. All we’ve seen so far is about 20 horse shaped bushes off in the distance. Jordan is really good at finding horse shaped bushes. But this canyon feels different than the others. There’s something more wild in the air here. Forrest mentions as we descend further that this feels like a wild horse kind of canyon.
We’re moving at a pretty substantial clip at this point, trying to dodge the rain. I stare down at my camera in a sunburnt, grumpy defeat. All of a sudden, Forrest grabs my shoulder, pointing out in front of us to Dr. Fray. He is accelerating, pointing enthusiastically to the hillside on our left. Jeff shouts from the truck bed “Look! Ten o’clock!!” Sure enough, there they are. A stallion, mare, and colt, at full gallop. They are only about fifty yards away, running in parallel with us, manes flashing between the sage brush. They are lean and muscular, shaped by the harsh landscape around us. We speed down the road right next to them for about a quarter mile till they shoot up the hill and disappear into the shrubbery. Jordan takes off up the hill on his bike. I have never wished I was riding a motorcycle so much in my life. The truck is far to large and clumsy to make it up the hill.
We park the truck and jump out, losing our minds over the beautiful animals we have just seen. Forrest notes that wild horses are referred to as mustangs. Jeff and I think that’s pretty badass, imagining 500 of those things packed into an engine. On our drive back home the next day, we see a horse farm off the highway. Forrest rolls down the window and screams “YOU’RE DIFFERENT!!!” to the bored, domesticated creatures munching on grass. They get the message, and keep munching on grass, slightly offended.