The wide open spaces of the Great Basin Desert offer many surprises if a traveler is not hypnotized by the seemingly endless desolate landscape when passing through. When driving long stretches of desert roads that have very few stopping points, it is all too easy to fall into a hypnotic state. Listening to the monotonous sound of tires rolling on the asphalt or hearing the same songs on the radio played over and over again will result in a trance like state. The focus then shifts to the interior of the car or deep inner thoughts and the scenery starts to pass by like a blur. During these lapses in time, opportunities to catch a glimpse of an interesting singular event will happen less often.
During a trip from Las Vegas to historic Virginia City I was definitely hypnotized by the road by the time I was going north on Highway 95A from Walker Lake. When approaching Silver Springs, all it took was seeing some old abandoned business buildings to perk things up again, because these relics of the past do make good photo opportunities. After taking a few pictures of the old Bait Farm Saloon karaoke sign, I just could not get over how funny this tourist trap business theme was and this definitely livened the moment up!
Silver Springs is basically a small ranching community that has a major highway intersection. There are a few small casinos that attract folks that pass through on the way to Carson City, Lake Tahoe or Reno. There really is not much more to this town and I originally just intended to pass through with no stops, like so many other travelers do. Luckily, I was no longer hypnotized by the road and I caught a glimpse of a small herd of horses standing outside of a fenced area. After doing a u-turn to take a second look to confirm whether these were in fact wild horses, the assumption turned out to be right on the money. The herd of horses had that bohemian look of never being groomed, so so they were indeed wild!
This herd of wild horses certainly was a stealthy bunch, because they gathered in a field right that looked like a farm across the street from a busy casino, but this field was just a barren industrial park lot. The nearby fences made the farm field illusion look real, so the horses looked natural standing there out in the open. Motorists on the highway must have thought the field was part of a horse farm, because they just kept on passing by without bothering to stop and take notice. The long shaggy manes on the horses and their wary nature was the clue that brought their stealthy shield down. Obviously this group of wild horses were some smart animals and they had to be, because there were a few newborn foals in tow.
Wild horses are pretty smart animals and they have a keen sense of finding places to hide in plain sight. These wild horses seemed like they were used to hanging around in this open field and watching cars just pass by was their daily thing to do. One of the horses looked kind of puzzled when I pulled off the road a few hundred yards away and started taking pictures. It was as if the horse realized that the herd’s cover was finally blown!
Spring and early summer is when wild horses start bringing their newborn foals out into the open. There were two young foals in the herd of wild horses that I photographed up by Silver Springs and the baby horses were still nursing on the mare’s milk. Baby wild horses certainly are a cute sight to see and the photos are pure inspiration!
All that can be said is that it pays to stop and smell the roses when traveling long distances in the Great Basin Desert. Breaking away from the hypnotic state that occurs while driving will lead to more opportunities to notice more of what is happening on the other side of the car window. If I was only focused on the road ahead while driving to Carson City because of fatigue, I probably would never have stopped to check it out, just like so many others do. As is was, the opportunity get some nice photos of some stealthy Nevada wild horses was the reward for staying alert!
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