Don’t get Syked Out!

I’ve been visiting the Pryors off and on since 2010, and each time I go, I try to see more of the range. Sometimes it’s camping for longer, last time I spent more time hiking. This time, my dad and I rented a UTV so we could go up Burnt Timber and down Sykes.

For those of you that know the horse range, Burnt Timber is manageable. My dad and I went up it in 2011, and I had visited a few times since then, but the road deteriorates a little more each year. There’s a difference between going up it as the passenger, and being the driver, and although I had a little experience driving a UTV, I can’t recommend having someone learn on Burnt Timber.

The idea of going down Sykes made me apprehensive. Neither roads get maintained, but Burnt Timber seems clean compared to the loose rocks, curves, and steep hills of Sykes. I almost cautioned that we stick with Burnt Timber, but the idea of seeing views of the Dryhead, and potentially more Dryhead horses was too alluring. At least if the going got tough, my dad could take over as driver.

We reached the Dryhead overlook without seeing any sign of horses, but I also wasn’t expecting any until closer to the bottom. I considered having my dad drive the rest of the way, but I had made it this far I might as well keep going!

I’m horrible with estimating distances, but it didn’t feel too much further before we saw our first group of horses. They were Hamlet’s band, and it’s a bit of a conundrum for me about why they were so far down Sykes. I thought maybe Hamlet being a younger stallion, wanted to keep his mares away from competing bands, but if that were the case why weren’t they closer to the top of Sykes?

Hamlet with his mares Niobrara, Audobon, and Penn.

Hamlet with his mares Niobrara, Audobon, and Penn.

Niobrara was the only one interested in the people viewing her.

Niobrara was the only one interested in the people viewing her.

Although we didn’t see any Dryhead horses, and the steep hills are terrifying, going down Sykes was surprisingly fun. I can’t recommend it for the faint of heart, and you’d need to be a really confident driver to do it in something other than a UTV or ATV, but it’s an entire section of the range that not everyone gets to see. Being the driver rather than a passenger while going up Burnt Timber was something I’ve liked to do for a while, and driving down Sykes just added to the adventure.

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