The Wild Horses of the Estrellas
Historically there is one big animal that is linked to the Estrellas: The bighorn sheep. From anient times they have both challenged and filled the pots of the Pimas. There is a page here about the Bighorn, but let's move on to the other critter that has taken us residence around the Estrellas.
As a kid in the 50s and 60s I don't remember any wild horses in the plains below the Estrellas. Maybe they were there all the time, maybe not. My guess is that in the 70s and 80s enough horses strayed from the Pima and Maricopa communities along the Gila on the East side of the Estrellas to form at least one regular wild horse herd. And wild they are! The Pimas of the Gila River Community even named their gaming center "Wild Horse Pass Casino," which was probably better than the initial idea of calling it "Take the stupid pale faces to the cleaners Casino" (Bad joke, but true. I certainly don't blame the Indians, better them than Lost Wages city. Besides, they make it fun! Visit the Casino down off 59th Avenue, below Laveen, and then go see historic St John's and Saint Catherines churches).
In February 2003 I was out in the dessert in the plains below Montezuma Head and there the were: a heard of about 6-7 animals. They were really cool, and they sure didn't let me get close - not more than 100 yards. It is kind of strange seeing wild horses grazing among the Carnegiea Gigantea (saguaros to us common folks). Evidently there is enough water and grass along the Gila River bottom and other food and grazing further up to keep them in pretty good shape. There were not skin and bones, for sure. They was at least one stallion, always checking us out, and one smaller colt. They were true magnificent when they would take off at a full gallop when we tried to approach.
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