Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

Last September, while Judy and I were in Colorado, we took the cog train up to the top of Pike's Peak, a 14,000+ foot mountain. On the way down we spotted a herd of four Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep ewes. They were well above tree line, probably above 13,000 feet. At least two were marked with bright yellow collars.
The same bighorns, but a rump shot.
The Rocky Mountain bighorn, below, was photographed on Mt. Washburn in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
This is a blown up version of the picture above.
Another picture of the same bighorn.
As a teenager, or perhaps in my young twenties, on a backpacking trip in the Uinta Mountains of eastern Utah, I heard (from tumbling rocks) and briefly saw a bighorn sheep going up a steep slope of a mountain above us. In August 2010, I took Sam and Andrew on a hiking trip to Colorado. The first day we drove to the top of 14,000+ foot Mount Evans. There we encountered dozens of bighorn sheep:
all above tree-line
and many above 14,000 feet.
They were all ewes,
young rams or lambs.
Someone said that the rams are isolated by themselves this time of year. We saw one group of over 20
and were able to get extremely close to them.
It was a Yellowstone-like experience,
except that the bighorn sheep I saw at Yellowstone were much farther away than these we saw on Mount Evans.

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