Friday, May 6, 2016

Big Horn Sheep Up at Tunnel Drive

We've had very nice weather this week.  Now that I am retired, my big outing most days is going for a walk with the dogs.  We walk the dogs every day but I don't always take photos.  Every once in awhile, my husband decides to skip the walk and I head to Tunnel Drive with the dogs and I bring my iPhone to snap photos.  I love it up at Tunnel Drive.

These amazing HUGE flowers grow up at Tunnel Drive. I have no idea what they are but they are enormous.  I have seen white ones and lavender/pink ones.  The exposure was a bit off in this photo but I just wanted to show them off. They seem to be a very hearty flower; they seem to do well growing in rocks and gravel!

I have been getting to the trail head before 7:00 am.  The morning light is GORGEous in the gorge.  Did I really just say that? Sorry.

Here are some more of those big flowers.

Also, a certain kind of cacti is blooming (the red flowers are stunning) but I've yet to get close enough to snap a good photo. I'll work on that.

Now, in the title of this post I said something about big horn sheep.  I have been seeing big horn sheep nearly each and every time I have been up at Tunnel Drive lately.  It is such a thrill.  Yesterday was quite exciting.  There was only one other car in the parking lot and I knew who it was (Barry from Australia), so I let the dogs run loose off the leash.  The dogs were acting so squirrely and running off way ahead of me.  I was concerned about big horn sheep so I got the dogs on the leash.  Good thing I did!  Just a little way up the path just before the entrance to the big tunnel, I heard something off the side of the trail.  I looked over the trail's edge in the direction of the river down below and I saw three or four big rams coming up the embankment toward us.  They looked at me for a few moments and then turned around and ran down the embankment. I loved the sound of their hooves; it was quite a rumble.  This took place near the entrance to the big tunnel, which you can see in the photo above. 

I ended up seeing some white tail deer yesterday too. On the way back to our car (the hike is two miles west into the canyon and then two miles back), I thought I'd try to look for the big horn sheep again, thinking they may be near the big tunnel. Sure enough, I found them sunning on top of the entrance to the big tunnel. There is one ram smack dab in the middle of the photo above. He's hard to see.  His upper torso, head, and horns are showing.

In the photo above, there are four rams.  This is the Colorado version of "Where's Waldo?"  You can click on the photo to enlarge it.

Below, I've zoomed in a bit and altered the filters to help you see the three rams on the right a bit  better. It's pretty easy to see the ram in the center of the photo and the ram on the right hand side of the photo, but there is a third ram on the left side of the photo; he's sitting farther back and he's facing to the side so you can really only make out his horns. 

Today we went on the same hike and the weather was even nicer.  I have been sort of mapping out where we've seen the big horn sheep along the trail.  Now I've learned to just watch the dogs.  They definitely have a "nose" for wildlife.  When I see them start to zig zag all over the trail and race ahead with their noses to the ground, I just have to call the dogs and take the leash from around my neck, and the dogs stop to be hooked up.  They are just awesome dogs.  Sure enough, today there were two instances in which I could tell the dogs had gotten the scent of the big horn sheep and I put the dogs on the leash.  In both instances, I eventually found the sheep.  But as you can tell, it's easy to miss them since the blend in so well.

I hope you are enjoying beautiful weather in your area.

I have a few new recipes to post. I guess I should get to that, this being a cooking/baking blog and all.

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