Bighorn Sheep (part 1)

While visiting Colorado National Monument, one of the highly touted things to see was Bighorn Sheep. After not seeing any the first day, Rich and I went for a nice long hike the next morning to see if we could maybe find any while getting further away from the road and the crowds. After a couple hours of not seeing any, we turned back as the clouds started rolling in and the threat of rain steadily increased until it finally broke and we finished the hike in the rain (just enough to get wet but not thoroughly soaked).

Disappointed, we started the drive back through the park towards our next destination in Grand Mesa. The rain got steadily worse and the windy road along the cliffsides through the monument was a bit more nerve-wracking. As we rounded a bend, I saw a couple cars stopped up ahead and wondered what was going on…

It turns out there were some Bighorn Sheep right there on the road! I quickly found a place to park and grabbed the camera and got out.

Things started out fairly calm with most of these sheep being smaller or females that did not appear intimidating at all. At one point a somewhat larger one walked by and I thought it might be the male. But a few seconds later the male appeared and it made all the others seem tiny in comparison – especially in terms of its horns. It was at that point that I realized I was going to be stuck between it and my car when it walked by and there wasn’t enough time to move or to even try getting in the car (I didn’t want to startle it by trying to open the doors). I took some photos as it trotted by but they were all blurry and way too close and I didn’t keep them – mainly I was hoping it didn’t decide I was a threat that needed to be rammed with those huge horns. So tune in tomorrow for some more photos including some of the large ram.

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