It’s not very often we see big horn sheep. But this past week we went out to take pix of the snow and ran into a herd of big horn sheep, including 7 babies. Woohoo!
I can probably count how many times I have seen big horn sheep on 1 hand. They are one of the less common big animal encounters. We were lucky enough to not only see big horn sheep, but babies… and in snow on top of that. It was like a 3-fer.
It made my day, if not my year! I was very happy to have a positive jolt of goodness in what has been a difficult time for us personally. You take joy where you can get it.
After a long dry monsoon season and cold barren winter our forecast seemed bleak. We were desperate for some precipitation and moisture for our thirsty forest. The weather guys swore we were really in for it… Monday, no Tuesday, wait maybe Thursday, or Friday. Nothing. For sure Saturday. It seemed everyone else started getting it, but we were passed by. Flagstaff was getting pounded we heard. Hmmm. We got maybe 4″, and were waiting for this monster storm.
Finally, Monday the storm hit. Over the course of Monday and Tuesday, we finally got some much needed snow. It came and came, yay! We figure we got around 24″ all together. It’s hard to say exactly, as the winds were blowing so hard, drifts were high, and actual measures were difficult to estimate.
No matter. We are happy to have it. I guess good things come to those who wait.
We were lucky enough to see this beautiful herd of big horn sheep as we left Alstrom Point. We saw the herd in the distance, so drove ahead of them, and I walked out behind a rock to see if I could sneak up on them. I’m not sure who was more surprised when we saw each other as I crotched down from behind a ridge – me or them. It was a fantastic moment.
Admittedly, I am not a big fan of coyote. They are scavengers and corral & hunt my precious deer and elk. So I’m just as happy not to see any. But I did this year, and got a decent photo that makes the cut.
We don’t see many fox, so I was thrilled when we saw this pup this year. So cool!
All babies are cute, especially the 4 legged animal variety!
Speaking of babies… it was super cute to get so see this affectionate family of javelina with new born babe.
And elk baby, or calf.
The next best thing to new animals (at least for us), or baby animals, are those big boys… elk bulls
The cuter and better expression, the better!
I got a ton of chipmunk pix this year, they were just too darn cute.
Deer Doe and fawn
And finally, pretty much any animal in the snow. Just wish we had more of it!
We have had more trips cancelled this year than we have gone on. Such is the year 2020.
We had put off our trip to Alstrom Point, overlooking Lake Powell, due to weather. Not bad weather, but too much blue sky! With little rain or clouds on the horizon, a beautiful typical AZ blue sky can be less than photogenic.
So when forecasts for clouds came out, we packed up and headed out. Unfortunately, there were none. While we were there, the weather forecast called for clouds the next day (when previously it had called for Clear and Sunny). So we stayed another day. All we got was more blue sky. So we headed for home.
On the way home though, we were gifted with a great little surprise: big horn sheep.
I anticipated where they were headed and stalked into them. Fantastic.
Workman’s Creek in Gila County, resides in the Sierra Ancha Wilderness. It is along a long dirt road 25 miles from Young to the North; or 30 miles from Globe to the South.
The two hundred foot falls drop down to the ground below cascading over rocks along the overgrown creek bed. With little rain this season, the falls are not running.
We weren’t here to see the Falls… or Workman’s Creek. We came to check out Aztec Peak, which continues on the road past the falls (if the gate is open).
Aztec Peak is the highest point in the Sierra Ancha Wilderness. We were greeted by hazy skies from the smoke in the valley below. The 21,000 acre Salt Fire, the 5,000 acre Meddler Fire, the 9,000 Medicine Fire and the 62,000 acres Griffin Fire, all contributing their fair share of smoke. At night we could see the glow of the fires burning, the closest only 5 miles away from us.
The views from the Peak were terrific, though mired by the smoke and haze. It is definitely worthy of another trip, despite the long drive.
Just outside of Green’s Peak in a beautiful peaceful little lake called Carneros Lake. While it’s difficult to fish from the shore due to its shallow depths and many reeds, it is popular to launch a canoe and fish from its waters.
But we go for the peaceful allure, the sunset / sunrise from the water’s edge, and the numerous waterfowl that frequent its water.
We loved watching the osprey fish… diving from the sky, crashing into the water and pulling up fish. I should have brought my big lens, but got a couple shots I had to crop. I’ll have to go back with the big lens next time.
When I wasn’t enjoying the osprey, coots, or blue heron I was entertained by the little chipmunks gathering pinecones.
Carneros Lake is beautiful respite and peaceful environment with free entertainment to boot. I can’t wait to go back.
Our elk baby sightings have been fleeting since the Tinder Fire hit us two years ago now…. that is, until now.
I was so excited to see a herd of elk momma’s with babies in tow. Seeing their tired and beat up bodies, I wondered that their absence wasn’t so much the fire, as predators. One elk baby had a gash across her back that was bigger than she was. It’s amazing she survived whatever attacked her.
Watching their interactions and cute newness, was a real joy.
I hope they’ll be back, and bring their babies with. I can never get enough of these precious animals… they just make my heart feel good.