Bighorn sheep in Yellowstone National Park

Big horn sheep photoI’d look this cool and collected if I were a bighorn sheep.  Their noggins are built for impact and their sure footed alpinists.  They make better mountain dwellers than we do that’s for sure.

My wife was 8 months pregnant with our first son who just turned 5 last week.  We decided to make the trek to see her family in Wyoming by way of Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park.  It would be a 10 day car tour which had me sketched a bit given my wife’s condition at the time.

The roads opened for the season in Yellowstone the day we had planned to leave Jackson and head north.  It was perfect timing.

Well, the timing wasn’t perfect.  2008 was something of a record year for snowfall and most of the drive through the southeast quadrant of Yellowstone was nothing more than a drive through a maze cut from the 10+ feet of snow that still blanketed most of the Park.

But we made the most of it.  The obligatory stop at Old Faithful was a highlight for me and we did see a few roadside waterfalls.  Of course, we couldn’t go much beyond the 2 foot shoulder next to the car but it was cool nevertheless.

As we approached the east gate of the Park, we spotted a group of animals off to the right.  A mountain goat was working his way along a cliff band about 150 feet above the valley floor and as we drove closer we could see a small group of bighorn sheep sunning in the field just beyond the road.

It was strange to find a area in the Park that wasn’t still at the mercy of the snowfall but apparently these bighorns knew about this place too.  They took in the afternoon sun and didn’t seem bothered by my childish giggle and sense of amazement.  I quickly snapped a few shots and we were on our way.

I like to think that this bighorn sheep photo was an offering from Mother Nature herself as a tradeoff for the rest of the Park being literally off limits.

Plus, it guarantees that I will have to revisit Yellowstone National Park.  And that is most certainly not a bad deal.

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