Little did we know when we headed out in the Jeep today that we would see one of the rarest and most astounding sights in the desert: a small herd of Bighorn Sheep. We were creeping along in the Jeep, stopping occasionally to grab a geocache, when we rounded a corner and saw the grand heads of two young rams. I was so excited and afraid of scaring them that I turned off the Jeep without even putting it in park. We slowly drew the camera out of its bag and started shooting pictures through the windshield. They spooked and ran down the wash, only to exit on the other site in full view.
Meanwhile, we spotted more bighorns on the hill next to us, including one who was resting and a massive ram standing nearby. It gave me chills to see them.
Carefully I put the telephoto on the camera and climbed out of the Jeep. The rams didn’t seem too concerned about my approach and kept grazing on any vegetation that was available, including the hard branches of dead shrubs. But what really caught my eye was the Big Daddy, slowly climbing atop a ridge very close to me and standing at the top, almost as if he was posing. He blended in with the background so well that the Nikon wasn’t smart enough to auto focus. But I finally got it dialed in and took some amazing shots of him in all of his grandeur.
There were 12 rams in all, traveling as a bachelor herd with plenty to browse on after the big winter rains. We watched as they climbed the hillside, covered in loose rock, with ease, grazing all the while. Then, after having their fill, they all sat down to rest and chew their cud. Big Daddy made his way to the top of the ridge and slowly settled himself down to watch over his boys and those funny looking people in the yellow Jeep.
After years of hoping to see one of these animals, it was hard to climb back in the Jeep and leave them behind. But the bighorn deserve their privacy, so off we went to our next big find.
Tags: desert bighorn sheep