I’ve never seen a Big Horn Sheep in person, not until this weekend at least.
A friend and I had planned a four-day three-night camping trip to Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. I was expecting lots of hiking and beautiful landscapes but I hadn’t exactly thought about wildlife. The second day we were driving back to our campsite when we came across a large number of onlookers, pulled over on the side of the road. My friend immediately knew what was happening as she had experienced this same occurrence during previous visits to the park, so we, of course, pulled over and got out to stare.
“See the sheep?” she asked me.
“No,” I said back as I scanned the area in front of me and wondered why a fuzzy white sheep would be out in these parts.
“There see? Look for their white butts.”
And then as soon as the words left her mouth, I saw a furry white butt and the animal attached to it. And then another, and another, and another. A whole herd of butts or rather rams, scattered the rock outcropping before us.
I was awestruck.
I had never seen one ram before in real life, let alone a whole herd. We observed them from a safe distance but I could still feel the sense of power that was emanating from them. I’m not sure how long we stood there watching them graze and climb among the rocks but finally, the shared time with them ended as one ram trotted across the road and then another until the rest of the herd leaped from their places on the rocks and followed suit in full gallop finding greener grass on the other side.
The spell that held us onlookers was broken and everyone continued on there way. As we also returned to our car and drove past the grazing herd I couldn’t help but feel moved by the experience. To see such powerful animals, in the wild, doing what comes naturally to them was inspiring.
During the rest of our time in the valley, we would encounter these fellows a few more times and their presence was never taken lightly especially as the cracking of horns could be heard echoing off the red rock that they so easily claimed as their home. Oh, they also became easier to spot now knowing that when the cracking of horns could be heard, I could scan the cliffs for white butts and there they would be.
(Rams In The Wild)
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