Thursday, May 10, 2012

Call me the bighorn whisperer.

Folks, this blog post is a true work in progress, because I just have a few short
minutes to post- I am picking up my buddy and fellow blogger Lee Murray and
we are heading up to the Big Bear area in the southern California mountains, to
go to the Aspen Grove and Fish Creek area to do some photography.

Yesterday I made it back to Big Morongo Canyon Preserve where I found it much hotter, but still full of bighorn sheep! Amazingly, again I found no one on the canyon trail, but I did meet a great guy, Carl, who after talking with me for a few minutes, starting running up the canyon ridge trail! I haven’t run like that since someone tried to take off with my bucket of KFC and that almost killed me. I think Carl was running the whole thing from the Yucca Ridge trail and then finishing up by taking the very steep west canyon trail back to the parking lot.
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Thanks Carl for the great visit and I hope we meet up on the trail again one day!

So after Carl took the other trail, I continued on down the canyon trail, a man
on a mission, not to be denied, and I wasn’t!
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Below is another shot of bighorn nearby at a rock outcropping.
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End of post for now, I have to get gas for the car and go pick up my friend. More later today as time permits
to update. There will be video also.

On this day, I came across the bighorn herd before the 1.5 mile marker. I spotted one on the hillside off to the right of the trail, about where you cross the
stream(when it is running.) I tried to get a photo of that lone sheep but had no
luck, going a little farther, I got the shots above, as well as a few others.
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What’s up?
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I would like to know what they one is saying, to have them all listening so intently.
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Bighorn sheep evidently gossip too!
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You looking at me?

I decided to try to move in a little closer so what I did was climb this little mound of earth and rock by the 1.5 mile marker, to get a better view. Once there I made a video plus took a couple more photographs. My next decision was to head down the path and then to sneak around the base of the hillside to try to get a little closer to the herd.
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The above panorama was taken as I moved in closer from the trail. The bighorns are primarily located by the rock outcropping on the right side. By clicking on this photo, it will open in a new window, where you hopefully can enlarge it to see them.
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These next few photos were taken as I tried to get a little closer to the rocky outcropping. I managed to get within sixty yards or so, behind a creosote bush. Trust me on this folks, those bighorn sheep knew exactly where I was at all times, but really did not seem that concerned with my presence.
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I am definitely being given a message in the next photo, which I got loud and clear.
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Below is another photo of the big boss man!
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The next shot is the last one I took as I heeded the big boss man’s friendly advice and decided to get out of the heat and head back up the trail to the cottonwood tree shaded parking lot. It was a great reunion, for sure.
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As mentioned earlier, I did take a few videos which I will post soon in another post here on the backporch. Some are shaky, but some aren’t. I will only post the clearest ones so that you don’t waste too much of your time.

Boy, the hike back up to the parking lot was hot, hot, hot. It was in the mid to high 90’s F and the sun was relentless, bearing straight down upon me. My spirits were high though, buoyed by the meeting, two out of three days with the
same bighorn herd deep in the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, far from the madding crowds and only witnessed by me, first hand, and all you guys by the magic of the internet. I really wish you guys had seen this. It really was something special. After all, it isn’t every day that this sort of thing happens to anybody, much less the same people.

I think that I know what to look for now and to listen for when searching for the elusive bighorn sheep out in the wild. I hope to see more of them in the future, you guys will be the first to know.

One final thought. Both days that I was here and observed the bighorns, I saw several photographers with tripods, big slr cameras with gigantic long telephoto lenses, set up and waiting patiently up at the parking lot, photographing woodpeckers or whatever; after all, Big Morongo is one of the foremost birding spots in the whole world- I guess it never interested them or even occurred to them, to go looking for the bighorns.

I probably would have stayed up with the birds too, rather than carry those giant cameras and lenses about 3 and 1/2 miles up and down the hill, in 90’s weather.

Oh well, we will have to do with the shots here taken with my little digicam, I guess.Winking smile

Remember, videos in a day or so as well as a few words about my trip up to the mountains today.

So don’t forget to stop in again and have a visit with us here on the backporch.



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