Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Double D Ranch - Part 3

As we gradually moved back down from mountain country to hill country to eventually pasture land (that was surrounded by the very familiar sight of BLM land) we began to see more animals - a ground hog, then deer, then buffalo, and finally antelope.
We spoke to someone the day after our trip up to the Double D and she was amazed that we had not seen grizzlies because she sees them during almost every trip to that area.
Not surprisingly they are abundant in the area, particularly as you continue to wander dirt roads further away from civilization and deeper into the mountains.
I can only assume that it was because we traveled with so many people.  If I were a bear I would stay away from a convoy of vehicles and multiple excited voices..............

I saw the small wooden fenced area and the white sign as we were almost on top of it, and asked LC to stop and to back up so that I could what the sign said.
I had not noticed it during our trip into the mountains and wondered how I could have missed it the first time.
As my Mountain Boy put the truck into reverse and backed up to the sign I realized that I was looking at a grave site.
More than a century old.
A young man - a boy really - who had died much too soon.
Sad.  So incredibly sad....................
I took a number of pictures of both deer and antelope during our return trip.
Some of them are much too faded because I had to zoom in too far with my little digital camera.
Most of the pictures that look as though they are simply landscapes are actually pictures of deer or antelope we saw in fields on the way back to Meeteetse.
If you click on any of the pictures they will all enlarge.................
On the way in we had seen first a healthy herd of huge male buffalo on the left of us, and a few minutes later I smiled to myself when I saw a very large herd of females with their young, located in a large pasture on our right.
Being part of a long convoy of Double D visitors, we did not have a chance to stop and take pictures of these beautiful animals, and both LC and I resolved to stop on the way home.
When we reached the pasture where the females and babies had been we were both disappointed to see that they were gone.  Most likely moved to another pasture.
Traveling only a few more minutes we saw that the males were still where we had left them.
They were all massive and I had not seen buffalo since last summer, so for a few moments after we stopped on the side of the road I looked over at them and wondered internally whether or not the wild ones we had seen last year were this big.
Was it just that I had not seen them in a while and had forgotten how enormous they were?  Maybe.
Was it that this was a domestic herd who therefore did not have to travel long distances, did not have to work for food, did not face the challenges that wild herds faced?  Also maybe.
I was not certain, but these  prehistoric looking, healthy looking and huge animals left me speechless.
Finally breaking the spell they had held over me for a long while I lifted my camera to take pictures of them.
Again, most were too far away so these pictures are lighter and more blurry than I would like.
Regardless, I was pleased to see them, and pleased to rekindle my overwhelming awe of these animals.............
A doe with two little ones still bearing their spots..............
When LC stopped the truck on the bridge spanning the river the momma raised her head and was instantly on alert, while her two little ones continued to drink from the stream.
Although we stayed in the truck to take these pictures the doe must have quickly decided that she did not like the looks of us.
Less than a minute after we had stopped the truck, in the middle of the road and in the middle of the bridge, momma nervously turned and headed in the opposite direction.
One baby quickly caught up to momma, with the other sibling lagging behind.
These animal interactions were numerous throughout this miles long section of pasture land before hitting the highway back to Meeteetse and then eventually Cody.
Numerous interactions..........with animals always gone just as fast as they had appeared.............
Most of the oil rigs that we see in Wyoming are located on barren land that I have described in the past (only partially joking) as looking like the Afghan-Pakistani border region.
No trees, little if any water, lots of rock and sand and scrub, desolate.
And so it was very surprising to find a handful of rigs on land that contained trees and grass and water....................
We saw three or four herds of antelope grazing out in the fields, only a couple of miles from the highway.
These funny looking creatures are VERY fast - and VERY skittish.
No matter how far away from them you are, if you stop your truck on the side of the road they are instantly alert.
It only takes one in the herd to break into a run and immediately the rest are running as well.
I tried unsuccessfully to capture pictures of a running herd when we first saw them.
All I got were random pictures of a couple of antelope legs here, or a full head and a half a head there.
Although they were a long way from us I eventually did get some pictures of both adults and babies...............
One last picture of the beginning of the mountains..............
And one last picture of a massive, muscular, male buffalo...................

Man's heart away from nature becomes hard............Standing Bear

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