Friday, February 15, 2013

Every Mile In Winter - Part 2

The three of us spent a long time at this pull-off before continuing further along the quiet and paved two lane highway that led through the forest.
I'm always drawn to the same things - water, snow, mountains, trees, endless blue sky in the winter.
Wyoming looks like a completely different world when it is filled with snow.
And there are no endless lines of tourists frantically snapping pictures.
They're gone at this time of year.  Back wherever home happens to be.
And all that is left is the few thousand hardy souls who live in an isolated western town that bills itself as the "Gateway to Yellowstone National Park".
We had this quiet world to ourselves, and while we explored the Shoshone National Forest LC and I relished in the absolute silence of this place...................
Looking back in the direction of Cody................
As soon as you get outside of Cody you are surrounded by interesting rock formations that continue non-stop for about 30 miles.
Eventually the rock formations stop.  More accurately they become hidden beneath the dense growth of pine tree covered, straight-up ski-country mountains...............
Back on the road again we eventually found what we had been looking for.
The big horn sheep come down from the mountains and spend the winter grazing in pastures close to the road.
In the summer they head deep into the mountains and completely disappear from human view for many months.
In the winter they are everywhere, herd after herd on the highway, beside the highway, in the pastures adjacent to the highway.
We love to see them and are always acutely aware of the fact that they are one of the reasons that winter in Wyoming is such a very special time of year.
They are so accustomed to seeing car traffic driving by, people pulling over to the side of the road, snapping pictures of them, that they typically glance briefly at would-be gawkers and then quickly go back to whatever they were doing.
This was the first herd that we found on this day and LC pulled off the road so that we could watch them and so that I could take pictures of these gentle animals..........
LC snapped the pictures above from inside the truck and only a few miles further down the wonderfully empty highway I climbed out of the truck to take pictures of this small herd that was quietly grazing deep in the center of a clump of sage bushes.
I was surprised to see them stop grazing for a few moments and watch me closely.
As I slowly circled them from a distance they continued to watch me rather than going back to their feeding as I had expected.
Realizing that I was disturbing these beautiful animals I turned back to the truck.
It was time to move on and leave this herd in peace..............
Click on any of the pictures and it will start a slide show of enlarge pictures.
As we continued further, the blue sky of the first half of our trip was replaced with the watery grey-blue winter sky of the mountains..................
They were everywhere.
Small herds scattered throughout the area, quietly grazing, quietly living, quietly surviving in the now empty-of-humans national forest...............
As we drove around a bend in the highway we unexpectedly came across a small herd standing right in the middle of the road.................

One kind word can warm three winter months.........Japanese Proverb

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