Thursday, June 2, 2011

Springtime in the Rockies

Ah Spring--my favorite season, other than fresh ripe tomatoes! Greg and I took advantage of the one nice day the weatherman has offered lately and visited the National Bison Range, a wildlife refuge an hour north of home. The especially rainy Spring has brought out wildflowers bigtime, especially the dramatic arrow-leafed balsamroot with spectacular daisy blossoms and lovely gray-green leaves. As we drove the windy gravel road through the refuge, we also came across a mule deer doe with newborn twin fawns and a mother pronghorn with her single fawn. The pronghorn have learned that coyotes, the main predator on their fawns, stay away from the road, so the pronghorn give birth near the roads.

I've always loved visiting wild places for the sense of possibility they offer. You never know what you'll find; it's all luck. One very hot late summer day, my photographer, Bill Muñoz, and I drove the Bison Range but feared we'd see little in the dry summer heat. Besides a bear and a weasel, we had a special surprising treat--we saw two bull elk in the river, plunging their heads into the water and pulling up plants, their antlers draped with vegetation--that's usually the way one sees moose, not elk!