So I led a ride down Pleasant Creek in Capitol Reef National Park today. This particular section of the creek is in a beautiful canyon, with huge sandstone walls towering overhead and plenty of petroglyph (rock art pecked into the rocks by ancients peoples who lived there) panels throughout. The creek meanders along in lazy manner, and the multi-toned hues of the cliffs against the intense blue of the sky invite quiet introspection.
I love that canyon, its beauty, its accessible remoteness (hmm, oxymoron?). We encountered no other humans on our little jaunt, which of course made sense, as few venture deeply into the more desertlike areas in high summer. And it did get warm, into the low 90s. But the with creek at our side or underfoot the entire time, and with the early afternoon clouds shadowing us, we managed just fine.
My favorite part of today's particular trip was our bighorn sheep viewings. We saw sheep twice. The first time two of them (females, we thought) burst out of some bushes lining the creek when we were in the cliffs above them, looking at petroglyphs and apparently making threatening noises. The way they leapt up the cliff! It was amazing. They must have super-sticky stuff on the bottoms of their hooves. No, really, you have to see it yourself to truly understand how these animals simply--glide up the rock face. As if it's nothing, as if gravity does not exist for them, as if they are walking on flat and level ground.
The second sighting involved about seven or eight of them, including two little ones, one of which was quite curious about us and peered down from her aerie perch, perhaps trying to determine what sort of foreign sheep we were. I wish I had pictures...but alas, I left my camera at home today! Oh well...memories of the cute lil' bighorn will just have to sustain me.