Monday, July 28, 2008

lil' bighorn

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.


Cassandra said...

I've always wanted to do that and never did. I really need to start checking off more things on my to do list! :P

Gorgeous picture, btw.


Julie K. Trevelyan said...

So true--do the things you want now, before it's too late! Or so my mother has often warned me, in dire tones. ;)

I still have about a bazillion things on my own to-do list...and I am eager to start making deeper inroads into those waiting adventures. Carpe diem!

chris said...

Ohhhhhh. Petroglyph's!!! Awesome!! That is one thing that I hope to see in person some day! Is this something that you can actually walk up to and touch (not that you should)or is it high above your head?

Theres just something about finding an ancient form of communication or artwork that makes me stand still and ponder those that came before us. I guess there really was life before the internet eh?

Take care! And please continue describing your adventures. We will live vicariously through you!