Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Summit of Mount Evans

My afternoon excursion at the NANPA Regional Event was the summit of Mount Evans, one of Colorado's 14,000 peaks. The highest auto road in the United States winds its way to the top of the peak. Photographers know it as one of the most predictable places to photograph mountain goats.

Mountain goats and big horn sheep like to lick the de-icing salt off the path to the bathrooms. While people going to and from the bathrooms disturb them from their salt lick, they usually come right back for more. I was fortunate in getting a seat on one of the large rocks and happily spent time photographing first a billy mountain goat and then a group of big horn sheep ewes and yearling lamb.

At this time the billy goats hang out by themselves. this particular billy was skittish and left shortly after I set up.

Shortly after he left, I heard a voice cry out, "Here come the sheep!" A group of about five big horn sheep ewes and a couple of yearlings came over and began to get their salt intake. They were not perturbed by the people, but would startle onto the more photogenic rocks above the pathway.

Apparently big horn sheep bleach out their color in the winter giving them this whitish appearance and then their coats darken during the summer.

Occasionally they would scatter in the opposite direction, giving me some opportunities for photographing "wildlife in their environment." This photo gives you one of the panoramic views from the top of Mountain Evans.

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