Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Spur of the Moment Trip To Joshua Tree National Park and Bighorn Sheep

by Steve Reiss (Dalmdad Landscape Photography - www.dalmdad.com and https://www.facebook.com/Dalmdad.)

It was very spur of the moment that I decided to go an overnight trip to the desert.  We had pretty much just gotten back from China.  But, I got some sudden inspiration to go to Roy's to get some subject matter on the novella/short story I am writing that takes place at Roy's in Amboy.  As I am so infrequently inspired, I forced myself to take advantage of the moment.

Before entering Joshua Tree NP, I decided to browse one of the few gift shops outside the park in Joshua Tree Village near the intersection of CA-62 and Park Blvd.  I was looking for something screaming "bighorn" sheep.  All I could find was a measly ceramic coaster for $8.

This coaster, though hand made in Arizona, cost substantially less than the jade bighorn sheep we brought back from China.

I headed down Park Blvd to the Park's West Entrance.  I pulled out my wallet to prepare to pay the admission fee, but the ranger told me that because it was Veteran's Day, park admission was free today.

Then, not 50 yards in the park and from the park entrance, I saw a ranger with binoculars to his eyes looking out into the field.  And then, like a treat from above, in a clearing to the west, was a large herd of bighorns; our favorite animal.  I think that this was the first time I ever saw any bighorns at Joshua Tree.

I counted about 25 in the herd.  The official Joshua Tree website says that there are only about 250 bighorn sheep in the 1200+ sq. miles that the park covers.  So, this herd was nearly 10 percent the entire park population seen at one time.  What a great sight!.

Bighorn Herd, Seen Nov. 11, 2014


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