Our week was up at our Denver Inn. So, after a final breakfast we headed northeast, up, up, up to Estes Park - which is not a park, but is a sleepy little town just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park. We found our motel easily enough and then went exploring. There were loads of beautiful elk, the males were only just beginning to grow this year's antlers.
On day one we mostly drove around enjoying the sights. On day two, we were off find White-tailed Ptarmigan, one of the critter that I wanted to visit Colorado to see. Ptarmigan live above the timber line Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans - there was NO WAY we were getting that high up onto the mountain.
For the Rocky Mountains, winter is only just bundling up and moving along to make way for spring. All the wildlife looks a bit haggard; the elk need brushing and the Rocky Mountain Mule Deer - well it has to be said, they're just a mess.
We toured Rocky Mountain N.P. for two days before deciding 'It's beautiful but it sure isn't any Yellowstone'. Ok now, that's SPOILED for you. Really - it is beautiful, though. I'm happy to have seen it. Anyway, on our way out of the park we spotted cars piled up, which means there was wildlife a'foot! We checked out the slopes by the road and could just barely make out a critter on the cliffs above.
Yes! Through an ennsie space in the pines we could just about almost spot a stray member or two of a herd of Bighorn Sheep. I got out the 'big guns' (my camera w/telephoto) and waited for the sheep to move through the open space. Mind; none of this required me to do more than turn off the car engine and sit (in the car). Yes, Big Game Hunter Claire, the laziest camera hunter on the planet, was ready to very-nearly-almost stalk her quarry.
Barbara was patient. We sat for maybe twenty minutes and the sheep butt above was the best shot of the series.
Then Barbara did the UNTHINKABLE. She got OUT OF THE CAR! She walked maybe 25 feet behind the car and looked up the slope. What was sprawled all over the blasted hillside? Yes. SHEEP!
Who knew moving your own arse could amount to a better photo opportunity???? yeah, yeah, shut up about it already
We decided to skip a third day at Rocky Mountain N.P. so we could head to Southeastern Colorado where I could search for lifer birds. However, again, the Earth Mother had other plans. Barbara got a very sad phone call. Her boyfriend's little step granddaughter had passed away in the early morning. The child hadn't been sick, she died of accidental poisoning by one of her medications. Devistating news. We decided to cut our vacation short and head back to California immediately.