Wild Beasts are the Best

Rocky Mountain Sheep

But he brought his people out like a flock; he led them like sheep through the wilderness.  He guided them safely, so they were unafraid; Isaiah 78:52-53 NIV

When you see wildlife on or near the road, what do you do? 

            The 1A, Bow Valley Parkway, is a back road between Banff and Canmore, Canada that parallels the Trans-Canadian Highway and Railway as well as shadowing the Bow River Valley.  It is a short trip, but you must drive slowly as the wildlife own this area.  The elk behind the fence along the Trans-Canadian highway was a foretaste of things to come. 

            As we marveled at the healthy green pine trees, the last of the yellow Larch evergreens and the quality of the road, we rounded a curve where a deer was eating the snow beside the road.  It scampered up and we slowed down and started looking.  There were pull offs to help keep you safe while you looked for animals.  We passed a ‘moose meadow’ without any moose, a massive burn scar and stopped to take a picture.  

            Less than a mile down the road –five mountain sheep were scampering on the sheer vertical rocks lining the road.  We stopped and watched in awe.  The ewes and lambs are quite large and stay together as a herd, until the male rams join them later in the season.   

            One of the younger sheep was struggling to get back up to the top of the hill where the rest of his tribe waited patiently.  After several running attempts up the cliff, it came and stood on the road.  This stopped traffic both ways as the youngster was nervous and unsure what to do.  I could not hear any sounds, but it kept moving toward lower rocks until…. 

            He ran hard, kept his footing and joined the herd at the top.  Their communication was clear to each other, “finally we can leave this area.”  There are too many cars and humans.  They turned their white butts to the human viewers and left. 

What is your favorite wildlife encounter?  How do you remember the event?  Fearful? Full of wonder? 

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