Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Sighting of Desert Bighorn Lamb Topped Day of Superlatives at Anza Borrego


©Bert Gildart: For Eric Hansen and me the day could not have started out better! About a half hour after departing our camp at Pegleg, we found ourselves driving through a rugged portion of Anza Borrego Desert Park on our way to Indian Hill (also a rugged). Though the sun was just barely peeping over the horizon, as we rounded a  steep curve not far from one of the park’s major passes,  Eric, who is always on the lookout for bighorn sheep, hollered: “Bert! Up there on that cliff.  A ewe and a lamb.”

Sheep-1

Distant sighting of young lamb topped day of superlatives at Anza Borrego.


For my Montana friends familiar with sheep biology, mark down February 17. Here ewes give birth in mid February, not early June as they do in Glacier National Park. But the conditions are similar. Both desert bighorns and Rocky Mountain bighorns seek out the most rugged terrain they can find, and this ewe was no different, for the high pass was about as rugged as you can find. Similarly, young seem born with protective camouflage, blending as they do almost perfectly in color with the surrounding rocks.

How do the ewes known to find terrain that so perfectly matches their young? And how did we know this lamb was just born?

Though I can’t answer the first question, the fact that the lamb still retained a shriveling umbilical cord was proof positive. More than likely this tiny lamb was no more than four- to five-days old – if that.


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Click to see expanded caption and for larger image.

The photographs I made were all taken from the road and from a distance as well. The pair showed no concern responding to our presence simply by moving behind a creosote bush. We drove on to our day’s objective, which was Indian Hill, a remote section of the park.

CENTURY PLANTS

Our goal was to find a unique set of pictographs, and though we were unsuccessful, we were highly successful in other ways. Several agave plants were in bloom, meaning that a long life is about to end. Though also called “Century Plants,” most likely they grow but 35 to 50 years, finally, putting forth flowers at life’s end. Several had completed their life span and were now – at long last — flowering. Not only were the yellow blossoms gorgeous, but they were attracting bees and hummingbirds, and, so, were serving another function.


Rocks in the Indian Hills area also created interesting patterns, which I photographed. As well a railroad track reminded us that the rocks were once an impediment for those constructing the Carrizo George Railway. Evidence of past construction was manifest and we found a now deteriorating wall that had been built, in part, with explosive cans.

Rocks-1Explosives-1Railroad-2


Click to see expanded caption and for larger image.

But the rocks were not an impediment to all, and once served as ancient Indian shelters and as sites for the creation of pictographs. And though we couldn’t find any that’s not all bad for the country was gorgeous, meaning that we have an excuse to return.

And then, of course, there was our rare sighting of the new-born desert bighorn lamb, which really topped the day.


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THIS TIME THREE YEARS AGO:

Gator Drama in Shark Valley

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One Response to “Sighting of Desert Bighorn Lamb Topped Day of Superlatives at Anza Borrego”

  1. Bob Baran Says:

    Hi again Bert,
    See you found the railroad construction camp near Indian Hill. Awesome. Did you find that huge pile of old tin cans?

    Great that you got to see a baby Bighorn Sheep.

    Best,
    Bob
    Leucadia

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