15. August 2010 17:57
Many people never see a Bighorn out in the Anza Borrego Desert. The once thriving Bighorn population has now dwindled to somewhere around 280 by official Park estimates. The Bighorns blend in very well with their environment and will stand still for hours making them impossible to see.
On two previous occasions we have been lucky enough to encounter the elusive Bighorn. The first time was two hours into a hike to the Goat Canyon Trestle, while our second encounter was with a bachelor herd of Bighorn rams near Indian Hill in the southern end of Anza Borrego.
Our latest encounter did not require a 3 hour hike and in fact occurred when Linda and I were leaving the Park. We had just spent the day in Indian Valley, unsucessfully hunting for a solstice cave, and were heading up the steep grade of the I-8.
I was looking down to see if my Landcruiser was getting hot (it has been overheating) and when I looked up there he was, a full adult male Bighorn Sheep. He crossed in front of our vehicle and headed off into the rocky terrain that lines the freeway.
Linda and I were dumbfounded and I quickly pulled off into the shoulder so we could snap some pictures. The ram looked back at us and then disappeared into the rocky terrain.
Bighorn Sheep Encounter Slide Show (JQuery)
Bighorn Sheep Photos are here.