As promised, there were a few items in the flora and fauna world I thought I'd share from my time in Wyoming. Though I spent considerable time in the more remote areas, the most prevalent creature that I had contact with, the closest contact, was...
They were everywhere, doing what they do....free-ranging. I actually expected to see cattle in the more open areas but I was continually surprised at the elevations and in the dense forest settings that I saw them. It wasn't only seeing them but coming upon them in the road and often in the middle of the road.
I've spent a lot of time around Angus cattle...cows, their calves and even time around some bulls. Almost always just curious, they may stand and look, then walk away or bolt, but seldom any direction other than away. I came around a corner and met this guy and he just stood, centered in the road. He had a look of defiance; experience and something about the way he stood there told me that I should just be patient. We had a standoff; he looking at me as if to say, "I've got all the time in the world, how about you?" At that place and point in time, I did as well. I turned off the bike, still sitting on it and just looked at him. When he did finally start to move, I pulled out my camera and took his photo. His brood of cows and calves had long since left the roadway.
Due to his stubborn behavior, I decided to call him Agnes....he reminded me of one that I knew.
In the Medicine Bow Forest, this ride too me past over a dozen of these little gatherings of cattle....I'd pass one group of a dozen or so, then a bit further, another group of the same size. A general rule of thumb seemed to be, every other group would have a bull prominently present. For the most part, the bulls lazily walked off the road with the rest of the herd.
These 2 big bulls were having a scuffle and it went on for quite some time. I stayed back; their location an intersection of roads I decided not to navigate further.
Again, these cattle in these very steep locations, often more woodsy to me than grassy, were quite a surprise. We often had trouble rounding cattle up when we could see them. I can't imagine getting these Angus out of these locations when the weather turns....these aren't little paddocks.
On the way out of Wyoming that Thursday, listening to Wyoming Public Radio, I heard an interview that really interested me. Now at home, I found the exact same news item online here. The Omega 3-rich grass at the higher elevations makes for richer, better tasting beef. More and more beef is being 'finished' on grass rather than on grain, something Wyoming is hoping to use in its favor. Check out at least one side of the story if you're curious.
Thought this was very interesting.....I stopped nearby for a granola/water break and happened to notice these two large fungi growths; both of them easily stood out with all of the greens and browns that surrounded them. What caught my eye was that both of them, within only inches, were sections of vertebrae. This can't possible be merely chance, can it???
Bison......there was this one that was quite far from his mates (at least as far as we knew), appearing after I'd stopped for a bit of quiet along the Yellowstone River. There were many in Hayden Valley, some of them very close, there was the Yellow Stripe Walker but most that I saw, the "herd" numbers were far off in the distance.
The buffalo weren't exactly the novelty to me that they were to most of the other park visitors. For years, our next door neighbor had a decent sized heard right next door (75 yards from our house to the property line). Often the herd next door was even closer....One year we hosted Easter dinner for our extended family, a houseful. Just ready to sit down at the table, one of our guests looked outside and informed the group, "there's a buffalo in your vegetable garden." There was indeed and that wasn't the only time.
Our neighbor, concerned about our family's small kids, often warned us about watching for the large animals' tails to go up, almost a wave. When that happens, it's a sign that something, possible something quite dramatic is about to take place. We don't miss them next door, other than when the calves were born in the spring; that made us laugh and smile. Their bounding leaps and running speed making circles around the cows and bull was something to see. Did you know that 2/3 of a buffalo's mass is on its front legs?
The early morning sun in these burned/diseased tree woods was a glorious rainbow of color. Places where the green grass, yellow, purple and red flowers (the best I got...no idea what the species are) were simply beautiful.
I never saw bears though they maybe saw me. As far as I know, this was as close as I got; my size 12 against what this one left behind.
On a much smaller scale, though much more dangerous (it's a matter of scale)......Dragonfly vs. Horse Fly. I came back to my open tank bag and saw this sequence....
Horse fly there....
Horse fly gone....
It was fascinating and pretty out there.