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Taos Winter Solstice 2020

I had a bit of Taos Magic today: With my binoculars I sighted two bighorn sheep resting on a grassy area across the Rio Pueblo gorge on the western flank. That’s my first time seeing bighorn at rest.

The shortest day of the year turned out to be a beautiful day and very warm. I got the house clean and all squared away with a gluing project that needed to set and then I headed south to the Overlook Trail. It’s a relatively low maintenance trip and I like most anything on the south side owing to considerably less traffic than anything norte.

Today’s trip was interesting on many points: 1) I decided to put my camp box back in the hatch which makes perfect sense. These are things I actually need. 2) I transferred my binoculars from the box (they don’t do me any good there) to my pack – and today, I actually brought them with me on my mosey.

I had no agenda. I didn’t feel like going far from the car or doing anything strenuous. (It also didn’t help that I had “fueled up” for the hike with a calorie-laden Trujillo burrito from Mante’s!) So my getting out of the car was all low-key: my pack, camera, binoculars, and no jacket because it was so warm. I was greeted by super cute, friendly, unleashed doggo who wanted to go with me but its master called it back. I barely went anywhere. I just walked out to the nearest overlook, which is nevertheless a sweet spot. The ledge has the closest proximity across from the western flank of the Rio Pueblo gorge – and that is usually where the bighorn are.

The air had a chill but the sun was strong. The Rio was loud and rushing and just a perfect balm for my soul. I took out my binocs and with the patience of a saint, I scanned the top ridge line super slowly, north to south. Once I hit the southern tip, I swung my focused gaze back north but this time sweeping along the mid tier.

And sure enough I had a sighting! Two bighorn sheep (ewes) resting on a grassy area which was 12:00 right across from me! I removed my binocs to confirm: Nope, without the spectacles I was unable to spot the sheep. So that reaffirmed for me: Wildlife is all around me. I need to carry the binoculars with me at all times.

This was my first time in 8 years that I had seen bighorn resting. Usually, they are on their feet grazing and on alert. It was soooo good to see these bighorn resting, knowing they were in a relatively safe spot free from predators. Not entirely we know, but still, a moment’s rest is something we all need. I hate to see our wildlife so stressed out, with the unleashed doggos and folks jamming in tight for the photo op. So this was so so good to see them resting. Too far to capture a shot – and hey, I think that is the further beauty of it.

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