Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Big Horn Mountains

Yesterday we left the wheat fields of Montana to visit the Big Horn Mountains in northern Wyoming. It was only about an hour's drive to US Higway 14, which goes up into the mountains. The steep climb from 3400 ft to 8000 ft was beautiful, with many interesting sights. Signs along the way point out the geological formations and the dates the rocks were formed. We were sorry our son Eric, the middle school science teacher, wasn't along for the ride.

The Fallen City is one of the features we saw. This boulder field looks something like its name.
US 14 is being straightened and widended. So the next few miles took us another hour, till we reached the US Forest Service Visitor's Center at Burgess Junction. After we bought some books, we walked a 0.6 mile trail with some good views of the area. Twin Buttes is one of the most obvious landmarks around.
We were delighted to see this marmot on the rocks. At least we think it is a marmot. It doesn't look like any of the marmots in my National Audubon Society Field Guide to Mammals.
These two small butterflies were also a delight.

This wind generator behind the Visitor Center produces 1000 watts of power. To an RVer, that is pretty good. We also saw our first solar-powered trash compacter. Isn't that amazing? After gathering some information about nearby hiking trails, we drove off. Just a little ways down the road, several cars and trucks were pulled to the side and their occupants were pointing cameras into the trees next to the road. Of course, we joined them. I was so grateful for my new long camera lens when we spotted this moose! What a treat.
We took a short hike around Sibley Lake. The anglers were having good luck and the duck families were a delight to watch. Is this a female Mallard Duck? If not, then what is it?

On the back side of the lake, it was peaceful and we saw some pretty reflections.

1 comment:

  1. Your marmot appears to be a yellow-bellied marmot indigenous to this area. The blue butterflies used to appear fairly frequently near our cabin on Ute Creek but I never got into identifying butterflies and moths.
    I remember calling a marmot we spotted up on Trail Ridge Road a groundhog--which is how we always identified them--and a nearby tourist soundly correcting me with, "Marmot!" Perhaps because my family originated in Virginia they called them by the name given to the eastern species of these rodents (that don't have black heads)! We also called them whistle pigs because of the sound they made.