I wanted to practice panoramas and I wanted to include the ‘Needle’s Eye‘ (on the Needles Highway) in one of the shots. It was cloudy up the direction we were headed I said let’s try tomorrow. Roy’s like no let’s just see. I am so glad he pushed me to head up there. I got lucky. Right before the ‘Needle’s Eye’ there is a one lane tunnel, traffic was moving slow through it. We pulled up to wait our turn on the way through there was a mountain goat on one of the ledges right next to the car. I was nervous he might try and jump on the hood. He was looking for a way down. It is funny, a part of me wanted to reach out and touch him, but, common sense won out. After making it through the tunnel with no hoof prints on the car, I headed over to see if he had jumped down. He had and there was a baby and another goat licking the inside of the tunnel, this was an unexpected treat that would not have happened had we stayed home. That is the cool thing about being in a place for an extended period you can keep returning to an area and get different results. As for the panorama with the ‘Needle’s Eye’ my mind remembered it a different way,(so no picture) funny how memories play tricks on us. I had a similar experience with the Rushmore tunnels.
So after I finished taking pictures of the goats and the Needle’s Eye’ we headed off to find the burros but like every good trip you need a detour. Let me preface this with I hate heights, that said we decided to visit the Mount Coolidge Fire Tower. The road up is all gravel and climbs to over 6,000 feet. The views are amazing and I can see why this is still an active fire lookout. I will be getting some panoramas from this spot in the near future (even if I have to close my eyes on the way up.) I had an easier time going down the hill looking at rocks made that happen. I enjoy seeing the vastness from ground level. So after the detour Roy and I thought we missed the burros NOT.
These burros are beggars they will eat mostly anything, although they prefer apples but when that doesn’t work it’s carrots, or whatever you have. I was able to offer some people apples to feed them. (I’m a looker not a feeder). This boy Aiden was a little nervous about feeding one it was cool to see his smile once the burro took the apple. Also a father and his 2 daughters got in on the act. I think it is amazing how the interaction between people and animals develop. I also have been enjoying the bond between mother and child. I have photographed a nursing pair almost every day.
From here we headed off to find the buffalo because an outing is not finished until I get my fix for the day. We did not have to travel far either when we ran into a small herd just crossing the road. It is awe inspiring to think at one time the plains were full of these majestic creatures. The most we have seen at one time is about 300. Every year the park has a round up to check the health of the herd called the buffalo roundup.
We still were not completely around the loop and wondered out load where are all the pronghorns heading this year. A ranger had mentioned that the herd was having some issues and these animals are hard to find. Some one was listening because up popped a few of these animals. In fact one looked very pregnant. I was also able to get a picture of one.
So it just goes to show you never know what you will find when you head out on an adventure.