Friday, May 28, 2010

Up North (NM)

Last week we had the opportunity to hang around a bit in far northern New Mexico, up near where the Sangre de Cristos cross over into Colorado. A short drive near dusk on the highway leading to the York Canyon Mine, which cuts through a portion of the Vermejo Park Ranch, provided us with the chance to watch Merriam Turkeys- including a gobbler with a couple of hens who obligingly strutted and called, elk- including a small bachelor band of bulls, one of whom already had three feet of velvet over his head, lots of mule deer, and a couple of bears. Apparently, this road is well known for providing bear sightings. After A asked if I wanted to drive up there to "see the bears" I explained that bears are pretty rare in NM, even where they do well, and that we'd be lucky to see one. A's previous drive up there resulted in a couple of bears, and, true to (her) expectations, we saw a couple on this drive. One was quite big, all black, and wary. The other was this young blond fellow, who found grazing on green things much more important than worrying about the pickup stopped on the shoulder of the road some fifty yards away:

He even grazed through the fence and got a bit closer:

The next day, we drove on through the Valle Vidal and saw more deer, another bear that, like the one above, was quite blond. He was, however, much larger and didn't hang around close enough to get his picture taken. We saw more turkeys, too. Three bears sighted in two days is exceptional, in my experience.

Snow is still in the shade, everything is green and there is water everywhere; very much like you'd expect the Rockies, even down in their southern tail, to look.

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