Friday, May 11, 2012

Coyote Ridge

Another great ride through wide open country starts just north of Currant Creek Reservoir, at about 8000 feet, and heads up various 2 tracks and elk trails along Coyote Ridge toward Scotty's Basin. 
The terrain is mostly open, passing through meadows where old beaver dams have created terraces of rich soil.  A few pools still exist, perfect for Daisy swims.  Of course, Daisy isn't particular.  A mud puddle works just fine for her. 
We also rode near lakes surrounded by aspen.  We could hear the boreal frogs' high-pitched croaks as we passed by.
Glacier lilies (also known as Dogtooth Violets) were abundant at 9000 feet where the snow has recently melted.  Spring Beauty, Buttercups, and a few Bluebells were also in bloom. 
A bluebird flew out of this cavity (above my hand) in a dead aspen.  With a light, we were able to see a single pale blue egg in there.  We moved off to try to glimpse the bluebird again, but he/she didn't return while we waited.
A female blue grouse sat on an aspen branch.  We usually see them flying up from brush on the ground, but the bird book says they often feed on newly opened leaf buds in the spring. 
We saw several deer and a lot of elk as we climbed steadily uphill.  About the time we came to the edge of the melting snow, we spotted a herd of about 60 cow and yearling elk going over the ridge (about 10,000 ft) above us.  Most elk in these parts have been hunted, and don't much like humans.  They are intent on avoiding any interaction with our kind.   When we saw the entire herd, they were 1000 yards away, keeping their distance!  In national parks, a person can walk right up to elk, but not here.
Here's Steve's video that shows the elk moving over the snow to the top of the ridge.  He mentions that we "drove" the elk during our ride.  That was inadvertent on our part.  We just rode, and they ran ahead.  We had no idea the whole herd was moving ahead of us until we came out of the aspens and saw them on the ridge.
In keeping with Coyote Ridge's name, we saw 2 coyotes up on the snow, apparently trailing the elk herd as calving season approaches.

21 comments:

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

The herd of elk would have made my day.

Pam said...

Miss Daisy always give me a chuckle. Boy does she love the water.
Great bird captures and I enjoy Steve's video as well.

R.Ramakrishnan said...

Thanks for sharing these lovely images. Have a great weekend.

Robert Sobczak said...

I enjoyed the video of the elk and the photo of the grouse. Interesting mud puddle (that only a dog could love!)

George said...

I really liked your picture of the grouse in the tree -- that was a first for me. I'm glad to hear that Daisy is not hard to please when it comes to swimming holes.

Gaelyn said...

Great shots of the elk.

Is that an old burn area with all those aspen?

Selene said...

you're living a magical experience!
a dream...

hip&chips

Diane AZ said...

Lovely aspens reflected in the lake and what an amazing elk herd sighting!

NCmountainwoman said...

Elk herders you are! I loved all the photographs of your beautiful part of the country. So different from ours but just as exciting to see.

Spencer said...

Looks like a nice place to hike around. It must have been very pretty to see up close.

Elizabeth said...

I'm so impressed because I've only ever seen grouse deep in the bushes. What a great unobstructed view!

Denise said...

Oh my gosh, you go on so many wonderful rides. The photos are amazing. I enjoyed the one of you and the one of Daisy in the pond too. Always nice to see a photo of our hosts and you and Steve are great blogging hosts. Great video also and now I know what Steve sounds like. Have a great week and can't wait to see the next trail you take.

EG CameraGirl said...

How exciting to see the elk...so many of them! Lovely glacier lilies. They remind me quite a lot of our trout lilies, which (believe it or not) we also call dogtooth violets.

Too bad the bluebird didn't return for it's photo shoot. How nice that you got to see the eggs, though.

Johnny Nutcase said...

awesome! all sorts of great finds! Good one on the bluebird nest :) fun! And that photo of Daisy is way too cute - what a happy pup!

Gayle said...

That is such a beautiful area with so wildlife. How wonderful that you are able to experience it.

kaye said...

what a thrilling day for you all.

Merri said...

niiiiice!
- The Equestrian Vagabond

Busy Bee Suz said...

Loved the video...that is quite the herd!!!!
That little blue grouse is so darling...I've never seen one in person!

EcoRover said...

That puddle of Daisy's looks like an elk wallow. Folks who see "tame" elk in Yellowstone have no idea how real, wild elk behave. Love the Glacier Lillies--aptly named, often they bloom right at the edge of receding snowbanks.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Thanks for taking us along. What a ride. I haven't seen a herd of elk or deer since I was a kid.

Peter B. said...

Really enjoy your blog. I've hikes a lot in southern Utah and hope to hike one or two of your rides someday.

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin