As I drive down the county red gravel road, I look to my left. Traveled a bit further to pull over safely. The paucity of traffic up here makes me drive even more carefully as I pull over at the strangest times. In the last 2 years I believe I’ve met less than 10 different cars / trucks out on the backroads working sunset/sunrises in this backcountry. . This image on “Section 36” taken 2 miles south of the Wyoming / Montana border . This is nothing like AREA 51 just so you know… . Section 36 in any particular township is the “school” section. That square mile reserved by the govt for the gov’t to be used for a school building.
This is a “School Section” mostly state owned ground 660 acres in size. It is leased to a neighboring ranch to me. A square Mile of State ground. Private ground past on the far Ridge. The pyramidal hill on the right skyline is “Mitten Butte”. Back in the 1950’s, the view the Parks Road /Trail Creek One room School House had. No neighbors then either. Only two signs of that old building… Some concrete foundations remain over a bank where they. Secondarily an old oil burning furnace about 3x3x5 feet still sits on the prairie marking the site where most of the local ranch kids learned the basics. It was a mile plus walk from our homestead where quite a few of the local kids came from to school.
Perspective “Brace Yourself” looks cold….It was indeed quite chily when I took this. -2F with a good breeze is chilly in my book.. Taken a few miles into the backcountry off the main gravel road.. Traveling ranch Two track trails to the spot.. There was 1/8th inch of ice on virtually everything, . Ground under the snow, grass, barbed wire and posts all were laden with a coating of the storms warmer beginnings..
This was a good snow because I was actually noticing I was driving through deeper snow up on the ridges. Most snows so far this winter have been relatively minor in their effect on my travels… No blowing snow off the ridges in this snowy iteration. It wasn’t a particular windy storm. Thus there are no drifts to deal with, however, there is deeper snow on the ridge line which CAN build up if there is a crust. This makes it more difficult later (sadly). . It seems 5 inches of flat snow with ice under it starts getting problematic climbing steep backcountry hills.😜. I have slid backwards down many a long hill in the snowy backcountry…. denied access!!! 😫
So as the Winter progresses, the cold brings to mind a late November from 2000 that was -30 for well over a week straight. I mean all day for a week at -30F degrees was a long week here on the ranch. As I recall, I was driving back and forth from Jackson Hole to my Ranch north of Gillette (almost 500 miles) during that week . I definitely respect November weather in Wyoming.
I will plow the main two track up to this ridge this winter. It’s a several mile job with a skidsteer with tire chains. That takes a while if it drifts over and I will eventually be locked off the ridge by drifts working across my previously plowed paths.
I love lots of angles in photos. This one qualifies plus the close focus. 📸
Here the local Wyoming Roaming Road Block was down in the Thunderbasin National Grasslands. These are Pronghorn Bucks still with antlers (not for long) and does mixed. They are on the move migrating down to that remote grassland to winter over the rough Wyoming Winter.
As this was taken, I was on the road to Gillette from my ranch for a ‘day trip”. It’s about 25 gravel road miles to this spot. Then another 12 miles of gravel before I run into concrete in the form of St. Rt. 59 (Wyoming) .
The Thundbasin National Grasslands are huge chunks (several spread around a few states) of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land with very few inholdings by private land holders. These ‘reserves” are hundreds of square miles of just an occasional power line and stock well or solar well. Of course there is the obligatory oil well facility but these guys don’t care about buildings. Usually geothermally warm water is the only running water and there is a few of those sources around here. They are oasis’s in the winter for wildlife living near them.
I’ve seen many very large herds of Pronghorn roaming just off one of the few maintained roads out there. Vehicle traffic is prohibited within the national grasslands. The only way to get miles back and up high is to horseback or walk in. I gave up horses a decade ago and walking more than a few miles backcountry with 20 pounds or so of gear gets pretty old pretty fast in the winter I have found. Reminds me of deer hunting when I was way younger. I’ll stick to the roads down in this country lol.
Location:25 miles south of the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Thunder Basin National Grasslands, Campbell County Wyoming.
“Listen Up Girls” as I’ve got a plan to get those deer.
You see the buck was tired of the deer eating up all his favorite tasty morsels. He has these gals convinced he is the know all save all stud that he portrays himself to be. He obviously has all their attention and is giving them some relevant/important tidbit of Pronghorn information. The crowd is in awe of his wisdom and obvious magnificence.😎
Well that’s what he thinks anyway lolol. I’m sort of the idea that he does have them bamboozled certainly. How else could he get ALL their attention. So here I am sitting 200 yards out in my Jeep not moving, they are all looking to him as to what to do. He is annoyed as he was eating and now these girls want a decision. Boy having that many “wives” would be one decision after another lololol 😜
This group eventually moved out as the male, though forced by the group into changing what he was doing (eating).. He just thinks he’s in charge. If all of them ran past him, he might just stay there because he’s too lazy and secure in his powers. Overconfidence is a fault in a prey animal that evolved to be the fastest land animal in North America… I suspect more than a few bucks have been taken out by that overconfident attitude. I’ve seen them strut around like they own the place. I’ve also seen them lazy enough to ignore threat. Quite a contradiction.
Quality game trail Camera image of 2 Bucks Captured by Infra-Red. Out in the deep backcountry, they don’t have too much to fear up here but a few lions and human hunters… This particular night was full moon lit up so there is pretty even illumination here. There was definitely and IR flash as you can see from the highlights in the grass. I seldom get images “at night” when EVERYTHING in the landscape is visible. It takes a full moon to do this…. Hunters moon and all that. 🙂 It’s rare for me to have black and whites except from my Trail Camera captures. Most of the night shots are un-usable. This one…I think I’ll keep around lolol. 📸
This image reminds me of the old joke about the beer drinking drunk slurring out “how much are Dddeer nuts” and the bartender say’s “under a buck”. These are well hung…err racked… err I mean nicely antlered bucks obviously🤣🤣
Still in Velvet in this September Image. That gate is currently closed to keep cattle in the far pasture. So this wildlife funnel is down for a few months and the cameras doing duty somewhere else… I move cameras around as the gates open and close around the ranch. It is a constant shuffle. I really don’t like cameras in with cattle as they goo them and otherwise mess with them. I’ve had them open cameras before which is less than ideal for the generally water resistant nature of the devices. I’ve got closeups of blurry cattle tongues “wiping” the lenses of a 200 dollar Game Trail Camera. Perfect lolol.
I’m thinking the deer in the background is a bigger buck but the contrast isn’t there to see it easily. Again, this is a game trail camera image so it’s a bit coarse.
I think this buck was making a statement about what He thinks about hunting season.
This is a big boy with big wide beams . A mule deer’s ears are about 22 inches across….. 😲 His antlers were still in velvet late summer for this shot. The “Velvet” Skin over the growing antler supplies the antler with blood supply, then they shed it in a few days of rubbing it off on anything around they can rub it on.
He’s a fighter, got a notch in his ear from a battle…
It was still pretty green back then, mid-80’s, no snow in the hollows as now lol. Ah for the good and bad points of summer. Remember allergies?….
Location: Somewhere within 10 miles of the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch. (That narrows it down)😜
Satire: I’d like to imagine this Hunter’s Moon here was rising off it’s resting place in the remote backcountry of the Wy:Mt borderlands. It’s a lot of work rising all that cheese to it’s zenith at the top of the sky. I think a good rest before a climb is always in order don’t you?🤣
The moon never stays long resting as I photograph it all the time being lazy on things. If it stayed too long thought, the tide charts would be all messed up. I catch the moon doing all sorts of anthropomorphic things in my images. You just have to think about it😎
Location: Near the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.
Locally this “Pyramidal Hill” is known as Mitten Butte. The Yellow Alpenglow behind on this Frosty Morning was captured a bit more than a week ago as the image just now made it to the web and gallery.. Twilight Landscapes are all dark…because they were/are 😁
A good word to look up would be “Monadnock” Great word of the day.
Geologically this hill is an erosional remnant, still standing when all the material/sediment around it was washed away. A hard cap rock and being at the top of the drainage made this possible. I’ve been to the top 3 times in 20 years. I do have photos somewhere lolol. There is no road up there as it is state land. The only way up is to hoof it. It’s about 300 feet higher than the base. IT’s Lance formation but no dinosaurs or fossil microsites that I saw and I have pretty much walked it all. . Because it’s state land, it is illegal to disturb any vertebrate remains I would have found. I saw some small pieces of vertebrate materials but nothing worth telling the state geologist about. I just wanted the viewpoint to see what was up there. Big view and not much but harder rocks than lower down the slope. All sandstones/mudstones and silts. Cretaceous river sediments is all that hill contains. No mystic Pyramid or Volcano, home for aliens or some other exotic purpose. Just a pile of hardened sand/mud/silt.
Location: Hardly a mile from Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.