I keep dreaming of my National Geographic moment, the time when I will witness a great feat of nature, be part of a once in a lifetime wildlife experience. Something safe and not too disturbing of course, but something big… a bald eagle scooping up it’s prey, or observing a bear and her cubs. But these creatures are very elusive and for me this has been trending. In 2011 on a horseback riding vacation to the T Cross Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming in the middle of the Shoshone National Forest, famous for its moose, elk and deer all I saw was a single chipmunk. No joke. We then drove to Jackson Hole, Wyoming via the Teton National Park and saw some very outrageous scenery … but not one moose.
But I can be patient, and my enthusiasm hasn’t waned, so we set off this morning for Ski Apache (elevation 10,000 feet) the winter ski resort in the Lincoln National Forest in Ruidoso. It is home to wild mustangs, bear, elk, deer…all of the usual suspects. Happily and gratefully, within the first 3 miles we saw the wild mustangs nonchalantly eating on the side of the road not at all intimidated by me, my camera or the car. It made me smile to see them wild and free.
The 12 mile drive up the mountain from Ruidoso takes a while because of the many hairpin turns. I endured the scary, endless switchbacks, and steep drop offs , with too few guardrails for my liking, anticipating the moment when an elk would surprise me with an impromptu visit. Not today, but hope springs eternal.
Overall a GREAT day in the neighborhood… a very comfortable 70 degrees and my vision was blessed with beautiful wildflowers and fallen trees that looked like haunting natural sculptures and the reward of a most spectacular view at the top!
But not one hairy beast!