I've been driving the road to Beartooth Pass 3-4 times a week for over two months. Along the way I see the same characters pretty much every time up. The mule deer with twin fawn just past Soda Butte Campground. The buck across from Skyline, although this morning it was farther up the road a few hundred yards. Back in June, a snowshoe hare I've been watching for years was hit on the road. This morning a new hare was sitting in his favorite spot. When I slowed he sprang away. Well, he"ll get use to me in time. In the Bog just east of the Fire Tower Road a family of Sand-hill cranes feed at dawn.
A steep canyon falls off towards Sun Light near Beartooth Falls. A billy mountain goat has been roaming the sheer cliffs for the last month. I stop to scan for him every morning. The other day he was perched on an open ledge peering across the abyss to the far side. Training binoculars in that direction, I spotted a nanny and kid climbing through the rocks.
Today, I couldn't find him.
It's kinda like every evening when you drive home from work, and on some side street you always notice an old lady working in her flower bed. You don't know her name or really anything about her, but the first time you don't see her, you wonder if she's alright.
It's the same with the wildlife I come across day after day.
When I reached the Pass, I went straight to the mineral lick. Yesterday, I counted 27 goats. Today a dozen or so were bedded just above the cliffs to the north. A little distance from the main herd, a nanny with twins lay huddled together. I've been watching her since June and believe she's the only one with twins.
On the back side of the Pass, I climbed down into the rocks. Selecting a small patch of grass, I set up tripod and camera. Then farther downslope I set my camera trap on a rock. I've noticed the pika stopping here from time to time.
I had just returned to my camera, when a pika appeared in front of my trap carrying grass.
Also, I snagged a useable shot of a pika leaping into space.