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Morning in the Beartooths

The Weasel And I
by Dan Hartman

Aug. 17, 2010

The girls and I headed up into the Beartooth Mountains just after dawn.  We hadn’t gone far when a deer with a fawn still wearing spots slipped across the highway.  A moose browsed in a stand of willows below the road.  Things were pretty quiet until we started up the switchbacks climbing to the 11,000 foot pass.  At about 10,000 feet a young long-tailed weasel appeared beside the road.  I quickly grabbed my camera and began following him from rock pile to rock pile, each time grabbing a shot or so before he bounded to the next cluster of boulders.  Pika called all around us and I was hoping the weasel might catch one.  On and on we drifted with me snapping a shot now and then.  Finally the little fella entered a vast field of tumbled boulders.  Trying to follow would be impossible and since I had spent over half an hour with him, I headed back to our car.  It was surprising how far I had gone.  Back at the car, Kelly and Cassie were watching a young marmot clean itself.  On our way again, we decided to check the white bark pine crop east of the pass.  It didn’t look good.  Only a couple cones per tree.  A red squirrel gnawed on one, searching for pine nuts.  A golden mantled ground squirrel watched us from a rock pile.  Across the canyon, a billy goat moved across a grassy slope.  Back up on the pass, we watched several pika gathering grass for their hay stacks.  I can feel a touch of fall in the air this high up.


View slide show

Long-tailed Weasel



White Barked Pine Cone

Red Squirrel

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel

Mountain Goat


Bears Tooth