Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Visiting my spirit animal

The road through the park is closed, partly for the fire but also for construction.  Winter would soon close it anyway.  I drive it, to check on the fire and to make sure a helicopter landing site is clear. 

It's strange, being on this road with nobody on it.  The construction crews don't work on weekends, and the fire crews are working on unwrapping structures, so no vehicles pass.  In the summers, it can take hours to drive the entire road, and parking spaces at the visitor center at the summit sometimes fill by 8:30 am.  Now it is deserted and filled with yellow aspen leaves.
 I imagine that the wildlife is breathing a sigh of relief to have the park back. Two black bears, a sow and cub, stand in the road.  They move unconcernedly into the brush, where the cub climbs a tree and retrieves a small carcass, a marmot perhaps, leaving me to wonder how it got there: did they stash it? did an eagle drop it? They eat, their teeth loudly breaking bones. 

Further along, mountain goats cling to the cliffs.  A young one jumps around, not bothered by the falling snow.  Their white fur is long and thick for winter. 

A lot of people would think that if I could be an animal, I would be a cat.  There's a lot of truth to this; I've been called "curious kitty" more than once.  But as much as I love cats, the mountain goat would be my choice.  I want to climb to the peaks and the high lonely meadows where they live, and scramble fearlessly on granite cliffs.  I know they don't think as we do, but I like to imagine they see the beauty all around them.

Snow falls and I retreat lower, down to the fire still smoking in the rain.  High above, the bears and goats move through the late afternoon, waiting for the silence of winter.


7 comments:

  1. Oh, lovely. Special to get a glimpse of the lonely GTTS highway and the animals who are now rid of the noise and movement, through your eyes.

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    1. It's winter at the pass. You can look at the webcams.

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  2. Lucky you, getting the park all to yourself! I'll bet the animals are happy the tourists are gone too.

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  3. what amazing opportunities you get to see and be places that have such wildlife and beauty....and sometimes without the scars of people!!!

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