Eight Is Not Enough

Eight is not enough unless it’s Bighorn rams all in an unexpected bunch walking along highway 14 on a Friday afternoon. Then eight is plenty. I mean you can be greedy and ask for more but that is just plain selfish, eight is enough. They’re bunched up pretty good but look carefully and count and you’ll find eight good rams there amongst the ewes. They stayed tightly grouped like this. You could have dropped a net over the whole lot of them and got them all.

The rut is over, at least for this bunch it is. For those of you in the know the rut is when the rams get all chesty and full of themselves and believe that they are each God’s gift to the ewes and are the only ones fit to breed and gift the world with their progeny and will battle to the death with the other rams to prove it. But when it’s over and the fighting is done and the breeding is finished they’re all like “Dude! How you doing. Sorry ’bout that! You OK? Let’s go get a Pizza. No, I’m buying. You still got a headache, me too.” They’re all BFF, until next year that is, then it happens all over again.

This group of about fifteen animals appeared to be in really good shape. Healthy, well fed, alert. They’re not all that skittish, allowing people to be within 50-75′ before they begin moving off but they will bolt uphill at sudden movements of any observers. It may be stating the obvious but the rams are heavy bodied and have the very heavy horns and the ewes have smaller bodies with the small somewhat short horns. There is always one or more of the ewes on watch and the rams tend to stay on the outside of the herd but not always. The more at ease they are the less they appear to be in defense mode.

These guys were spotted on March 2 and it was in the 50’s in the mountains. What that means for an early spring is anybody’s guess with our nonexistent global warming happening, but whatever it is here’s your Bighorns. Enjoy.

North American Indian Days 2015

This post has been moved to OpenChutes.com. All future postings of Powwows, Indian Relay Races, Rodeos and Rendezvous will be posted there from now on exclusively. So if you’re looking for new images and posts for all those events attended this year, plus all the old posts posted on BigShotsNow.com check out OpenChutes.com. See you there!


Last week, July 9th thru the 12th, The Blackfeet tribe put on its 64th annual North American Indian days (or NAID) on its reservation at Browning, Montana. It was 4 solid days of Dancing, singing, fellowship, and socializing amongst one of the largest gathering of Indian tribes in the United States and Canada.

Every event held throughout the celebration began with the Grand Entrance where the color guard, made up of military veterans from the various tribes, brought in the colors. These included our American flag, Canada’s flag, the Blackfeet tribe’s flag, and others to be presented with respect to everyone assembled. Many men and women of the tribes served in the armed forces and this is a very important part of the ceremony. To participate in this honor, with drums sounding out their deep resonance, singers celebrating with their voices, joining the gathering of hundreds of spectators, the sun beating down and the hot wind blowing through the presentation arbor, this is an experience that will remain with you for a very long time.

When you attend this event one of the first things you notice is the riot of color around you. The regalia, the decorations, the site itself is full of every hue of color imaginable, from the earth tones of the arbor and dancing area to the manmade colors of some regalia, and the natural shades of the surrounding area. The natural light of the far northern part of our country has its own unique look and feel also, and being just a little more than 12 miles from the eastern entrance to Glacier National Park adds to the overall effect with mountains in the background and of course amazing sunsets.

The sounds are the next thing you notice as the deep rhythmic notes of the many drums and songs work their way into your senses. Drums and drummers from many places around the country, the singers joining in, the sounds of the calls made by the various participants as they dance around the arbor, are nearly overwhelming. You are immersed in the experience completely. They draw you in and mesmerize you even if you don’t understand the words. It is easy to get lost in the sound and action and swirling colors, but that is part of the experience of being here. And it feels good.

Over the next few days we will be bringing you the sights of this incredible experience, the regalia , the dances, along with the other events such as the rodeos and Indian Relay Races, plus some of the views of the countryside around the events themselves. It was a spectacular experience. If you can, go to the next one, it is worth every second you spend there. The Blackfeet welcome all guests and you’ll never forget the time you spent at The North American Indian Days celebration.


Sunset Off The Mesa



After a long day in Mesa Verde spent following in the ancients’ footsteps, going from one major house to another, it was time to go home. Or in this case head the Bokeh Maru down from the tabletop towards the next destination. One to be decided tomorrow after a good nights sleep.

The main houses of Mesa Verde are located on a tabletop Mesa twenty miles from the highway. Drive up a very windy road with all the switchbacks you could possibly want and after gaining over 2000′ from the valley floor to the top you’re there. I’ll go into the visits inside the various houses at a later date due to time constraints, but right now it’s time to go home. It’s sunset and as you descend you can look out to the east just like the old ones probably did and watch the mountains across the valley turn purple.

Right now though it’s time to watch the road. It’s a long way down and no guard rails. More to come.


Muley Point

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Well maybe you are at a point in your life where everything seems a little unsatisfactory, maybe even a little boring. You’re at your job and it may seem as if you will be at your job forever, stuck there when you rather be off doing something carefree, exciting, out of the ordinary, wild. But you know, common sense rears its ugly head and you understand that you can’t just drop everything and run off to do the wild thing, you have responsibilities and you are a responsible person. But man, wouldn’t it be cool if you could suddenly transport yourself somewhere else, like into the mind of one of these wild horses running free up on the high plateau of Muley point. To experience what they experience, to feel the solid thud of your hooves hitting the ground, the wind blowing through your mane, your only worry finding the next grazing site. You can find comfort in the fact that in this chaotic time we live in there are still those beings that are free, like these broomtails racing towards the waterhole, unaccountable to anyone but themselves, just happy to be alive and hopefully it will help get you through another day, I know it works for me.

Brigadoon Arch

YS-NP 2005-3760-Edit

There are many mysteries in the mountains here in the west but none so intriguing and compelling as this one. It has always seemed strange to me that the horse tribes had such a short history. I don’t mean that they weren’t living on the plains and mountains for hundreds of years but that their glory days, when they had horses and rode proud and free, clothed in leather, carrying lances and bows, fighting with their enemies and living as Kings on this land seemed to be a very short time. That time of their life only seemed to last for decades, a very brief time that was captured by only a few artists, photographers and the memories of their people. Where did that spirit go? It has only been in the recent past that a small numbers of stories, legends if you will, began to emerge. They were always greeted with skepticism if not outright derision whenever they were told. Maybe because you only heard them in the bars and honky-tonks late in the evening and told by those who had had a few too many. The fact that they appeared to believe them with every fiber of their being, did little to keep them from being so easily discounted. The legend of course, is the story of Brigadoon arch.

The way it has been told is that every hundred years or so the Arch appears in the mountains just north of Jackson Hole not far from where their present day airport is located. The exact time it appears is not known nor is it known how long it is open, but when it is, there is the possibility that you, if you were brave enough, could hike up to it and pass through, and there you would find the lost horse tribes living as they always have, in their lodges made of buffalo skins, with their favorite ponies tied out front and the smoke from their campfires slowly spiraling up into the crisp morning air. There are occasionally, unexplained sightings of a string of lights winding down the mountainside late at night, torches perhaps, as some of the young braves trek down to the plains for a last buffalo hunt. One person told me, swearing it on an oath that can not be repeated here and sealed with a shot, that after seeing the lights one night he found pony tracks leading down to the river and nearby a dropped beaded pouch like the ones carried by Arapahoe Dog Soldiers when they were out raiding. Inside it, he said, was a freshly taken scalp barely cured. When asked if the pouch could be seen now he told me sadly that he had lost it in a poker game. It almost made him quit drinking he said, tearing up some, and he was no longer able to speak of it.

Think what you will, I for one, believe that there are things we can’t explain, things that will always remain a mystery. The arch wasn’t there the last time I went through so if you want to find out for yourself I guess you will just have to wait until the arch appears again and go and see for yourself. If it does appear and you are brave enough to enter I would brush up on my Lakota if I were you.