July 2, 2013
Some places are known for particular wildlife scenes and behaviors. If you want to see polar bears, you go to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. If you want to see grizzly bears catching salmon, you go to Brooks Falls, Alaska. Likewise, if you want to see bighorn sheep and mountain goats, you go to Mt. Evans, Colorado.
The access to Mt. Evans is spectacularly easy. It’s one of two fourteeners in Colorado where you can drive right to the top (Pikes Peak is the other drivable fourteener). The road to the summit is the highest paved road in North America. In late June and through July, the bighorn sheep and mountain goats are everywhere. Around the first of July, the mountain goats bring their new kids to the top of the mountain to graze.
I expected to see mountain goats on this trip, but I only saw one from the side of the road. Instead, I saw lots of bighorn sheep. The animals are habituated to human presence, so they don’t seem bothered unless you get too close. It’s amazing how close they stay to the road and parking areas. You don’t need a particularly long or heavy lens to get tight shots. This is a place I like to return to again and again. The opportunities for wildlife shots are incredible.
For all three of these shots, I used the Olympus OM-D EM-5 camera and the inexpensive Olympus 40-150 zoom. This little lightweight zoom lens is incredibly sharp. It is one of the best bargains for the micro four-thirds system.
I highly recommend a drive to Mt Evans if you are in Colorado. It’s about 2-3 hours from Denver to get to the summit. The road to the summit opens every year around the first of June and remains open until September (weather permitting). The National Park fee for the summit is $10, or free if you have an annual National Park access card.