Snow Melt and Bighorn Sheep

Frozen Waterfalls in South Mineral; A section of the Columbine District on the San Juan National Forest.

Big horn sheep on the drive down from Silverton, Colorado.

This time of year, in the Columbine District of the San Juan National Forst we are busy checking snow depths, opening roads, opening gates, and ensuring safe access when we open different parts of the forest. I had the opportunity to go out with a member of our developed recreation crew members to check snow depths a couple weeks ago before we open up access to the public at higher elevations. We went up north to the South Mineral area outside of Silverton, Colorado and ran into snow still on the road in a few places. On the drive back from this northern part of our forest we saw two big horn sheep along the side of the road. They are such cool animals, and it is not very common to see them on the forest. In addition to this trip up north, I have been working on planning our field work this summer. As an Outfitter and Guide resource assistant, my job picks up in the summer as we plan “field monitoring” with our companies that are in operation during the summer and fall. So far, we plan on joining some of outfitters for several different activities including, horseback rides, OHV and jeep tours, a couple overnight trips with the companies that lead backpacking and hiking trips, canoe and kayaking trips, and later this fall hunting camp monitoring. I also have been invited to go out on “hitch” with the Wilderness Rangers in mid-June. It will be a four-day backpacking trip focused mainly on trail work. I worked as a member of the trail crew on this same forest two years ago and will occasionally rotate out with them when they are shorthanded. I am looking forward to another summer in the mountains and am feeling extremely lucky to be working in the National Forest.

A waterfall up the South Mineral road near the Ice Lakes trailhead.

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