2021—It Comes Naturally

Thursday morning we were excited to encounter a small band of Bighorn ewes and their lambs in the Badlands Buttes in Badlands National Park. There were several lambs resting with their mothers when we arrived but soon after we started photographing them from the edge of the cliff above, one of the young lambs became impatient and began to explore. It is so young, its umbilical cord, now dried, is still attached. Rocky Mountain Bighorns are able to walk within hours of birth. They are born with the natural grace and agility that allows them to deftly scale the steep rock faces that serve to protect them from predators. We watched in awe as this young lamb scaled the cliff then sprinted across its face without hesitation. While it looked to me that there was nothing to hold onto, the lamb managed to find a foothold for one hoof, then the next without missing a step, allowing it to scamper quickly across. The footholds are such small outcroppings that in the photograph, it looks as if the lamb is hovering in front of the rock face. What a beautiful natural phenomenon to see.