Today's Guest Blogger is Jared Gricoskie of Yellow Wood Guiding.
Here in Rocky Mountain National Park, December is the Big Horn Sheep's mating season. Bog Horns spend most of the year in small bands of females and lambs, with the males in seperate bands of mixed ages. Most of the time females just want to eat grass (generally on a southern facing slope). But for as little as 48 hours a year, the ladies are in estrus and looking for the right guy. During these extremely brief mating periods, females attract males through scent and may attract more than a handful of suitors. Females select males on a basis of body size, horn size, and fitness. They attract a few males and then run, much like a scene from a schoolyard where the boys chase the girls. During the pursuit, the lead male will often turn on the males behind him and clash. The sounds of the two rams crashing their heads together can be heard from over a mile away. In the end, the female selects a male to mate with and will very likely not interact with him again. So be sure to scan the rocky southern facing cliffs around Estes Park during the first two weeks of December. For Big Horn Sheep, love really is on the rocks.
If you are looking for a fun winter activity for your family, or a unique date (really, dinner and a movie are fun...but this will take it up a notch!), consider heading to Estes Park, CO for the 2nd Annual Winter Festival. It will take place over Martin Luther King weekend, January 14-17. This year there will be an Interactive Ice Castle and playground maze (can you picture it all lit up at night? Magical!). It will be so much fun for the kiddos, and those of us who like to feel like a kid again! Rocky Mountain National Park will have their 16th annual Winter Trails in the park with free snowshoe rentals and clinics - it's a great way to explore the National Park in winter. There will be live music and entertainment throughout the weekend in Bond Park. If you're a treasure hunter, there will be a MEGA Downtown Scavenger Hunt with over $1,000 in prizes. For foodies, there will be wine and beer tastings, and a Chili Cook-off with both professional and amateur chilistas. You can satisfy your inner artist by going on a Winter Photo Tour, or shop 'til you drop in the heated area featuring local vendors. And if you just want to relax in a stunning mountain atmosphere, local spas will be offering specials all weekend.
To make your reservation, go to www.Estes-Park.com.