Bighorn Sheep near road.
Bighorn Sheep near road.

Seeking Out the Desert Bighorn
The Travelin’ Misadventures of
Mitch Kumstein
Guest Blogger on DesertRoadTrippin

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Desert Road Trippin’ would like to welcome guest blogger “Mitch Kumstein”, a dog who lives in the desert near Las Vegas, NV.  He recently encountered a big herd of Bighorn Sheep and he was able to take some great photos that he wanted to share with DesertUSA’s readers.  This story is written by Mitch from a dogs perspective.

Here’s Mitch’s story . . .

“Spent a coupla’ nights in Beatty, Nevada enjoyin’ the homemade chili, coolin’ off in the swimmin’ pool, and soakin’ up a lot of great small town hospitality.  I also got a smokin’ deal on a Yamaha 660 quad without havin’ to trade in the trusty Road Warrior.  So Friday mornin’ I gassed up at the Rebel, loaded up the styrofoam cooler, and headed east down Fluorspar Canyon.  The innkeeper at the El Portal Motel let me park the Road Warrior there and told me about an abandoned mine off Fluorspar Canyon Road he used to work at as a kid called Crowell Mine.  I figured the mine would be a great first stop.  The Crowell Mine was active for about 30 years, and produced fluorspar, considered the most colorful mineral in the world.  The low grade stuff was used to lower the melting point of steel and aluminum in manufacturing, but I guess most of it is now mined in Africa.  Production stopped in the early 1970’s, and about all that’s left is a dilapidated sentry shack and a huge 600’ mineshaft.  I coulda wiggled my way in there to check it out, but I didn’t want this first misadventure to be my last.

A herd of Bighorn Sheep.
A herd of Bighorn Sheep.

After takin’ a couple of photos, I revved up the 660 and headed east back down Fluorspar Canyon Road.  Another three miles of eatin’ dust led me to Secret Pass, and I hung a left (no, right, wait….where’s that compass?..)  My main reason for takin’ this trip was to find some Nevada Desert Bighorn Sheep and hang out with them for awhile, so my destination was an ‘ol waterin’ hole called Specie Springs, about two miles down the Pass.  I was now headin’ south, and off to the east was Mecklejohn Peak, part of a mountain range that rises almost 5,900’ above sea level.  I figured this would be a perfect hideout for bighorn while the temperatures were still in the mid-90’s, and also was on the border of the Nevada Wildlife Refuge, where hunting is not allowed.  My timing was perfect!  As I rolled into Specie Springs, I looked to the left and saw this incredible herd of 35 to 40 bighorns!  They gave me a quick glance, went back to doin’ bighorn things, and I pulled out the camera and started shootin’!  I could fill up the rest of this article with facts and figures about these unbelievable creatures, but that wouldn’t do them justice.  All I can say is that we are truly fortunate to have these gorgeous animals in our presence.  As part of my inbred doggy personality, I usually chase and bark at other animals (mainly cats, I HATE cats!), but all I could do here was stare at these bighorn in amazement!  Then, just when I was getting’ ready to ask them if I could join the club, they left, heading for the cool, shady cliffs of Mecklejohn Peak.  My close encounter didn’t last long enough, but I knew I’d seen somethin’ special; spectacular wild animals thriving in their natural habitat!

A ram and an ewe.
A ram and an ewe.

Well, I rode around for a little while longer ‘til the ice melted, and then headed back to Beatty for another round of swimmin’, home-made chili eatin’, and story tellin’.  Only this time the story was all mine!

Mitch Kumstein . . . the dog who blogs.
Mitch Kumstein . . . the dog who blogs.

Mitch Kumstein Bio

“When people ask me about myself, I just hafta say I’m the luckiest dog on the planet! I was abandoned out in the desert just north of Las Vegas; left to fend for myself. After a few harrowing days and nights lookin’ for water and runnin’ from the coyotes, I stumbled onto a golf course, and was taken in by the staff. Soon, I came to the conclusion that I had a new lease on life, and there were a lot of adventures waitin’ for me out in the wild. So, I took a leave of absence from chasin’ critters at the course and struck out to follow the scent of adventure. And, I decided to write about my findings so everyone could be exposed to the unbelievable history, scenery, personalities, and wildlife that make up our natural environment. If the pics are kinda shaky, and the writin’ kinda sketchy, just be patient….Remember, I’m just a dog!!” MITCH

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“When people ask me about myself, I just hafta say I’m the luckiest dog on the planet! I was abandoned out in the desert just north of Las Vegas; left to fend for myself. After a few harrowing days and nights lookin’ for water and runnin’ from the coyotes, I stumbled onto a golf course, and was taken in by the staff. Soon, I came to the conclusion that I had a new lease on life, and there were a lot of adventures waitin’ for me out in the wild. So, I took a leave of absence from chasin’ critters at the course and struck out to follow the scent of adventure. And, I decided to write about my findings so everyone could be exposed to the unbelievable history, scenery, personalities, and wildlife that make up our natural environment. If the pics are kinda shaky, and the writin’ kinda sketchy, just be patient….Remember, I’m just a dog!!” – MITCH

1 COMMENT

  1. I was hiking Turtlehead Peak in Red Rock Canyon in late June and saw a herd of about 30 Big Horn Sheep right in the path on the way up. Two yearlings were stuck on large rocks and a small expedition of three rams circled around me with lightening speed and nudged the little ones from their entrapment. It was really something to see.

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