Friday, July 17, 2009

The Noble Pronghorn

(Note: TSG had multiple difficulties with the format and layout of this post. Our apologies if it displays in a haphazard manner in your particular browser)

As we enter the traditional Summer road trip and beer-drinking season, TSG's thoughts hearken back to journeys of yore and the attendant encounters with local wildlife.

One of the creatures that always quickens the heartbeat when sighted is the iconic western ungulate, Antilocapra americana.

There's no mistaking the distinctive horns (famously shared with the rare Lepus alleni hybrid), or the white rump that one is most likely to see as the Pronghorn flashes away across the sagebrush. Clocked at nearly 90kph in a sprint, TSG once had the thrill of being paced by a Prongy along a dirt road near Factory Bluff, Utah. The adult male ran parallel to the road, easily matching our vehicle's 40 miles an hour. Then in a burst, the magnificent animal veered off and was gone in a cloud of dust.

The antelope that frequent the campgrounds at Flaming Gorge NRA aren't quite as skittish as their free-range brethren. Seen here at Lucerne Valley, a doe and her fawn were quite at home grazing in the grass and ambling along the loop roads.

So let us raise a glass of our favorite beverage--in this case, Big Sky IPA--and toast the noble pronghorn. Symbol of the west, wide open spaces, speed and freedom to run to the distant horizon. Cheers!