I live about 10 miles from work on 97a in Wenatchee. I drive to work at around 3:30 am and in the morning over the years I’ve seen a lot of deer and lately bighorn sheep either in the middle or by the side of the road. They like to cross the road just below Rocky Reach Dam, Maby get a little breakfast and a drink by the river. The number of deer doing this has dropped significantly since fencing was put in below the dam. However, this does not stop the bighorn sheep. 

It seems that they like to come down out of the hills and cliffs and just hang out either on the road or on the shoulders. In the wintertime, it’s not unusual to see one or more bighorn sheep standing on the shoulder licking the road. I think they like the salt that is used in the deicer the snowplows use.

photo by Pete Freund
photo by Pete Freund
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Unlike deer on the side of the road that are likely to jump right in front of you, the bighorn sheep seem to be in no hurry to get out of the way or move at all. Just a few days ago I’m coming to work and there is a mature bighorn sheep in the middle of the road, licking the road, and I turned my flashers on, slow down, He does not care. I get down to about 2 miles an hour and he looks up, gives me a look like “are you looking at me?” turns, and walks slowly to the side of the road. After a few years of this, I’m now starting to think of these critters the same way I would an old cranky uncle. 

I think it’s time to name them. Like George, Bob, or Cliff (see what I did there?)  

One thing I will say is if you are on 97a and you see a bighorn sheep please slow down but don’t pull over so you can watch them or take a picture. The shoulders are not wide enough except in emergencies. The other day on the way home some of “the guys” were hanging out of a cliff overlooking the road and a guy was pulled over on the side of the road watching them using a rifle scope. 

photo by Pete Freund
photo by Pete Freund
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They are amazing creatures that for the most part seem to be totally indifferent to us and what we do. When you are driving 97a below rocky reach dam watch out for “George”. 

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