I saw a mule deer on my trip along the highway this past week, but didn't bother taking a picture of it. I saw lots of other ungulates, though! Here are some pictures of what I saw:
This elk is part of a herd that has been hanging out just east of Summit Lake.
The harem's ram.
Licking minerals off the road to make those horns grow. Yum, yum, yum!
Although the following bison pictures were taken near Fort Smith, NWT in Wood Buffalo National Park, I assure you that there are lots of bison near the Liard Hotsprings on the Alaska Highway. In fact, the Liard bison are descended from transplanted Wood Buffalo herds. Driving through the Liard Hotsprings area at night is not recommended - I've seen what those things can do to an H2 Hummer!
Roadblock (just a small one).
A big ol' bull.
A bison calf. Isn't it cute? This was a noisy one. It kept "mooing".
When I used to drive by Fort Providence, NWT in the springtime, I would always get a kick out of the "bison mushrooms" along the side of the road. As the spring sunshine warmed the bison droppings, the snow would melt around the base leaving a supporting column of snow in the bottom middle of the dropping where the sun couldn't reach. It essentially made a mushroom with a bison-dropping cap and a stem of snow.
Sadly, a lot of bison - and sometimes people - are killed along the Alaska Highway near the Liard Hotsprings by nighttime bison/vehicle collisions. On my drive, I noticed that, as the spring sun melted the snow, it revealed many rigor-mortised bison victims supported by a columns of snow where the sun couldn't reach - just like the dropping mushrooms. The similarity to the dropping mushrooms was uncanny, and I was amazed that the snow could support so much weight - but it was very macabre and I'll never again be able to look at bison dropping mushrooms without remembering the carnage. It's unfortunate that people won't slow down when they go through the area at night.
Caribou near Summit Lake.
Even though there were a dozen cars parked less than fifty feet away, this moose was enjoying the minerals and good food at the Liard Hotsprings.
In the next post, I'll show you what might have happened to this moose if it hadn't been standing in a provincial park.