Deer Diner


W04Jun2016

 

At just under a mile high, Hurricane Ridge experiences both the strong winds it is named for and the possibility of snow pretty much any time of year. Looking closely, the rock that forms the Olympic Mountains developed under the sea, with marine fossils on top of the peaks. I lived in Washington for 8 years, and had a chance to visit Olympic National Park quite a bit during this time. It includes almost a million acres of wild drama, including glacier covered peaks, temperate rain forest, alpine wildflower meadows, and seashore. With this incredible diversity, along with many unique species, it has been designated an international biosphere reserve.

With only a couple return visits since moving back east 8 years ago, I saw the jagged mountains fresh. Where I live now in the southern Appalachians, time and erosion have worn away the rough edges, but here the mountains are fresh and sharp. I’ve seen these mountains in all kinds of weather but this is my favorite, with clouds swirling around playing hide and seek with the peaks.

When I visited late last month, there was still a lot of snow, but enough had melted to allow these mule deer to graze on newly exposed grass. I took quite a few photos but this seemed the most appropriate, engaged in a synchronized eating competition. At this time, with the melting snow revealing fresh grass, they are all eating machines. Their world is suddenly and briefly a giant salad bar, and they are intent on eating as much and as fast as they can. Shortly after this was taken, inspired by them, I had a picnic complete with salad.