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One afternoon I was camping at Riley Creek at the entrance to Denali National Park. I got to the park a half-day early before a planned trip to spend a few days in the park. Wanting to spot some wildlife before heading out on the bus the next day, I decided to try to hike up Mt. Margaret before dark. I walked out of the popular Savage River Loop, passing many people along the way. A gentlemen saw me with my cameras and stopped to chat. I asked him if he had seen any sheep (I see them fairly frequently in this valley). He said he saw no wildlife, but if I continue along the trail beyond the bridge, past the maintained trail, I will find a little waterfall. I thanked him for the information, despite being very familiar with the area and went on my way.
About one minute later, I spotted 9 Dall sheep on a hill. They were far away, just little white dots high up on Mt. Margaret. I headed out past the end of the trail and started my way up the steep, rocky side of Mt. Margaret. There’s not a trail, just a few open and rocky ridgelines to navigate to the high ridge. I’m watching the little white dots on the hill, not seeming to get any larger. Suddenly, this big guy walks out of the bushes a few yards in front of me.
Not knowing his intentions, I backed away slowly. Ducking around a large outcropping for a bit, he curiously walked around to keep me in his sight, so I backed down some more. Once I was far enough away that he no longer acknowledged my presence, I pulled out my long lens and took a few photos. Since he was pretty well blocking my path, I couldn’t make it up to the sheep, but at least I had a few wildlife shots I had hoped to get on this impromptu hike!