Grasslands

Big Sagebrush is Soooooo Bossy

See the deer trails to the left of the bluff in the middle of the image?

Here’s some more, 500 metres to the right. They look like slumping patterns on the hill, marked out by horizontal white lines of snow.

I’m not so sure. Here are some 100 metres below the ones above. You can see them running against the slide of the slope, in relation to the sun.

Not just to the sun. And it is not as if the land is naturally folded like this. This is something different. Here’s the deer, coyote and porcupine trail, running right against their grain. Running right up the centre of the image is a new deer trail, too. You might be able to make out the footsteps, but they are bare of snow.

It’s like the sun is coming in waves! I think the reason is sagebrush. It pushes you, making it easier to slide laterally along the slope, than up or down, and because it is easier on a slope to approach a bush from above than below, you are always going to trend downwards, unless you leap upwards a metre and catch the same angular drift above the next one. It seems that the wind has found this same path. Slumping, deer, humans, sun, sagebrush and wind, this is a pattern we make together. Once sagebrush has forced you not to go straight up a hill, you’ll never try it again. It’s quite the experience to have a shrub tell you where to go! Best to listen.

 

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