The road to the trailhead was gated at the river crossing, adding 1.25 miles or so each way to the hike. Not that no one was back there, but the extra miles mean many fewer people, and it had plainly been quiet all winter and through the spring. There was lots of deer scat. It made me remember a hike in early April a few years ago when I was turned back by snow and sleet a couple of miles up the Middle Fork Trail, and on the way back saw some mountain sheep, rams with real curling horns. They'd wanted to get into my day pack, and I'd climbed on a pile of deadfall, picked up a big stick, and sung very loud until they gave up and went away. I was talking, not looking, remembering that other season.
"Speaking of sheep," said my companion. And there they were.
West Fork Trail description from the Carson National Forest