Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Day Hike

Dave and I decided to do a hike on Christmas Day.  He'd never been to False Kiva, so that was the plan.  Wearing long pants, warm sweaters and coats, we headed out.  Five minutes into the hike the sweaters were off and we were wishing for shorts--it was at least 50 degrees and the movement made us warmer.  We had some trouble finding the site, because I coudn't remember how to get there.

This is what we found instead.  Deep potholes full of water from last week's rain.  The view (to me) suggested we were right above the site we were looking for...but how to get there?  We got headed in the right direction and found the real trail.  Down a steep grade into the canyon we went, only to have to climb back up into the alcove, and up into another alcove for the ruin.

The view is beautiful and the site is pretty interesting.  This picture was taken Christmas Day, 2010.  We were in direct sunlight, sweating.  Dave started wishing he hadn't worn heavy dark jeans on this hike.  I had light hiking pants on, but I think we both were wishing for shorts.  --Dave took this picture.  I'm nowhere near that good...or maybe it's just the scenery that makes it such an awesome picture! haha.

The hike out was long and hard--especially since we'd been couch potatoes for so long this winter.  We'd both been on two hikes that week before this one, and I'd gone on one the day before so we were kind of warmed up...but not enough!  I slipped and fell at least twice on the slickrock, Dave twisted his ankle and did a face plant into a blackbrush.  OUCH!  We limped to my car, drove home and watched a movie.  It was a challenge we both enjoyed and needed.  We admitted to each other we were both wishing for jet packs, helicopters....anything.

This is me  hiking out of the alcove.  We had to hike back down to the ledge to actually begin the climb out of the canyon.  I asked Dave if he'd ever go back, and he said yes, with a helicopter!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

More Wildlife Camera Pictures

The wildlife camera has been out for about two weeks.  We decided the less human visitation the better.  We ended up getting about 30 pictures, but I'm going to only add my favorites.  Last post was the kit fox.  This one will have mule deer and a black-tailed jackrabbit.  My absolute FAVORITE picture is the deer sniffing the camera; it's amazing!  The camera is set in a quiet area of the park where people don't normally go.  There is a historic cable site and lots of potholes with water in them for wildlife.  We noticed lots of deer and bighorn sheep footprints in one area, so this is where we set up the camera.  I'm excited to someday get a bobcat, mountain lion or bighorn sheep picture.  There are lots of prey species in the area so it's possible!!

"You smell funny."

Another of my favorites.  They look so peaceful!

Another close-up picture.

This was taken at dusk.  The camera takes infrared pictures, and was set at its highest quality.  I love watching deer, they're so peaceful and quiet wandering around grazing.  They're also very curious, as you can tell.

Black-tailed Jackrabbit hoping an owl doesn't swoop down.  It also has to look out for kit fox and coyotes.  The kit fox picture was taken in a different area of the park, near the group site.  They are also seen at the campground and Neck, near Dead Horse Point.

That's it for today!  Hopefully we'll have more pictures soon!  It's been really nice out and we've had pretty calm weather, except for today and the rest of this weekend it will snow/rain.  These days we don't get many visitors, even on a Saturday, so we can get some work done.  I've got grants to write and an article for the Moab Happenings due I should get to work!


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Kit Fox

Finally!  I'm updating my's about time!

We set up a wildlife camera at the park, hoping to get pictures of a mountain lion or something equally exciting.  We've found bobcat tracks and kit fox/coyote tracks so far, and some scat.  There are lots of mule deer (will post those later!) and we've found bighorn sheep tracks and scat on the northern end of the park--that's the current camera location!

This was taken at the group site, a mile north of the visitor center.  We don't get to see kit fox very often and it's usually during the night check around the Neck or the Point.  Kit fox are nocturnal and eat small rodents and cottontail rabbits.  I've found slides where park staff have had to trap them in the campground and release them elsewhere, because they were begging campers for food.  These little guys (and girls) are so cute, the Naturalist's Guide to Canyon Country says they look like cartoon characters with their big ears, small bodies and long tails.  Campers like to feed them because they are so cute...but they can't be dependent on human, because it's bad for them and two, because when humans aren't around (like now, in the winter) they have a hard time getting back into the routine of feeding themselves.  Same with birds, deer (though I did see a mule deer stealing something from a cooler at a campsite in Arches National Park once), chipmunks and all the other cute creatures we like to feed.

It's good to be back in the blogging world....and I will TRY MY BEST to keep it going!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Past Trip to Las Vegas and Points Between

My friend Stacy posted pictures on Facebook about one of our trips, it was actually for my 26th birthday!  We decided to make our way to Vegas for a few nights (since that's where I was born!).  I also wanted to see part of the Shakespearean Festival so we planned for that too.  The idea was the camp the whole way and then stay with my step-brother in Vegas for a couple nights over the 4th of July.  After one very hot night of camping around Cedar City at Red Cliffs we decided to spend the money on a hotel room for two nights.  It was worth it!  We made our way to Goblin Valley State Park, Capitol Reef Escalante State Park, Kodachrome (where we camped the night of my birthday!), and the visitor center at Bryce Canyon. 

Once we made it to Cedar City we visited Iron Mission State Park (now called Frontier Homestead) and swam at Sand Hollow State Park.  It was hot, so we ignored the signs warning us against swimming because of "swimmer's itch," a nasty parasite that's not really looking for humans tries anyway.  We each had many mosquito bite-looking bumps on our arms and legs that itched horribly for a week or so.  We didn't want to camp again because of the bites and the heat so we got the hotel room.

Here are pictures we took along the way:

Red Cliffs Campground...106 degrees at 6 p.m.!

Baby pheasants at our friend Mike's house in Boulder, UT.

Kodachrome Basin State Park

Stacy at Cedar Breaks

Fireworks Display

Dolpins at the Mirage

Step brother's pool!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hiking with Wendy in Arches

I haven't posted anything in a long time, so I decided today was a great day to catch up a little bit.  My friend Wendy and I decided to go for a hike in Arches a few weeks ago (that's how behind I am!).  I was not thinking right and wore jeans, a long-sleeved cotton t-shirt, no hat and no sunscreen on my neck.  Got my neck fried and my nose burned.  If it had been any warmer I'd have been very uncomfortable but it ended up being a fun day anyway.

We parked at the Park Avenue trailhead and walked up the road to a social trail, which we followed to a crack we could climb to the top of the slickrock.  We got some amazing views of Courthouse Wash and Park Avenue, plus the flowers were amazing.  I think Wendy took more flower pictures than I did but here is what I have for the day!

A view into the heart of Arches.

Blooming yucca and lots of sand and rocks.

Rough mule's ears (Wyethia scabra) blooming.

Can you spot Wendy in this picture?  She's tiny compared to the rocks! (middle)

A view at the top of Courthouse Wash.

We spent about four hours exploring up there.  Most of it was slickrock so we didn't have to worry about crushing plants or biological soil crust where we were.  We stopped to smell almost every new type of flower we saw, including fishhook cactusl, claret-cup cactus and cliffrose.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Needles, Arches and Negro Bill Canyon Hikes

Okay, I am updating the last three major hikes I've been on.  At the end of April, a friend (Louise Murch) brought down her friend Sally to hike in the Needles area.  I was off the same days they were here so I hiked with them as much as I could.  They'd been planning to hike up over Wooden Shoe and also to Druid Arch.  I'd been wanting to make it to Druid Arch for a long time so I was really excited when they said where they were going.  The hike was a killer, but we all made it.  I was sore the next day, but during the hike I kept stopping to smell the wildflowers and take pictures of them.  I also LOVE the colors and shapes of the rocks in the Needles, so I took too many pictures of rocks.

Below Wooden Shoe

Wooden Shoe Arch
The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park is about 60 miles south of Moab, visible from Dead Horse Point and the Island in the Sky.  Instead of being up on a mesa looking down, we were inside the rock formations looking up at them.  We could also see the high red cliffs of Wingate sandstone that make up the Island in the Sky.  The weather was stormy for most of the trip, but there were periods of blue sky when we could see the La Sal Mountains covered in snow.  It made a great contrast to the red rocks.

Inside a joint between rocks.

Louise Murch and me at Druid Arch

Isn't it amazing?  Druid Arch, way worth the hike.

The Fiery Furnace is in Arches National Park.  The name comes from the fins of dark red sandstone, rising up to look like flames.  There are no trails in the Fiery Furnace but enough groups have been through and my friend had been there enough times we made it through pretty quickly.  There are hidden arches and great rock formations inside, along with a flower--biscuitroot (Lomatium latilobum) that is endemic to the area--it grows only between fins of entrada sandstone.

Inside the Fiery Furnace

Fun places to explore.

Finally, the last hike I did on my own.  I really needed to be outside but as I started late in the day, I only intended a short walk.  I ended up hiking five miles, up Negro Bill Canyon to Morning Glory Arch, which is really a natural bridge.  I loved the sound of the water and the birds singing, and the loads of wildflowers I passed.  I took pictures of some of them but mostly concentrated on the hike.  This is what I'd planned to do on my days off all spring, so finally getting out to do these hikes was a great start.  That's why I started the blog in the first place!  So here are some pictures to go along with the descriptions.

Blooming claret cup cactus in Negro Bill Canyon.

Hanging garden.

Morning Glory Bridge.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sonoran Desert Wildflowers and More!

When I started this blog I imagined myself being a lot more faithful to it than I actually am.  Anyway, here are the pictures and some details from my last two trips to Arizona!  The first time this year I went down was to visit my family--step parents and aunt and uncle from Anacortes, WA.  We went for some hikes and played a lot of cards.  The second time was in April and it was to see the desert wildflowers and visit the botanical gardens with my friend Arran from Canada.  She's as much into plants as I am so we had a great time!  We actually spent the entire day at the botanical gardens!

The family hiking in White Tanks recreational area.  We hiked the Waterfall Trail. It had just rained so it was great to see so much water in that area.

Isn't this awesome scenery?  I love the saguaros and chollas!

California poppy

Fairy duster

Arran stopping to smell the flowers.

Dove nesting in a saguaro.

I love this sign.  I've been fascinated with flowers for the longest time.  I love that they're only here for a little while, then they produce seeds to create the next generation of plants and flowers.  Maybe my next post will be on the wildflowers of this area...or my latest trip to the Needles where we saw all kinds of flowers and very cool rock formations.

Desert spiny lizard.  I followed it until it stopped long enough for me to take a picture.

So I know it's only 8 pictures of two very different, scenery and plant-filled trips but I didn't want to go on too long.  As soon as I download pictures from the Needles I'll post that trip as well.  I've got some half-days coming up at work too so maybe I'll get out into the Island in the Sky area more and have something to say about that!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Jeep Saga

I know this isn't entirely about nature, but it definitely affects my plans for the summer!  I haven't written anything for a while because I've been busy and sleepy and looking for a way to work for the past two weeks.  I went to Ken's Lake for a walk--it's one mile around the lake and it's beautiful and relaxing and I watched Canada geese swimming around.  I was on my way home, turning left at an intersection when my Jeep stalled.  I got it started after several tries, long enough to pull out of the intersection, and called a tow truck.  The shop had the Jeep for three days before they called me saying I needed a new engine.  I called the Jeep dealership in Grand Junction.  They said they would do it for $7,000.  I replied that I would not be doing that.  Luckily my brother-in-law is a mechanic and is going to look at it sometime in the future (months probably).

If I'd worked in town it wouldn't have been much of a problem.  I work 35 miles outside of town!  I borrowed a friend's car on Saturday, my old roommate drove me to the park on Sunday morning, my boyfriend picked me up Sunday evening.  Monday and Tuesday I rode to work with a co-worker in the water truck.  A friend of a friend drove me to Price on Wednesday, I met my sister and she drove me to Vernal so I could borrow my mom's car.  I had my mom's car all last week to get to work and back while I was researching and looking online for vehicles.  A friend and I drove to Grand Junction Thursday.  I found a good car--a Toyota Corolla--13,000 miles on it and 2007.  More than I'd planned to spend but I think it will be worth it.  It does get great gas mileage!  Since I drive 70 miles a day for work, it's a good thing.

So I will miss my Jeep, it's served me well and has over 150,00 miles on it.  I'm going to have to remember to be nice to my car and not take it on too many dirt roads!  Most places I'd planned to visit this summer around Moab I can visit by mountain bike or hiking so it's only a slight change of plans!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Great Reminder

A footprint on a wall in a ruin on Cedar Mesa.

The Canyon we found it in.

I was busy at first aid training today and went for a walk tonight, but not really hiking, just wandering around the neighborhoods in Moab.  Said hello to some old friends and wandered some more.  I wanted to post something, but didn't have anything specific on my mind.  I found these pictures as I was browsing on my computer (Yes, I took these ones!).  Andrew and I found this ruin on Cedar Mesa.  I looked inside one ruin and found this footprint on a wall.  It made me think of a little kid lying on the ground when the mud was fresh and, placing his (or her) foot into the mud, leaving his (or her) mark on the dwelling.  It was another cool reminder that these ruins and rock art were made by people just like us.  There are several rock art depictions of pregnant women, and near Moab there is a panel of a woman giving birth (or that's the interpretation anyway).  Giving birth in the desert, not in a hospital, in the heat or cold, having ceremonies for that baby and taking care of it--babies back then had the same needs as babies do now!  I just think it's fascinating to think about.

I'm hiking tomorrow so maybe I'll have something more interesting to post but I wanted to share this thought.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Immature Bald Eagle

Yesterday as I was headed to Grand Junction to do some shopping, I saw an immature bald eagle circling above the river looking for fish.  I was on a windy, curvy section of the River Road (Highway 128) but no one was coming behind me so I stopped for a second to watch it.  It was huge!  ...and I was so excited I got goosebumps!  I reached for my phone to share it with someone....anyone....but there's no service on that road and I had to get going.

I did not take this picture, it's from a google image search...sorry!

In Grand Junction, Jennie and I went to the botanical gardens and then walked with her kids to the riverbank and took a short break.  Then we shopped for a while and I headed home.

My last really cool bird sighting was a peregrine falcon (2 times now!) out near the park boundary.  It was flying a little low, looking for rodents.

I'm so happy the snow's almost all gone!!!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sewing Projects

These are a few of the things I've made since I dusted off my sewing machine a month ago.  I'm working on a set of pajamas, and these are two pincushions I made for other people.  The pink one is of the first, as you can tell!

This one is mine, stuffed with cotton balls, because that's all I could think of at the time.

This is one I made my step-mom for her birthday.

This I made from fabric harvested from an old state park uniform shirt.  My friend volunteered at the park, cleaning out the very nasty uniform closet.  She threw away bags and bags of un-useable uniforms, kept the nicer ones for the seasonals and cut the rest into cleaning rags.  I made her this to commemorate her time in the uniform the way, I didn't know how to piece fabric together, so the first two attempts ended up in mangled pieces of fabric I don't want anyone to ever see!

These are my pajamas BEFORE I took them in a few inches.  Cut the pattern out a little too big...but by the time they're finished I should be able to wear them!

I will post pictures soon!

I have pictures of Phoenix but haven't posted them yet.  Hopefully next month I will have more, but this time of wildflowers.  It's still cold and snowy here (no snow in Moab, just a lot on the mesa!) and the campground snowman is halfway melted but still standing.

Phoenix was rainy the first day.  It actually stormed on us but the next few days were great.  We went to White Tanks to hike to the waterfall, and then spent some time poking around the desert exploring cactus.  Norm (stepdad) brushed up against a couple cholla...his arm survived but his shoe was another story.  I wonder if they even got all the spines out.  My stepmom tried to take the spines out, got them stuck in her hand.  I took them out of her hand and threw them on the side of the trail.

Anyway I will hopefully post pictures tonight or tomorrow!

I am thinking of goals for the spring (not getting too far yet!) and here are a few: 
  • finish sewing my pajamas
  • start the canvas bag pattern I bought (and spent $20 on fabric for)
  • make some quilted coasters from a really cool design
  • find the articles on potholes I've been looking for
  • find my application for substitute teaching
  • be prepared for my after school club
  • get out a LOT more and see more of Moab!
A few areas I'm ashamed I've not been to yet are: Klondike Bluffs, Salt Valley Road, Murphy Trail and Lathrop Trail (Canyonlands), Druid Arch, Amasa Back, Hurrah Pass, Hell Roaring Canyon and hiking the Slickrock Bike Trail.  I've decided that for my sanity I need to camp more and hike more, and get out here more in general, even if it's hot (don't worry, I drink lots of water!).  There are more areas I need to get to but I'll save those for later!  I'm SO ready for spring, (even though I know winter is important!).

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Another snowy day...

I took this picture this morning after I finished shoveling snow.  Yesterday I shoveled everything in the park but it was only an inch or so.  Today is a little different.  I shoved the Point sidewalks while Crystal shoveled the visitor center.  She is sick and my back has been killing me, so we moved pretty slow.  I am tired of the snow (I looked forward to THIS in November...) but last night I found a great use for it--filling plastic bags for ice packs.  My back hurt and I stayed at the park--I forgot any kind of pain killer except magnesium/calcium pills that relax my muscles but make me sleepy too.  I used the ice pack for a while then got in a hot bath, then iced it again and I slept great!  Yesterday I used some sick leave because the night before I only got a few hours of sleep.  The chiropractor keeps saying I'm fixed but I'm really not.  Tried a massage, and tomorrow I am going to another homeopathic-type doctor before I go to a real doctor.  It will be $60, but after all the money I spent on chiropractor and may be worth it.

I am excited to go to Phoenix...not the long drive but the warmer weather.  I heard there may already be wildflowers blooming so I'm taking my camera and computer, and camera charger.  When I went to Washington I forgot the charger so I ended up with many less pictures that I would have otherwise.  Maybe I'll have to go back......we'll see!

Today may not be a productive day at work.  I want to go out and clean before tonight (I'm afraid of the road after it gets and black cows, not a great combo) so I'll do that, maybe vacuum and clean the windows and stock a little.  I've been reading some of the books on our shelves so I can help people buy them....and I'm becomming a fan of Craig Childs.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Slow, cold foggy days

I took this picture with my phone this morning on my way through the campground.  It's got a mohawk and a grass skirt...we had campers a few nights ago from a wilderness therapy class.

It's been very slow, foggy most days and cold, but so far it hasn't snowed.  I saw frozen frost on my way to work this morning but I was warm in my Jeep drinking coffee so that made things a little nicer.  The frost was pretty, we don't see that very often.  There are always flocks of birds in the highway and I'm always afraid I'm going to hit one.  I think they're juncos but I don't get a good enough look to really tell.

Yesterday a visitor came in and asked me if I get scared way out here and all alone.  I told her there are really no people around to be afraid of, because in the visitor center in the park that's all there really would be to be afraid of!  People are out of their normal surroundings here and it scares them.  I'm sure if I found myself in a big city surrounded by tons of people I don't know with no idea of where I'm going or what to do next I would be scared.  Maybe not, I kind of like things like that--I made it through the Seattle airport without getting lost and scared, but then I had plenty of time between flights.

I think I saw a dead porcupine on the highway this morning, but didn't stop to look closer....

Monday, February 1, 2010

Some "cool" birds

At work I have been cleaning out the park library.  I got rid of lots of books and lots of other things we don't need in the library.  There are 18 empty slide carousels and some projectors, a bunch of blueprints and a dartboard.  The dart board belongs to a co-worker who has promised to take it home.  We also have a refridgerator and small kitchen with a microwave.  Once I was finished with the library part of the room I tackled the kitchen.  I started with the kitchen cupboards--gross!  I threw out food that had expired in 2003 and lots of hot sauce packets and sugar packets, old tea and I washed about 10 mugs that had coffee stains in them from years ago.

Once I tackled the fridge and got tougher.  We have a collection of frozen snakes I use for my reptile programs but I weeded through those and kept the good ones, threw out the mangled road kill snakes everyone had saved because no one ever threw anything away.  Ever.  These snakes are in there because past and current employees had found them dead, wound them up and put them in the freezer.  I also found a couple bags of dead birds--ash throated flycatchers that had flown into the building, died and been stuck in the freezer with blood still on their heads.  I threw those out too--too disturbing to keep.  So now the kitchen and library are in good working condition almost--a few more things to get rid of and make more space for working and developing programs.

On the subject of cool birds though, it's more fun to watch birds that are alive and running around looking for food.  I went to my boyfriend's house in Blanding.  He said he's got waist-deep snow and I wanted to see it!  It is really that deep--he's got tunnels built from his house to the woodpile and his shop and the driveway is a tunnel too.  I was looking out the window--he feeds his wild birds with seed from his shop--there are spotted tohees, dark-eyed juncos, scrub jays and pinyon jays visiting his yard.  The pinyon jays this week were a surprise, he usually doesn't see groups o them down there.  In the summer he's got oriols, that I like watching.  I want to learn more birds but I have been really slow about it.
spotted tohee--from