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!