Monday, April 25, 2011

Hiking in Arches: Park Avenue

After a day of exploring by truck, we (I) decided to do some hikes.  (I was really tired of Dave's suspension bouncing me around aaaaalllll day loooong)  Dave's done a few hikes in Arches, but we (I) decided he needed to see more.  He hadn't been to the Windows, my favorite, or Park Avenue, so that's what we focused on.  Park Avenue is one of my favorite hikes because it's usually not crowded and it's a quick two-mile hike to get in on the way home from work or in a free morning.

View of rock formations along Park Avenue.  Named for New York's Park Avenue, the canyon walls are huge, tall rock fins of Entrada Sandstone lining a narrow wash.  (Entrada is the arch-forming sandstone in Arches, which is home to over 2,000 named arches)

Dark red fins in front of a clear blue sky.

Nefertiti Rock--looks like an Egyptian Queen.  What I want to know, is "how did this happen?!"

Park Avenue is impressive enough looking up at those huge rock formations, but when you look closer at some of the smaller wonders, it's too much to take in all at once!  This Newberry's Twinpod caught my eye in a sandy area of the wash.  What usually happens is this:  Dave looks at the rock formations and knows in what environment it was deposited and its time period.  I look at the ground for tracks and scat, flowers and other cool little things..... this!  Crossbedded sandstone making fun patterns on the floor of the wash.  Dave walked right over it, so I called him back to "look at the ground."

I've got pictures of some very "cute" tracks in the sandy places of this wash, but I'll save those for another post.  Happy hiking!

Earth Day Clean-up

I received a text from my friend Wendy on Thursday asking if I wanted to do a quick Earth Day clean-up along Mill Creek in the center of town.  We did one last year and found lots of garbage and recyclable materials, so I decided it would be a good idea to get back out there--plus it's great exercise and the weather had been super nice.

A walking/biking path follows Mill Creek through the city of Moab.  It's peaceful and quiet and we heard a lot of birds singing as we cleaned.  I use the Mill Creek path to walk across town--it avoids the busy streets and passes under Main Street.  It's the easiest (maybe not the fastest) way to get to the store and even across town.  The part we cleaned was right next to/under Main Street and below Woody's Tavern.  ...Not against the bar...except when people throw beer glasses and garbage over the fence and into the creek.  Most of what we picked up was broken glasses, beer bottles and food containers (ew).

My friend Wendy who invited me along.

My friend Sara Melnicoff, who organizes these events!  Yay Sara!  Her website, is awesome--projects, green tips, etc.

Sara and her display about Moab Solutions.  She makes portable exhibits out of recyclable materials.  One can be seen at the Wabi Sabi Thriftique in town and she takes them with her when she gives presentations or holds events.

The group of us.  Me, Wendy, Dean, Sara, Carole and Breezy.  We all felt a little grungy after wading in the creek and mud, going after garbage and recyclables but it was worth it!

I know it's over, but Happy Earth Day!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Near Snake Experience

Dave and I decided to go for a hike, exploring some old dirt roads around the area south of Moab.  We were walking up a road that was too old to drive on--had not been maintained for years.  I'll add more pictures to another post about the old mine and houses we found, but today I wanted to share my rattle snake find!

We were on our way back down from the mine when I stepped over a rock and heard the buzzing.  Dave later said it sounded like a cicada, but my brain registered what it was before I knew what was happening.  I froze, trying to figure out where it was and if it was safe to step away from it.  Dave registered it after me, saying "Don't move!  There's a rattlesnake!"  I heard him talking but tuned him out in favor of the snake.  A few seconds later it crawled out from under a rock, moving away from me.  I relaxed when I saw it was too far away to be dangerous.

Dave wanted me to move immediately so it didn't block his path behind me, but then he changed his mind.  He said, "we need pictures!"  I'm thinking, "what??? I want to get away from it!"  So we both took a fast couple of pictures before we left the snake alone and continued our journey.

We have Midget-faded Rattlesnakes in this area.  They are only about three feet long at their largest and their faded color helps them blend in to their surroundings.  They are small, but don't let size fool you!  They are still rattlesnakes with rattlesnake venom!  I read that only one out of three strikes actually contain venom--they usually want to reserve their venom for their prey and they strike humans for defense, not because they're thinking of us as food.  Venom is actually a modified saliva, that starts digesting the snake's prey before they even swallow it.

I've seen rattlesnakes before, in and out of the park, but I've never had one rattle at me from right under my feet!  Quite an adrenalin rush, and took my mind off the fact that we had packed a backpack full of snacks and water...but had left it in the truck!  We were ready for it by the time we got back!