Saturday, January 21, 2012

Canyon Scramble

Photos and text by Trina

We're enjoying what promises to be a brief episode of winter this weekend -- what passes for winter around here, anyway. (There were actual snowflakes falling out of the sky for a couple of hours.) The boys and I headed out into it this afternoon, to a popular and well trod area laced with canyons, but once we got there we quickly dove off the trail in search of something a little more "lost" feeling. We found a faint bighorn sheep trail that took us up through the jumble of a tallus slope and along the base of a vertical red wall, scrambling over spall-splatter boulders, hugging cliffs, up a steep, loose drainage and a jagged, stepped cliff -- exactly the kind of terrain where you'd expect to see bighorns scampering about (all we saw were their tracks and poop) -- and finally up onto a high sandstone finger between two canyons.

We got exactly as lost as we wanted to be -- far enough off the beaten path to enjoy some quiet, to be able to just sit, peacefully, surveying a wide open, forested canyon on one side of us, and a narrow, ribboning, red-pinnacled canyon on the other. A little lunch, a little hot tea, a lot of sniffing, a lot of rock-hopping. Finally, we got unlost and returned home to burrow into the warmth of the previously clean laundry pile -- what passes for clean around here, anyway.

I've been trying to find out what these are -- plant seed pods caught up in some spider webbing or the most amazing spider egg sacs in the history of the known universe? They were tucked up under an overhang in the same kind of setting where we frequently see black widow webs and egg sacs. The closest I've come so far is this. And this.


  1. All the images are nice and "crisp", #1 and #7 stand out for me. #1 just because, #7 is fascinating.

    Off the beaten trail...most excellent and a favorite hobby of ours.


  2. Thanks, Ed! There was about a three foot high seam of those red bubble rocks -- which I guess would more accurately be called "inclusions?" -- with individual bubbles coming loose and starting to crack open. I entertained the notion that I had found a huge cache of fossilized dinosaur eggs -- much more exciting than "inclusions."

  3. Love the gorgeous landscape! Absolutely inspiring. What exactly is the 8th photo? To me it looks to be maybe owl pellets or a poorly digested meal. One actually looks like almost an entire body of a bat. Living in the city of Philadelphia, I haven't seen an owl pellet aside from dissecting them in biology class in high school. Bats are common enough, though most people confuse them for birds because they think bats don't frequent cities. (As a kid I loved to throw a small rock into the air and watch the bats in my backyard all dive toward it.)
    The sleepy dog photos are heart warming and precious. Its adorable that they're snuggled up under a blanket!