Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fremont Indian State Park

Well, we were off like a herd of turtles Thursday night thanks to road construction and traffic accidents. We got outta Dodge around 8:00 p.m. and knew we couldn't make it to Fremont Indian State Park, so we decided to try Yuba Lake. Full. We pressed on to a lovely little oasis called Maple Grove, managed by the Forest Service. We woke up to the scenery in the first picture, impressed, as we had not seen a thing when we drove in late that night. The campground at the state park is called Castle Rock and was also lovely and beautiful. Swanky, really, considering they had flush toilets, running water, paper towels, AND trash dumpsters. All of that for $13, which really WAS a deal because that same $13 provided a lunch hour at the park's picnic site, AND free admission to the Museum. Fremont Indian State Park is quite a GEM and we recommend it highly! We also attended a campfire program in the evening about the local fauna. Fun times with my K: foil dinners, hiking, and pillow talk under the full moon.

K decided to weatherproof our tent since it would be up in a sunny, breezy place for many hours. While watching him do his man duty, I noticed this spider web around the branch of a Juniper. Perhaps it's not newsworthy to you...but I like noticing stuff like this.

This is my K. Best camping/hiking/road trip buddy in the world! He knew I would love a cool early morning hike so he got up early for me.

These gnarly aspen bring one word to mind: STRUGGLE. This was up above an old mining town called Kimberly around 10,000-11,000 feet elevation with snow patches. You gotsta be HARDY to make your way in the world up around there! The other pic is a close-up of the bark of a Cottonwood tree as we hiked part of the Joe Lott Canyon trail this morning (the creek crossing was a little wide for my short a bit wet on the way up and clumsily, MORE wet on the way back). Just LOVED the texture of the bark! What? You think I'm a "Nature Nerd?" Seriously?

All of the Prickly Pear blossoms were yellow in this area. I love how the Columbine look like they're flying...always in motion.

I know. It's a lot of flower photos, but over the years, I've improved in my ability to recognize, identify, and appreciate them. The Firecracker Penstemon were catching some morning rays, the Yellow Salsify was screaming for attention, and the Wild Roses smelled heavenly (we both thought so....mmmmm).

Petroglyphs (chiseled) and Pictographs (painted/dyed) are so interesting, but I will always remember what my petroglyph teacher, Kris Keele, used to say, "I hate it when people call it 'Rock Art.' These people were not sitting around doing art! They were working hard to say something important!" I hope in the hereafter I'll get to watch a video or interview a Fremont Indian to ask a few questions... They'll probably laugh their heads off and ask, "Is THAT what you thought we were saying???"

The Canyon of Life. Very interesting interpretations here. This was the last of eleven hikes we did out of a possible fourteen. After all, we need to leave something for ourselves to do next time.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Another Day at the Office

You know, it's a rough job but SOMEBODY has to do it so why not me? As if working in the cave isn't nice enough, I got sent on a special assignment to another location and LOVED the sunny spring day. I can't write about all of my experiences, but here are a few photos to give you a taste.

Flowers along the cave trail.

On the way to Cascade Springs to find fishy friends and other delights.

SUCH a peaceful place.

This little charmer knows how to pick 'em. Charmy's stump is right behind one of the best benches in the whole place! PRIME real estate! Charmy seems to enjoy flirting with humans. Loves to show off. But when the humans in green pants don't cough up anything good, Charmy resorts to eating. Pretty much tried everything with me except tap dancing.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Brandon Mull

I gave a cave tour to Brandon Mull and his family the other day. Someone at the VC (Visitor Center) called up to the cave on the radio to announce his presence. Some of the rangers were discussing who would get to take him through, but in the end, it was me. He is the author of Fablehaven, but I must confess, I've only read book one of the series. My students are wild about him! I didn't mention anything to him or his group about his fame, but at a certain point in the cave (I was doing my "Was it worth it?" theme), I asked if anyone in our group had set a goal AND achieved it. Couldn't have planned it better. Brandon piped up and announced that he has published a book. That's when I announced him to the group. A fifth grade girl from Texas practically swooned. He was so gracious at the exit, signing autographs and posing for pictures. When I came out of the cave, three rangers were hiking UP the exit trail together and I had a horrible feeling that something went really wrong while I was in the cave. Another accident? A warning? What's happening? BJ whispered to me, "We are stalking Brandon Mull."

Camping with K

The water was more muddy than clear. We remarked on the amazing sound the boulders make while crashing into each other. Water is an incredible force! We just love being together, rain or shine. By the way, this was a FREE campground! No toilet paper, but you know, free.

Sawtooth National Forest

Our watery trail. We were hiking in the rain up by Bull Flat out of Clear Creek Campground in the Sawtooth National Forest. The big wide water by K is what finally made us turn around.

Does this make you laugh? It makes K laugh. Another one of his "action shots" of J.

Having fun!

Flora and Fauna

Bighorn sheep at the cave.

Never have noticed the fruit of a sage before.

I wish I knew all their names...

City of Rocks

Castle Rocks State Park in Idaho. K wanted to know why I was snapping pics of COMPLETE STRANGERS rock climbing. I told him that I ADMIRE these people because it's an activity I will NEVER do.

Home is where the Hubby is. I should mention a cattle drive went right past as we dined.

This is a bit of the scenery at City of Rocks, a National Park Service site near Idaho's state park which is called Castle Rocks. Castle Rocks, City of Rocks, it's all good.

Ah, good times with my K!