Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cedar Breaks National Monument

One evening, I was closing the cave with these two other rangers. She's a grad student in jazz guitar and he learned harmonica last summer. We went out on the patio after putting away our radios and flat hats to spend the remainder of our duty time. They sounded SO GOOD together (improv) that they played for some visitors the following day.

We found a place called Mammoth Cave. This is where we went in (I didn't go all the way in). These pictures were snapped after K got out.

And this is where he came out! Does that hole look small to you? It was small! I made him put his foot in front of it for size perspective. Yep, that's where he came out.

He's just so happy to be muddy and caving.

There's a stretch of road with nothing but piles and piles of lava rock for miles and miles--it's all the eye can see.

Our campsite at 10,350 feet, surrounded by wildflowers.

This morning we hiked the Wasatch Ramparts Trail which is beyond the Spectrum Overlook (4 miles round trip). We have SO MANY PICTURES from our various adventures to Cedar Breaks. We are impressed by Bristlecone Pines. This one is like 2000-5000 years old! I know.

Our last hike before heading home was the Alpine Pond Trail.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Sooooo....sometime today during Special Projects, Rangers D. and M. and I were assigned to go to Cascade Springs to photograph humans having a good time. We had plenty of pens in our pockets and waivers for the humans to sign. On the way, we saw a moose off to the side of the road, so I asked Ranger D. to pull over so I could take a picture. The moose was quite a ways off in the distance. Safety first! Uh I got out of the car and took a few steps toward the moose to get my best shot and the thing started running right toward me! Being the respectful, keep-a-safe-distance park ranger that I am, I scurried back to the car and decided that getting a pic wasn't such a great idea. The moose never got that close, but I gave Ranger M. in the backseat my camera and told her to snap a few. Therefore, here's the one that "got away."

Monday, July 19, 2010


There are signs along the cave trail that warn about rattlesnake habitat. People think we're kidding. People don't think there could ever be anything dangerous in a national park or monument. People don't think. Well, we really do have rattlesnakes and today, Ranger Jon got to move two of them under the direction of Ranger Nancy and Yours Truly. I'll never forget MY first rattlesnake moving experience either! You should hear rangers talk, "He's gorgeous!" "Ooh, how PRETTY!" "Have we named this one yet?" "I don't recognize this one, do you?" Why do we move them? To protect them from the people. I am not even kidding.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Tony Adventure

Before I get to the adventure, I just wanted to share a couple of pics of a rock squirrel that hangs out at Dead Dog on the cave trail. Cheeky, yes? These things are R.O.U.S.'s (Princess Bride...Rodents of Unusual Size) compared to the little chipmunks and other rodents we see in the monument. Again, tried just about everything with me except tugging on my green ranger pants as if to say, "Ranger, can you spare a brother a dime?" But nooooooo, I did NOT give it any food!

Do you know why Tony Grove is called Tony Grove? Tony is a word that means "stylish" or "exclusive" and was used by the elite who headed up Logan Canyon for leisurely pursuits such as hiking and fishing. I don't think we can be described as stylish, but we love to camp up there and we've hiked ALL the trails around Tony Grove. The trail to Naomi Peak is 6.6 miles round trip. It's shorter than White Pine Lake, but more difficult because of the elevation gain. We loved our time at the Lewis M. Turner campground.

En route. We were just floored by ALL of the gorgeous wildflowers. Pictures cannot do justice, so we just snapped one of the flying columbine. Together, the two of us have the decent beginnings of a wildflower field guide. We "ooh." We "ah." We are fairly proficient with geology as well...Go Team Kyburz!

Views from the tippy-top. We didn't set out with the summit in mind. K said we would just "see how we feel." As we got closer, I decided we would go for it. K questioned me and quoted Beck Weathers, "Reaching the summit is optional. Getting down is mandatory."

It ain't pretty, but here's the proof that we made it. K always says I scare him with the things I post...I'm beginning to scare myself. Ah well, it's the real us (cringe).

Even at 9,979 feet elevation, life flourishes! These plants only get ONE frost-free month a year to do their thing.

We stopped to hike the Limber Pine Trail (only 1.3 miles) which was so lovely this morning.

We drove through Garden City near Bear Lake for the traditional Bear Lake Raspberry Shake which we shared. Cool and cloudy...beautiful day!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Uintas

This is a daddy Western Tanager feeding bugs to his babies. Ranger Kristen found this nest just off the cave trail at half-way. We've all been watching the progress each morning and evening. You may need to click on the animal pictures in this post to get a better view.

K and I had ourselves another trip. I wish I could bottle up the fresh scents of the Uinta Mountains right after summer rain. I wish I could keep forever that sound of ice water swishing in the old red Coleman jug my parents used on similar excursions as our vehicle rattled around on dirt roads. After we set up camp, we hiked on the Christmas Meadows Trail. K spied a black and white woodpecker that was really going to town for some insects. We made many creek crossings, and a moose allowed itself to be photographed. I realized something about myself on this hike. I'm certainly getting fussy as I age because I've decided I don't like to hike trails used by mules (Grand Canyon--they tear that trail up so it's like hiking uphill on sand dunes) and horses (Christmas Meadows--deep mud mixed with horse manure). I don't have the advantage of four legs so I like my trails a bit more firm I guess.

This is Christmas Meadows, a much photographed scene in Utah! My K exclaimed that he felt like he was in Heaven.

This was our place at Sulpher Campground along the Mirror Lake Highway. We camped at 9,100 feet and the temperature this morning was forty-three degrees. It rained a lot, off and on, but God smiled on us and only let it rain after we finished our hikes and after we finished cooking and eating. It did rain for about three hours straight last night. I felt like we were tomato plants and someone had a giant watering can held over us the entire time.

These are some views of a stunning place called Ruth Lake. I don't know who Ruth was, but she must have been some lady to get a place like this named after her. This is at 10,000-something feet elevation.

This is the Provo River at an overlook. Gorgeous gorge!