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Monthly Archives: May 2017

There is a small pond along the road on the adjoining farm. As we drove past it we noticed a Bald Eagle circling so we decided to stop for a photo. Unfortunately it went behind the hill so I started photographing a pair of Wood Ducks in the pond. I noticed my wife waving at me and pointing. Turned out the Eagle had returned.

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After our hike to Hickman Bridge we stopped at the Visitors Center. The place was packed and it turned out that many of the schools were on spring break. That’s why there have been so many people visiting the parks. We took the Scenic Road and then followed Capital Gorge Road to the end where we planned on taking a hike. Capital Gorge Road is dirt and not all that wide in some places. A sign at the start of the road indicated that campers over 17 feet should not enter this road. When we reached the end of the road the parking lot was packed and a large camper was stuck across the road. No one could get in or out. A bunch of people were working to get the camper free but it was slow going. Apparently the driver had attempted to turn around and dropped the front tires over a sharp drop off. We decided to forget the hike and managed to turn around. In spite of the issues it was a very nice drive through the canyons.

 

 

After leaving the Visitors Center we took the Scenic Drive through the Park. It was a beautiful day. As we drove through Fruita the fruit trees were in bloom.

Early the next morning we headed back to Capital Reef. Our goal was to hike the Hickman Bridge Trail. Even though it was early the parking lot was filling up. On of the things we learned on this trip is that if you want a place to park get their early. The trail was well marked and there were a fair number of people on it. Fortunately when we reached Hickman Bridge we had the place to ourselves for a while. However it wasn’t long before the selfie group turned up.

More photos from capital Reef can be found on my website.

As we drove past one of the orchards on the way to the trailhead we encountered a bunch of Wild Turkeys. We, along with a number of others, stopped to get some photos. It was mating season and the males were putting on quite a display. We also stopped for a few photos of the petroglyphs.

After Leaving Goblin Valley we headed toward Torrey, Utah where we would spend the night. It was late in the day when we reached Capital Reef and the light on the rocks was spectacular. We stopped many times for pictures. For some reason my wife and I had negative views of Capital Reef from an earlier trip but as it turned out we didn’t allow nearly enough time to enjoy the park.

When driving from Arches National Park to Capital Reef National Park Goblin Valley State Park offers a break in the trip and a chance to walk through some very strange rock formations. The day we were there the place was packed and we managed to get one of the last parking spots. The first photo provides an overview of the area. If you look closely you can find over 40 people in the photo. One of the games you can play with kids is to try and identify what the rock formations look like.

More photos from Goblin Valley can be found on my website.

I took my macro lens out for a walk around the farm this week. These are a few of the things I found to Photograph.

Common Blue Violet

Maple Leaves

Large-flowered Trillium

Spotted Ladybird Beetle

Grass

Pussytoes

Large-flowered Bellwort

This spring two birds have turned up at my feeders that I have never seen on the farm before. The firs photo is of an Eastern Toehee. When it first turned up I thought the Baltimore Orioles had returned but I was wrong. A pair of Toehees spend their time feeding on the ground and running from under the feeder to a bush that provides shelter. The second bird is the Yellow-rumped Warbler which also turned up a few weeks ago. There are a number of them and they seem to like to feed on the suet.

A bird that I have not seen for several years also turned up at the feeder last week. The Red-breasted Nuthatch used to frequent my feeders and finally returned after an absence.

I still have lots of White-throated Sparrows around. Fortunately they are ground feeders and seem to do a good job cleaning up under the feeders.

Last week the male Rose-breasted GrosbeaksĀ  returned. I have not yet seen the females. The only spring birds that have not returned are the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and the Baltimore Orioles.

Rose-breasted Grosebeak

Island in the Sky is an island in Canyonlands National Park. It is a mesa that sits over a 1,000 feet above the surrounding land. It has nice paved roads to the major overlook points. In the old days ranchers ran cattle on the land. It was easy because access to the Island is via a small neck of land only 20 feet wide. Put the cattle on the island and fence off the neck and they were in business. The views from Island in the Sky are spectacular.

More photos from Island in the Sky can be found on my website.

After our short hike to the top of Whale Rock we continued down the road to the Upheaval Dome trailhead. We managed to grab the last parking spot in the picnic area. This turned out to be a little more strenuous as hikes go but it had some great views and some challenges. At one point I got lost and headed out on what appeared to be the trail but as usual my wife was right I was going the wrong way. We seemed to be leapfrogging a tour group. They were on Whale Rock and they followed us up to Upheaval Dome.

We had planned more hiking in Island in the Sky but parking was an issue. When we left Upheaval Dome the picnic area was full as was the overflow parking lot and people were still pulling in. We found that all of the parking spots were taken at the trailheads. We drove around a bit but nothing freed up so we headed out to our next destination.

More photos from Island in the Sky can be found on my website.