Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Grand Visit

It's been a long while since I've visited the Big Ditch in northern Arizona - I'd nearly forgotten how glorious it can be...of course, I personally think it is more glorious when visited in the shoulder season...and when hiking outside of the main corridor...however, the corridor trails do have their uses...mainly, when record setting heat is forecast, there is much to be said for having easy water access at each 1.5 mile point on the way out ;)

Plenty of wee rodents and brave birds to observe - the rock squirrels are a boisterous bunch - brave, and highly accustomed to seeing people, visitors are reminded to not feed or otherwise coax or entice the wildlife. In addition to plenty of rock squirrels and birds (they were not cooperating with my photography, I'm afraid - but in addition to the wrens and ravens, I also saw a few hummingbirds and a condor!), we also saw some mule deer, a few bighorn sheep, several spiny lizards, some whiptails and an elk with an impressive rack. The rodents and birds can be especially brave in established areas, so much so that while our back was turned preparing dinner, I heard a small thunk in the darkness - it turned out a rather portly mouse managed to vault into our open ammo box (provided for storing food and other smellables) - luckily, as soon as we shone our lights upon him, he lept back out!

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