Fairly early this morning, six of us decided to take the 1.3 mile hike on the Painted Desert Trail on the refuge. It’s really part of the orientation for us newbies to this refuge, but it’s also the trail all the school groups will be taken on when they come to visit.
Fellow volunteer and friend Linda, brown shirt Lupe, intern Lydia, and myself.
Lydia will be leading the school kids, and a volunteer is needed to bring up the rear. This was kind of a practice run. New volunteer Norm took the picture, and Linda’s husband Jay had gone back to the truck to find some missing notes.
Jay caught up to us, and we were off. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do what with my back problems. Luckily there were six stops along the way where Lydia practiced what she was going to say to the kids.
It’s an interesting hike through the desert. Lots of ups and downs. I did fairly well until we came to a flight of rustic ‘stairs’ leading up. One step was so high I wasn’t sure I could do it. I’m so happy Jay was behind me, and gave me a boost up.
Stopping places along the way included this hoodoo. Not as dramatic as Bryce Canyon, but interesting none the less.
There’s lots of evidence of feral burros along the way left over from times past. They’re not native species, but are tolerated even though they compete for sparse resources that are needed by native bighorn sheep. We didn’t see either species along the way.
It seems there are lots of burro trails going off of the main trail making it a little difficult at times to know the true trail. Apparently last year, due to poor signage, a woman got lost in the desert on this trail and had to be rescued. A few more outlining rocks and arrows have been placed along the trail so that doesn’t happen again. I can just imagine how that woman must have felt lost and wandering around in this rather desolate terrain.
It took us an hour and a half to do the 1.3 miles, and I’m sure some of that time was due to my slow progress. I did make it the whole way though, and I felt good about that. It’s a far cry from what I used to be able to do, but it’s progress. I don’t think I’ll be doing this trail with a bunch of exuberant fifth graders, but I’ll man an overlook station with a scope and binoculars to interpret the Colorado River Basin instead.
On the home front, I checked with the refuge manager, and no seed type bird feeders are allowed. Hummingbirds feeders are allowed though, so the Hard Rock Bird Café will only be for those darting little darlings. Putting up poles to hold the feeders has been a challenge, however. The ground is like cement. I zip tied one pole to the electrical post, and surrounded the other pole with cement blocks to hold it in place. Now I have a feeder on each side of the rig. When I sit at my table in the rig, I can watch the red feeder out the window. When I sit outside with Emma, I watch the orange feeder. There’s plenty of action on both sides, so I don’t lack for entertainment.
Those mountains in the distance are the Chocolate Mountains in California. Chocolate? How tasty!
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy