Friday, April 8, 2011

Beautiful Day in Red Rock

As some of you have noticed, I tried to post something last week that did not come through. The problem being that I actually posted it on my blog, We Write for Ten, a project no longer in existence, and then tried to transfer it to this blogging page. It didn't work. So, today, I am going to try to duplicate that post.

Jim and I had decided we wanted to go out to Red Rock National Conservation area for one more day of hiking before our sojourn here in the desert comes to an end. We packed some water and a picnic lunch and took off for the canyon.

We chose wisely, for when we arrived at Red Rock we discovered, to our delight, that Mojave Max, the resident desert tortoise had just emerged from his winter home. We had never seen Max on previous trips to hike at Red Rock so we were, to say the least, delighted. We arrived in time to hear part of the talk of the turtle expert and discover that the desert tortoise is endangered. It seems that sometime in the 1980's, an ailing pet tortoise was released into the wild to die. Before it succumbed to its illness, 80 per cent of the desert tortoises contracted the germ and died also.

Max, therefore, is carefully watched over and kept safe from all possible harm.

After spending some time with Max, we headed out to the area of the park in which we had chosen to hike. We had heard that this part of the canyon was home to some long horned sheep, but had never had the good fortune to spot any. Well, this was really our lucky day because as we were parking the car, people told us that the sheep were out a little way up the trail. We hurriedly grabbed our water and hiking sticks and made off up the trail. Not only were the sheep out, they were as close to the trail as fifty feet away. I was so overwhelmed with seeing these magnificent creatures that I didn't count them. We were told later that there were fourteen in all in this group.

I think this one was posing just waiting for someone to take his picture.

We spent a lot of time watching them. Their surefootedness is amazing. They are elegant and dignified creatures. They didn't seem to notice us at all as they grazed and walked around on the rocks.

Here is just one of the gorgeous views from farther up the trail. This hike was a three mile loop. the gradual uphill climb wasn't obviously apparent to us as we hiked. The nice surprise was the easy downhill trek back to our car.

After a lovely picnic lunch, it was home to nap in the afternoon.

It's hikes and sights like this that will make it hard to start home in a little over a week.

~Hippo Hugs~


Faye said...

Sounds like such a lovely outing :)

Lynilu said...

I love the pictures of the sheep. Sheep and goats in the wild are so amazingly surefooted! Wish I'd been along on that hike!

Renie Burghardt said...

Love the turtle and the sheep! And the views. And it's almost time to head home? Well, at least you're heading home to some beautiful, spring weather and blooms and greenery. We have mid-80s this weekend. Love it after our extreme cold winter.

Enjoy the days you still have there.