Thursday, August 6, 2015

We Tried To Get Lost But Friends Tracked Us Down!

True friends will hunt you down and guarantee a visit no matter how far away from civilization you put yourself.

Lynn and Bob visited us in WYOMING!!!  (... and we did not take one photo of the four of us)

Boy were we ever so excited to see these two wonderful people.  (... so excited that we didn’t take any photos of the four of us)

They booked a week at the Wood’s Landing Resort and made the 12 mile slog up and down the 7% grade pass to visit with us again and again and again and again and... (we didn’t take any photos of the four of us)

Those that know us know that we aren’t really prone to ‘doing things’.  It’s not really our thing to do things.  But when Lynn and Bob visited we ‘did things’.  They’re fun to ‘do things’ with and so we ‘did them’.

One of the things that we did was to take the ever so long road down to the Pike Pole / Pickeroon area.  Lynn and Bob like to drive as slow as we do - or so they told us so and they did it and we liked them for that. 

Originally, we were due to visit this river front location every few weeks to check on things but another volunteer said he liked going down there so we let him have it.  Our supervisor told us there were Bighorn Sheep down that way along the river and when we mentioned this to Lynn and Bob they were up for the adventure.

   The road goes down, down, down to the river with steady views of the Rockies all the way.

     On the way to the river we spent some time watching a Red Fox hunt.

          We pulled over to admire the Penstemon

                                       and the Scarlet Gilia.

      Then we pulled over again to smell the wild roses.

                          The Silverleaf Phacelia was new to us.

                                       What a unique and pretty plant.

  Of course, Nicole could not resist taking a shot of these tiniest of flowers.
                         Fingers left in this shot for perspective.

                                       They were so delicate.

                             Red Clover is one of the taller varieties of its kind.

We haven’t identified these flowers yet but we were really more focused on the butterfly.

Despite all of our stops along the way, we eventually  made it to the river and started sheep spotting.

      They were still shedding their winter coats.  Funny, we had just put ours away, as well.

                                            Down by the river...

Darlene and Lynn discuss life and the importance of a good lunch spot.

              The Dwarf Hollyhock created a show.

                                      Don’t Tinker With Bob ... The Thinker

                               The Old Man’s Whiskers were in need of a shave.

We discovered the largest gathering of Eastern-tailed Blues that we’ve ever seen.

We formulated the greatest plan ever for a ‘group take off’ photo.  Darlene gathered tiny pebbles while the rest of us got poised with our cameras ready for the explosion of color.  We counted down and she threw and scattered the pebbles just at the edge of their group.

See the above photo?   That’s what it looked like after she threw the pebbles.  They were undeterred!

Darlene then opted to wave her hands lightly through them for a more direct approach.

                             This was the result of that attempt.

At that point, we decided that lunch at the waters edge with good conversation and Eastern-tailed Blues was a better use of our time.

                                                          End of Part 1

Monday, August 3, 2015

More Photos Of Our Time Volunteering In Wyoming

Seems we gave an abrupt stop to the last post.  So, we’ll pick up where we left off and throw another flower your way.  We’ll add in a bird or two or three, an “office” view and maybe a few bugs or critters, too.

Man, this one sure did test our patience.  We waited a good month
to see what would come of it.  Prior to that we had the notion that
it may be in the onion or garlic family and sure enough the leaves
when broken had a garlic smell.

IMG_6314a (1)
We’re pretty sure it is the Shortstyle Onion Plant which is sort of funny because it is the ‘taller’ of the onions we have seen.

This is the Geyer’s Onion.  These pinks really lit up the field with their color.

Early on, when we were still learning the locations of our stops, we drove past one by mistake. 

It was the kind of mistake that you think isn’t quite a mistake when just afterward a field full of Elk appears at the base of the mountains.

The were aware of our bright green truck but didn’t seem too worried and kept on eating.

                           This is what most of our drives look like.

The beautiful wide open and rolling “hills” of Wyoming.  Haha, these “hills” are 9000 feet tall it’s just that we are at 8000 feet when we pass them!

They found someone to cover the Snowy Range until mid August, so we have one less day of work.  That doesn’t mean though that we have forfeited our views of the Snowies or the Rockies for that matter.  They are constantly appearing around the corner, across the lake or over the hill.

Speaking of the Snowy Range, before additional coverage was found, we headed over there one day a week.  One afternoon, we are driving through the forest when a bright silver obelisk appears.  Um... reverse the truck there is something shining in the woods.  We got out to investigate.

Did you know that the original border of Mexico was all the way up into Wyoming?!
These obelisks are a sort of ‘art project’ and there are 42 (don’t quote us on that) of them posted all along the U.S. on what was the boundary of Mexico in 1821.  Pretty cool.

We never did ask why our area is called Foxpark but we can tell you that it most definitely has its share of mascots.

This one has a routine path that goes right next to the van.  Note our electrical box in the lower left corner.

                 This one likes the main road and the rail trail.  Check out that tail!

And this one.... well, this one gave Nicole quite a treat one night.  She had gone up to the front section of the property to watch the swallows, hummingbirds and resident prairie dog (which is now four resident prairie dogs, yea babies!).  Sitting there in her quiet and stealthy manner she sees something large and fluffy approaching out of the corner of her eye.

By the time she realized it was a fox, the creature had positioned itself only fifteen feet from her.  As she held her breath it leapt (toward her) in an attempt to catch a snack.  How very exciting and what a privilege it was to be in such close proximity to a wild animal engaging in its normal behavior.

It stuck around for about five minutes milling through the grass and scavenging.

                Eventually, it moved away, made one last glance back

                                         and then trotted off.

One day a week we return to Pole Mountain (the location of our first volunteer experience).  We get to appreciate Vedauwoo from a whole different perspective and we also get to see other parts of the area as we drive the back roads to the other Trailheads and Campgrounds we have not visited before.

On one particular day it seemed that all of the flowers had popped out overnight.

                    Some of the new-to-us ones were these Lilies.

                         Pretty sure they are Star or Sand Lilies.

With over 50 different birds sighted and more than 50 different flowers and grasses there is no way that we can share them all with you in the time that we have.  So, our goal is to pick birds and flowers and such that we haven’t shown you before.

The Wilson’s Warbler is a cute little booger that loves to play hide-n-seek in the willows.

One evening Nicole was out watching these Warblers when a rather ‘regular’ (for us) bird decided that it deserved just as much attention.  Only six feet from her a White-Crowned Sparrow landed in the willow and began serenading her.  Until this time, the record button on her new camera had remained more of an accidental pain of placement than anything else.  Without thinking on this night however she pushed it and this is what she got...

(NOTE: In case you’re not familiar... click the play button in the center. Oh, and be sure that your volume is turned on and up.)

Since then she has obtained videos of several other serenades.  If this (our first video experiment works) we will share more in the future.  So, let us know if it worked for you!

We’ve seen three, maybe four different swallows since we’ve been here.  The Tree and the Barn Swallow we have seen before but the Violet-Green Swallow was a new one.

Not sure any of our photos really showed the true iridescence of their violet and green
colors but they were quite pretty.

We may have fallen in love a little bit with the Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel.

              “Surely you can’t see me over here looking like a stump.”

             “Oh, dang! I’ve been spotted.  Time to drop and cover.”

                            “Last one in the creek is a chipmunk!”

                                     And then there was this....

                     Does this really need a caption?  How about... more of a question.
    What do you do when you can’t keep your Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel off the sauce?!

With that.... we will close off this one.  As I turned out, we have left WY a month and a half earlier than planned.  So, we’ll get to the rest of the photos... when we get to the rest of the photos!