Gila Storms Continue to Rumble

It is now August 7 and the monsoons continue to rumble through. Life is bucolic. Sometimes for fun I order my favorite videos off Amazon. I got a surprise when I ordered the movie “Departures” and it showed up from Thailand! Another surprise when I had to go into the preferences and change the primary language to Japanese from Thai and the subtitles to English! Funny!

s-Departures from Thailand s-Thai Stamp

On July 31 Chris, her dog (Zuni’s friend) Spike and I took a hike up to White Rocks. I had been there before but it is a good workout. This time I wanted to take pictures, but a midday storm once again rolled in! Not safe to be up there when the lightning is putting on a display! Here are some photos of Spike on the trail, flowers, and searching for dwellings along the cliffs.

s-1a-Spike on the trail s-1b-Flower s-1c-Looking for Cliff Dwellings s-1d-More Flowers s-1e s-1f s-1g s-1h-Remnants of dwellings

s-1i-Chris and Spike s-1j-Photographing penstamen s-2a-Beer Keg-Spike-Chris s-2b-Its a Dogs Life s-2c-Watching approaching storm s-2c-White Rocks s-2d-Exploring White Rock Tanks s-2e-Moth Joining us for lunch s-3a-Sphinx Moth 1 s-3b

The caterpillars just above are reportedly going to be sphinx moths after they grow up. Miles of the trail were crawling with them all headed in one direction! It was an amazing nature site to see! They were as big as my fingers and crawled real fast, occasionally losing their balance and rolling over for a moment before righting themselves and forging ahead. Mesmerizing and kind of yukky, too!

At the end of our hike, Chris and I came back through the corrals and pastures of the National Forrest Service pack animals. It was the late afternoon and I am sure the mules were looking forward to dinner. They were also extremely curious about Spike! Chris was very scared of the mules and I kept shooing them away, but curiosity always got the best of them! The mules are very used to having dogs with them on their treks into the wilderness. I am sure they just wanted to be buddies! Chris is 51 and has never had children, and Spike is her first pet. She says that one of her mother’s favorite lines about her is “Ah, spoken like a woman who has never had kids!”.  She is as protective of Spike as I am of Zuni.

s-Spike 1 s-Spike 2

From the cliff dwellings on one of my work days: Here are some pictures of coworkers Jeff (L) and Greg (R), flowers and watching for the approaching storms in anticipation of closing down for safety reasons.

s-1a-Jeff-Gregg s-1b-Cave 7 s-1c s-1d s-1e s-1g-Storm over mesa

Meanwhile back at the contact station I posed Rita the Raven, Petey the Packrat and Jack the Jackrabbit. They help us do tours some days and help keeps kids attention when we are giving them safety orientation before the kids head up to the dwellings. Even adults love them!

s-1f-Rita-Petey-Jack

Two days ago I was going to walk up to the Lightfeather hot springs, but decided I did not want to get my feet wet. Here are some photos of the overgrown trail and the flowers which perfume the trail.

s-Middlefork 8-5-13 s-Middlefork Perfume s-Middlefork Trail Overgrown

Over the weekend we had our first Search and Rescue (SAR) of this season. Three 20-year-olds went by canoe on the Gila river for a 1/4 mile trip. They failed to show up at their pick-up point and their parents reported them missing at our Visitor Center. In the evening our park superintendent, Jeremy, and Chris, who is a trained SAR person in New Mexico hiked all night and failed to find them. As soon as a helicopter could get into the air Sunday morning they immediately found them 9 miles downstream. They were all okay, despite the young woman being a diabetic. Like so many people, it was rumored that there was alcohol inbibed pre-trip and they truly underestimated the wilderness.

Yesterday, I wanted to take an hour or two hike up around the corral behind where we live. It is where Chris and I saw the mules the other day. My little hike turned out like Gilligan’s “three-hour tour”! I got turned around – obviously my internal compass is deficient – and I spent 5 hours hiking. My first thought was “Oh, no! Don’t let me be the second SAR of the season!” Fortunately I was able to figure ou my path and get back okay. Good for my physical fitness level, though!

s-1a-Fenceline s-1b-Flower 1 s-1c-Flower 2 s-Lightfeather 2 s-Lightfeather 3 s-Lightfeather 4 s-Lightfeather Hot Springs 8-6-13

That’s all for today, folks! Back to reading and other stuff around the house, then 4 more workdays!

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