Sunday, May 09, 2010

Monday 26 April 2010

The moon is nearly full so I can’t see many stars. I did see the winter circle Saturday evening and this morning about 0300 I saw Arcturus and the summer triangle as well as the big dipper and Polaris. Bob set up his stove and a pot of water within reach of his sleeping bag before going to sleep last night. I lit the stove and put the water on to boil. Bob made coffee with Starbucks instant. We drank our coffee and made oatmeal. After finishing my oatmeal I hiked back up the creek to look for my camera. I found it on the left side of the creek where we crossed it just above two waterfalls. It was hanging in a shrub about a foot off the ground. Apparently the woven fabric wrist strap was hanging out of the camera case on my backpack hip strap and snagged on the shrub pulling the camera out of the case.

When I returned to camp, Bob was packed and writing notes. I packed and we began hiking down the creek about 0900. We explored a very large ruin not far below our first camp. We were about ready to leave when Jeff and Holly walked up. They had yodeled at us from the right rim last night, but we had no idea it was them until we met them in the canyon. They are day hiking. We hiked another hour downstream and had chunk light tuna wrap in the shade of a cottonwood tree on a stream terrace probably farmed by the Anasazi. They grew corn, beans, squash, and cotton. We have been seeing a small deciduous oak the past hour. It is usually no taller than 2 m (6 or 8 feet). The buds have broken in the past couple of weeks and there are several leaves and catkins on at the end of almost every twig.

We made camp under a cottonwood tree where dead cottonwood logs surround several flat stones. Bob set up the stove on the flat stones before going for a hike to a nearby spring where water drips from a layer of rock 15 to 20 m (50 feet) above a deep pool of water. This dripping water creates a habitat different than any we have seen this trip. It is early spring here, and the plants are just beginning to grow, but I can see that the walls are nearly covered with vegetation later in the year. Bob says he has seen columbines here. The pool is surrounded by a dense copse of willows.

We returned to camp, made supper and finished off Bob’s vodka. Bob mixed it with flavored EmergenC powder and water, and it makes quite a nice cocktail. I hiked up the left slope and sat on top of a large boulder. While there I saw a mammal running towards me along a ledge about 200 m away. He continued towards me until about 30 m away where he or she disappeared into a crack in the rock. The mammal had a bushy tail nearly as long as its body and half the diameter of its body. Its legs were short, and its nose pointed. It looked somewhat like a weasel, but much larger, about 60 cm long. Bob suggested it might have been a fox. That seems like a possibility.

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