Sunday, August 16, 2015

San Lorenzo Canyon


Part of our orientation was a trip to this beautiful area on the refuge.

The header picture was taken here in this canyon.

Would you ever expect to see anything like this here in this dry, arid desert? We didn't. Never heard about it either. 

A little gem of a place.

Various layers of the sediment built up and tilted to form what is called "the bread loaf."

Okay, interesting...what is next?

Oh, big horn sheep. Will we see those?

Oh my, what is this, a canyon and we are on the floor of it.

We start seeing caves.

The beautiful red color is from iron oxidation.

It gets better!!!

Jeannine yells out, "there's one up there."

Our first look at a desert big horn sheep...a ram!

She says, "okay, where are the rest of you guys, I know you are up there somewhere."

We are glassing the place. I yell out, "there are two more down below him." It turned out to be a lamb with a ewe.

As we turn around to drive to the next place, I spot these two high upon a ridge.

This was pretty exciting.

I could have stayed right there, looking for more.

I wanted to climb up into this slot canyon to explore, but not enough time today. 

There was a little trickle of water coming from somewhere in there.

I thought of Zion and the slot canyon there.

This is our header photo you see on our blog.

You just can't imagine how beautiful this place is without experiencing it, but maybe we have given you a taste.

This canyon is a place of chimneys, caves, towers, arches and hoodoos.

Wind and water have sculpted sandstone, mud and volcanic ash to form this wonderful place.

This will not be our only visit!!!

Until next time...

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Exploring Our New Digs

First thing Saturday morning, we wanted to explore. There are 3 trails from the visitor center and we wanted to do all of them...this helps with visitation.

This one is only a little over one mile with signs naming the plants.

There are nice benches for those who need a break. The tree is a one seed juniper.

We saw a few lizards and snakes!!!

This is the Nature Loop.

The visitor center and maintenance building in the background from the trail.

Sunday morning we start out early to do the Mesa Trail, we are headed to the little hills in the background. The Mesa Trail is 3.8 miles in length. The weather is nice, we think we can make it before it heats up.

Can you find the cottontail?

The first wildlife we see as it scampered across our trail.

We are on top of the mesa looking down on the facilities.

There are buildings for the UNM (University of New Mexico) where there is research going on, our visitor center, maintenance shop and where we live.

I just had to take my diamond willow walking stick with me!!! 

Wallace just knows there is a bench up here somewhere. We found it eventually and sat for a spell...took in the surroundings.

The Rio Grande River flows through the refuge, the lush green in the background running North to South making its way to the Gulf of Mexico.

You can get a glimpse of where we are parked to the right of the photo.

We are making our way down on this nice trail.

You can't get lost as there are no trees to speak of, and you can see forever!!!

Off in the distance we see these big enclosures and several people milling around.

We found out later it is research about lizards conducted by the UNM.

I am delighted to see this collared lizard waiting for us near the end of the hike.

"Here's looking at you kid."

What a wonderful hike with some beautiful scenery with an ice cold watermelon waiting for us when we got back to our abode.

Until next time...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Traveling South

We left Valentine, Nebraska at 10:00am. We spent the night at the Wal-mart in Fort Morgan, Colorado. We left that next morning.

Our first view of the Colorado Rockies through the haze.

We came in on interstate 76 toward Denver.

Things were going well until we got to Las Vegas, New Mexico at 1:15pm.

We got a warning light on our NEW Ford 350!!! We pulled over in the town hoping to find a Ford dealership...not one there...not until Albuquerque, 70 ish miles further. Wallace phoned our mechanic in McAllen, Texas. He told us it needed a burn out. Oh, I did not mention it is over 100 degrees outside!!! We start out toward A town, the light is still on, I'm in a panic, we are needing fuel, took an exit that said there was gas. After about 20 miles on a narrow road, we find a diesel station that we had to back out of, finally got back on the make a long story shorter, we get to

this nice park off interstate 40 West of Albuquerque. We were able to get a space, not knowing if it would be available while we have our truck tended to because they were closed by the time we arrived. We took the truck into the Ford dealership early the next morning, the first ones there. They shuttled us back to the park...we talked to the lady about our dilemma. She was very nice. We paid for another day not knowing how long repairs would take. At noon, Ford called saying it was ready, we were elated. We pick it up, get down the road about 10 miles and the light came back on!!! Finally, they did a burn is now ready at 4:30. It worked!!! We stayed that extra day and chilled out.

We got to Sevilleta at 10:00am without any more problems.

Jeanine met us at the door and said, "Welcome home." Man it was good to get there.

We got all set up in this site, then went back to the visitor center to visit with Jeanine.

We are happy about our site and all feels well.

We had a couple of tiger salamanders in the water receptacle.

One of them looks like she may be going to have babies...I will keep my eye on them.

Anyway, we are here and set up in our site, at "home" for three months.

Until next time...

Sunday, August 9, 2015

From Coteaus to Sandhills

We left Sullys Hill at 8:15, August 2. As we got on the interstate 94, we started seeing motorcycles...headed for Sturgis S.D. Turns out, it is the 75th anniversary of the big gathering.

We found out they pay $100.00 for a tent space and beer is $15.00 a bottle!!! How wild is that? Motorcycles were everywhere...all the way to Valentine, Nebraska.

We drove through Pierre, S.D. and just happened to get a shot of the Capitol Building. No visit this time though.

We made it to Valentine, Nebraska where we stayed at the Wacky West RV Park. It is a Passport America park. It was an easy find...not much to look at but okay.

I really like this little town. It just had a good feel about it. It's the heart city!!!

We spent some time visiting Niobrara NWR. We drove part of the auto tour, but did not see much. The prairie dog town was pretty active.

We took the stairs down to get this picture of Fort Falls where we had to wait on a lady photographer forever to get out of the water for our picture. She climbed over the barricade...why do you think the barricade is there? Some people...she took her time and could care less about us waiting!!!

On the Fort Falls trail, we came upon the Niobrara River where we watched the people in can barely see them. There was a larger group of them just coming around the bend.

We left Valentine, another small town in America. Passed up Valentine NWR, but got this shot.

Now, back to my title.

From coteaus to sandhills. These rolling hills are created by blowing sand, and some of them were quite high.

They are the largest mass of grass-stabilized sand dunes in the Western Hemisphere. The grass is fed by the Ogallala Aquifer, which is the one of the largest groundwater sources in the world. It is a pretty amazing place.

Rolling on down the road as we head South to New Mexico.

We enjoyed our two day stay in Valentine.

Next time, we will stay here a little longer. 

The second part of our journey is coming up next.

Until next time...