Flora and fauna we did and didn’t see

First, happily what we did not see: scorpions or Grand Canyon rattlesnakes. These sort of creatures are one of the reasons I can’t sleep “hard”, under the stars in only my sleeping bag.  I need the false security of my flimsy nylon tent zipped up around me. We also missed a 12 point mule deer buck, which apparently wandered through our campsite one night while we were still awake. Ah well.

We did see one when we hiked out.

Mule deer, Hermit Trail

This mule deer wasn’t so lucky but check out the beautiful sutures in its skull.

On our way down the South Kaibab trail, Tim spotted this tarantula; harmless but not so cute.

Tarantula South Kaibab

One day as I was seeing double, this rock looked like a stern man to me. Stern as in not happy, not a lobsterman’s crew.

We saw interesting lichen on our hike out. Anything to pause and take a photo.

We picked up a few cactus spines along the way and were thankful for our long pants. A few were in bloom and sometimes along the trail we would see the most delicate and colorful flowers.

I realize now, we saw yucca plants in many forms. Their roots are cassava and have lots of carbs and anti-inflammatory properties. That would have been good to know.

We saw these tadpoles in our drinking water. What were they doing there? The backstroke!  Hehe. Never fear, our industrial strength water filter got rid of whatever they may have deposited and the water tasted much better than the Phoenix city water.

Cottonwoods at the Indian Garden oasis

And this is what we saw when we returned home. Our Christmas Cactus in full bloom and our adorable feline, Elli… and ten inches of snow on the ground. But that’s another story.

Smoke on the water

Fire in the sky. Lingering smoke from the British Columbia wildfires persists. It makes for eerie sunrises and sunsets. When mixed with morning fog, it’s hard to tell what’s what.

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A sleepless night let me catch yesterday’s sunrise.

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This boat ghosted across the harbor the other morning.

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I met a German woman who is an extraordinary athlete. She has sea kayaked alone around Australia, South America and is now working her way around North America. Earlier this season, she paddled from Seattle to Kodiak, Alaska! Now she is working her way south. She seemed a little taken back by the combination of fog or wind, which prevails in August in the Pacific Northwest.  She plans to kayak the east coast of North America in the future, maybe our paths will cross again.

Only a handful of seagull chicks have survived around the cabin. It’s unclear what kills them because they appear undamaged. The ones that survive and are beginning to stretch their wings, keep me entertained.

The eagles seem to be doing just fine.

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As are Larry and Larry. A former caretaker named all the deer Larry and their name stuck.IMG_3246

Seals have hauled up on the beaches to nurse the pups and can be heard mewing and barking while we walk the roads.

All’s well in our part of the world.

 

 

 

 

 

There’s an intruder on this island

It’s me.

All the residents are talking about it. Whenever I leave the cabin, the news goes out to the seagull colony around the house. Guards sound the alarm. Seagulls hop off their nests to come out and squawk at me.

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There are eagle sentries all over the island. When I walk, word goes out with their screech. They perch along the bluffs, usually at least 4 near the marina, on the water tower, some fly off to tell the others.

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The deer are quiet about it but they know.

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The barn swallows announce every time I open the front door. Their nest is packed to the rafters, literally. Time may be near for the little ones to leave.

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Actually, this is just like when I lived in downtown Brooklyn in the 1980’s. It was a very safe neighborhood, because it was controlled by the mafia. Safe if you weren’t part of the mafia because, of course, there was the occasional shooting in the local coffee shop. But it was never random. There were sentries posted on every corner, watching out, all day, all night. And this was before everyone had mobile phones. Word got out.

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  • “We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.” – Australian Aboriginal saying

 

Home on the range

IMG_1621where about 80 mule deer, or black tail deer, are reported to roam. We’ve seen 2 fawns and the males are sprouting fuzzy antlers. Happily there are NO deer ticks on the island. I’m so used to avoiding tall grass at home where Lyme disease runs rampant. Yesterday I combed through chest high grass for a few hours to highlight a path for a tractor that will thrash it down, without a care in the world.

The fog rolled in and we are on our own.

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In contrast to Saturday.

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Seagull shenanigans have slowed down a bit but they remain ever present.

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IMG_1608And the eagles keep a sharp lookout.

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All’s well on our home front.