Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Trough Springs

The map says there is a trail from Kane Creek Canyon to the top of the Anti-Cline overlook at Hatch Point. Today, after a little bit of drama in the morning with the Sharp-shinned hawk Irene, Andy, and Tom set off for Trough Springs Trail. Three and a half hours into the hike on a trail that was frequently difficult to read and follow, it was clear they weren't going to make it to the top and back before dark or inclement weather and they returned to Base Camp. For Tom, another itch to scratch, another day.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Comings and Goings

As Erich packs up for San Diego after a week of exploration, Andy and Irene head off for a day on the trail.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dripping Springs

Erich and Tom journey to Dripping Springs and beyond.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Eventually, Cliff Hanger

Erich and Tom find Cliff Hanger and make it down to the Tombstones, looking back one time to see from where they have come.

The Valley

Passing through the valley Erich and Tom search for the way down to the Cliff Hanger trail.

Next on the List

Tom has been told that at the top of the Scorched Earth Wall trail if you drop into the valley it will eventually merge with Cliff Hanger. Today Erich and Tom will try and locate eventually.


Thursday evening Tom steps outside to see what sort of sunset Mother Nature has left for Erich and him and gets a little reminder that just because the sun goes down, doesn't mean she's done showing off. The moon peeks out above the sunset and Venus right after that and then Jupiter. Mars and Saturn later that night. Time to get the telescope out.

With A Little Help From His Friends

A few of the male Juncos have begun scratching for seed after watching the three White Crowned sparrows do it all the time. The White Crowned jump with both feet at the same time, the Juncos one foot at a time. Today though, through the binoculars, a male Junco has it figured out and is scratching with both feet at the same time.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Something Special for Erich

Erich arrived on Tuesday and as he got out of his vehicle the Sharp-shinned hawk landed in the yard. The Sharp-shinned watched the activities of the Base Camp critters while one Antelope squirrel watched the hawk from behind, another from in front, each ready to sound the alarm if the Sharp-shinned made a threatening gesture to any of the Antelope squirrels feeding in the yard. Erich with binoculars watched from the porch, and for five hours, all were in the game of anticipation where death is sometimes the ending until the Sharp-shinned's departure. To reward Erich for his patience on Tuesday, Mother Nature put on a show for Erich on Wednesday. With morning the Ringtail came up on the porch and entertained him and for three hours Jackson Butte showed Erich it's amazing interior. As evening came the Anti-Cline lit up, the 6pm Gray fox came by to say hi, and when the sun set Mother Nature closed out the show and she closed it out right.

Jackson Butte

Inside Jackson Butte Erich and Tom find a two tiered waterfall.

Inside Jackson Butte

On Wednesday Erich and Tom hike up and then inside Jackson Butte.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Three PM Fox and Six PM Fox

Sunday Evening

Little Early

For the last week the day temps have crept into the 50's. A few butterflies have emerged, a patch of flowers is blooming, buds have shown up on the Cottonwood tree, an occasional fence lizard here and there, and for Tom exploring has gone from two sweater layers to one thinking perhaps it's an early Spring. Not quite yet.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

He's Good and Getting Better

Tom leaves the office and returning sees all the critters have gone. The Cooper's is out there but a search by Tom finds nothing. It's an hour and a half with no movement. Tom again ventures outside and searching every place he thinks the Cooper's might be is unable to locate him. Back in the office Tom looks out the window and sees the Cooper's rise from just behind Kobae's house and depart for the river. Five minutes later all the critters have returned.

Return of the Cheater

Saturday, February 18, 2012

It's Saturday Night

It's Saturday night and the Juncos won't come out of the Desert Willow. What could it mean?

The Sign Says

Guests almost always find the right hand turn with the huge Base Camp sign but occasionally miss the left hand driveway into the lodge. This, should fix, that.

Bewick's Wren

When the food ran out, this guy came to the office window to let Tom know. He stood at the window and chirped for two minutes. When Tom kept working and didn't take more bread outside, he/she hopped over and crapped on the water cooler. Coincidence? Maybe.

Six O'Clock

Birds in the Desert Willow at 6pm, to be expected. There is just one grainy dark video from a few weeks ago of both gray foxes together and they looked identical. But 3pm and 6pm foxes though appearing identical appear to have different mannerisms.

Three O'Clock, Really?

The Juncos won't come out of the Desert Willow at 3pm. Really?

The Melting Pot

For a few weeks three White-Crowned sparrows have been hanging out in the Desert Willow observing the Juncos feeding on bread which they showed no interest. Once Tom started putting seed out they became on the ground participants. A little bit taller, little slimmer (for the moment), distinctive head markings. The thing that first attracted Tom, they scratch the ground for seed. Juncos never do (did). But after weeks of White Crowned sparrows feeding with Juncos, Tom took the binoculars focused across the driveway and the Juncos were scratching for seed, on one foot, whereas the White-Crowned sparrows scratch with two feet simultaneously in little hops, but still, for the first time, scratching.

This Concludes Our Presentation

Tom finishes up a few ledges and low spots but feels comfortable he's covered all the area between the lodge and the Amasa Back. For the third time he finds remnants of balloons that have come to earth in the canyon lands.

Finish the Scratch

Tom always suspected the phone line had to get out of here by going up Jacobs/Jackson Ladder well back into Jackson Hole but never understood why it would go west to get there until he found the second spin off location of the Prommel abandoned oil well where the phone line went right through it. Today, he's determined to see if it makes it all the way to the Ladder. In the end, the last post he can find with wire is at the base of Jackson Ladder.

Critter World

With the hawk not showing up for a morning meal again, all should be right across the driveway. But, it's crowded. There appear to be even more Antelope squirrels and despite an abundance of food there are frequent skirmishes and brief battles. It's the fifth day in a row Tom has seen no sign of the Ringtail.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday Evening From Base Camp


The quiet by Jackson Hole has Tom hearing two men talking at the Pot Ash Plant two to three miles away.