Thursday, August 30, 2012

Unfriendly Skies (and Ground)

With the daily ritual of feeding the White-tailed Antelope squirrels and White Crowned sparrows, House Finches, and Dark-eyed Juncos that show up for feeding pretty much same time every day, Base Camp has drawn it's share of predators. It's a rare day when Tom doesn't see a Cooper's hawk and one or two Sharp Shinned hawks hiding in the near bushes or circling above.


Monday, August 27, 2012

The Ditch

After Friday night's rain a small ditch Tom used to jump back and forth across while out hiking with Kobae is now 8 to 15 feet deep and 10 to 15 feet wide.

The Little Guys Knew

Sunday evening as Tom is hiking around with Kobae, every ant pile he encounters is frantic with activity. Tom thinks it's odd that after the big one hit Friday night they could have kept this pace up for 48 hours doing reconstruction. While the sky at the time was just barely partly cloudy, 90 minutes later another storm tore into Base Camp though this time leaving little rain. Now Tom wonders, while Tom couldn't see it coming, they could feel it coming. So as not to go through the Friday night experience again, Tom will be watching ant piles to see if it's a constant warning indicator of what's coming.

White-tailed Antelope squirrel crossing


Sunday, August 26, 2012


For the last 24 hours the washing machine, hose, and sink have all been in pretty constant use. For now there's seeing if they can get the truck out for the return of Lydia and Linny to Salt Lake for school on Monday. A couple more hours of road work and Tom thinks, not knows, he has built a large enough path for the truck. He can't see much in front of him or to the side so Lydia and Linny are spotting.


The road other than by the Base Camp sign has not taken much damage. Rounding the corner Linny's ATV is right where they left it and starts right up.

The Morning After

The first task is to see if they can recover Linny's ATV from the road down Hurrah, assuming it's still there. Reaching the driveway going up by the Base Camp sign it's clear much road work needs to be done before even attempting to get even an ATV out to go retrieve Linny's ATV. After an hour or so, Tom thinks he's done enough rock filling to get the ATV up the hill.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Zero Percent Chance of Rain

While Lydia, Linny, and Tom hang around the lodge waiting to see if Kobae is going to go hiking, a storm cloud is gathering to the north. Kobae goes in his pen. Tom suggest a quick ATV trip to Hurrah. Almost to the top of Hurrah Tom looks out into Jackson Hole and it is raining but there are no winds and the storm hasn't moved in an hour. At the top of Hurrah, just as Tom takes this picture, behind them he can see the storm take off. Five minutes later, it is upon them. As the first pellets of hail hit them Tom quickly parks and pulls everyone to cover under an overhang. In two minutes the overhang is a waterfall and the road a stream. Twenty minutes later with some let up of rain, Lydia, Linny, and Tom make a dash for the lodge on one of the ATV's. Just before the Base Camp sign they have to ford a small river that twice crosses the road. The turn off to the lodge by the Base Camp sign is mostly gone. Lydia and Linny walk down it. Tom very slowly rides down it. Driving through the fast moving stream that was the road they return to the lodge. With morning light, they will set out and attempt to retrieve Linny's ATV while seeing if departure is even an option.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Little Who's Up

The original "Who's Up" was an amazing side-blotched lizard. While everything Tom has read says they only live an average of six months or so, she lived on the front porch for three plus years. She was the first side-blotched to come to the sound of the fly swatter, eat off the fly swatter, eat out of your hand, ride the fly swatter to the dining room window and eat dead flies for Tom off the window sill. Tom would wack a fly on the front porch, call "Who's Up" and she would be the first lizard there almost every time. She'd wait on the wall by the front door and pick off the dead fly as Tom walked outside with it, twice free fell off the top of the wall to land on the swatter before another lizard got there and once jumped off the roof onto the fly swatter when Tom called her. When a fly would land on the porch, Tom could hear the fly, but not always see it. Like a bird dog, she would stare at where the fly was to help Tom locate it and she knew as none of the others did that Kobae would attract flies wherever he might go and followed him everywhere. In an afternoon with all the guests armed with fly swatters she ate 40 flies.

Just before she disappeared three months or so ago she lost a lot of weight in one day. Generally that means laying six to eight eggs somewhere. About two weeks ago, the front porch got a little spurt of very, very, small side-blotches, with light colored heads, same as her. The last few days Tom has noticed one in particular. Seeing Kobae start across the drive way to the porch, he jumps off the wall, runs like he's on fire across the porch, leaps off the stairs and runs instinctively out to Kobae where he hangs out waiting for little flies and insects. Can't be any doubt of his ancestry. In the first picture, the original Who's Up hanging out with kids on the porch watching Kobae eat. In the second picture, just below Kobae, on the sidewalk, measuring maybe two inches (mostly tail), next generation.

Reminder, Time to Eat

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Alternative Route

Taking the alternative possibility back to Jackson Hole also turns into a dead end. Great view of Jackson Butte and Jackson Hole, but a dead end. Returning to Scorched Earth Tom spots rafts in the in the distance floating past Base Camp. On the slope back to the ravine for the descent he can see Hurrah Pass. Maybe there's a way to get from Predator Point to Hurrah Pass and then take the road back down to the lodge. Would be quite a loop. He's been on the trail for six hours, temperature in the mid 90's and down to one canteen. Perhaps another day.


Entering the valley behind Scorched Earth the trail turns right into a hidden valley, into a stone canyon, then connects with CliffHanger. At that right hand turn, there is also a trail that goes straight and Tom has always wondered if it connects with Jacobs/Jackson Ladder back in Jackson Hole. Tom follows the trail for a few hundred feet and it ends at a large stone obstacle. Tom notices an alcove similar to the False Kiva one in Canyonlands and heads for there. Inside he doesn't find a False Kiva, but perhaps an old granary. Across the valley he spots what may be a way around the stone obstacle to Jackson Hole.

Predator Point to Scorched Earth

Tom reaches the top of the ravine, works his way across the steep incline and up the side to the Scorched Earth Trail.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Predator Point Ravine

It's 7:30am when Tom reaches the abandoned oil well north of the lodge to see if he can find a shortcut that will take him up to the Scorched Earth Wall without going over Hurrah to Kane Creek Canyon and then up. To see if such a short cut exists, Tom will have to climb this ravine behind the abandoned oil well. The morning, the ravine, from half way up, from the top.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


For the last few years a Whip snake has been sneaking around the front porch trying to pick off lizards, twice almost getting Who's Up. Out front cleaning kayaks Tom twice thinks he hears other than lizard movement in the bushes.. He sees Who's Up leap onto the porch and run up the wall. Unusual behavior for Who's Up. Moving slowly down the porch and scanning the bushes Tom sees the motionless Whip snake. After a 20 minute hunt Tom eventually captures the critters on the front porch's biggest threat and takes him far away for release.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mama, Mama, They Crazy

Sylvia, Adam, and Tom visit the Tombstones with Base Jumpers.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sylvia and the Leopard

It takes some work to find, more to catch, and a lot more to make a Leopard lizard your friend. But once you've made him your friend, he'll hang out with you all day.