The best of green and blue

12 03 2019

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The little blue “square” in the middle is just east of McKenna Peak Wilderness Study Area (labeled), which is east of and in the eastern part of Spring Creek Basin Herd Management Area.

I’m wearing a smile as big and broad as lower Disappointment Valley. πŸ™‚

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Safety first

2 03 2019

030119stucktruck1

Please don’t be fooled by the idea that the lack of snow means area backcountry roads are driveable. Six or more inches of snow has melted in the last couple of days, and that has left MUD – soggy, deep, boggy, forward-motion-destroying mud – in its wake.

The above pic was taken yesterday from the intersection of Disappointment Valley Road and the road to Spring Creek Basin. The driver and passenger of the pictured truck tried to drive in … and soon (but not soon enough?!) realized it wasn’t a good idea. Having nowhere to turn around, they tried to back out. That went well until they got to a particularly boggy area, which pulled their truck off the road, where they tried unsuccessfully to get out of the deep mud.

In the pic, my truck (foreground) is atop the cattle guard at the intersection. I’d pulled the stuck truck to the cattle guard with my chain, but because of the angle and narrowness of the road, I couldn’t get it out of the mud along the road and ONTO the road, and if I’d kept pulling, their left rear wheel would have hit the exposed abutment of the cattle guard. Fortunately, from that point, the driver was able to gun it forward up and out of the mud and onto the road. In the pic above, the truck is on more or less solid ground (it wasn’t all that solid), and the driver and passenger were looking for the tire chains the mud ripped off (at least two of three they put on).

PLEASE do not think that because the snow has melted and the road is brown that it is dry. It most certainly, absolutely, definitely is NOT.

Apparently, I need to add a sign to those seen at the right side of the pic: DO NOT DRIVE WHEN WET. *

Ground moisture = GOOD.

Wet road = VERY, VERY BAD!

We have several days of rain and rain/snow in the forecast – with warm temps – that means the moisture content in the soil will get even better. … And the mud will get even deeper. It’s not spring yet, folks. πŸ™‚ If you’re jonesing to get out and about, please do so responsibly!

(* Note: The three miles from Disappointment Valley Road (starting at the above-mentioned cattle guard intersection) to the boundary of Spring Creek Basin is a county easement/road that crosses private property.)





Elk friends

10 02 2019

So I was just hanging out in Spring Creek Basin with my mustang friends when these guys showed up, moseying along, drinking at the same little pool of water in the rock arroyo. Super cool. πŸ™‚

Bull elk, Spring Creek Basin

Bull elk, Spring Creek Basin

Bull elk, Spring Creek Basin

Bull elk, Spring Creek Basin

This fellow has had some kind of encounter that resulted in a broken main beam of his antlers.

Bull elk, Spring Creek Basin

And this healthy-bodied youngster has a great start on what will someday be a very impressive set of antlers!

There were about five bulls with a group of cows and calves. Because of the trees, I couldn’t get a count (and I never think about it anyway), but I’d estimate around 15 to 20 total. The boys usually disperse into all-male groups after the rut, but these elk were still hanging out together. And as you can see, they still have their antlers.

In my experience, elk are pretty wary and hard to get close to. These guys and gals were grazing through the snow near a band of mustangs when I first saw them, but unfortunately, I couldn’t get to my camera quick enough to document that. However, it may be why they were so calm; their equine friends were calm. πŸ™‚

Later, when I looked across the little valley from the ridge I was on to the ridge they had been on, most of them had bedded down on patches of bare ground under pinon and juniper trees (which are sucking up that moisture like nobody’s business!). Nice and quiet on a very windy day!





Takin’ a turn

7 02 2019

Aurora

This pic of Aurora was taken a week or so ago. Then that snow melted. Yesterday, Disappointment Valley got white again!

Because we need it so badly in Southwest Colorado, we hope everyone got a great dose of life-giving snow!





The view from here

30 01 2019

Mule deer; Temple Butte and McKenna Peak

Our mule deer friends are back in the valley. πŸ™‚ We’ve missed them. (Elk are back, too, most often visible very early and/or very late.)

This scene was photographed from Disappointment Valley Road in lower Disappointment Valley looking east-ish toward Spring Creek Basin. Pyramid-shaped McKenna Peak and prominent promontory Temple Butte are familiar in the background. The sort of mid-ground areaΒ  is Spring Creek Basin.





Diggin’ it

21 01 2019

Killian; McKenna Peak and Temple Butte

Lower Disappointment Valley has melted into basic brown again, for the most part. High temps melt snow, which creates mud, which leads to undriveable roads.

Naturally, we’re craving colder temps and more snow. πŸ™‚

As I type this Sunday evening, we’re hoping Monday’s forecast for snow proves accurate, even down here in the “low lands.”

Above, Killian was digging through the (fairly) new snow to get to the grass beneath. They’re working a bit harder for their grub this winter (!), but they take it all as it comes. They’re WILD, after all! πŸ™‚





Our Pati

8 01 2019

Seneca; Temple Butte and McKenna Peak

Check out this wonderful article in the Telluride Daily Planet by writer Katie Klingsporn:

https://www.telluridenews.com/news/article_d8e1bd26-112e-11e9-b31f-0f3d56d820bc.html

In the photo above, Temple Butte is the prominent promontory behind snow-covered McKenna Peak (shaped like a pyramid).

Seneca is the lovely mustang, walking through her lovely, winter-white-coated world.

Thanks so much to all who contributed to the success of our application to name Temple Butte in honor of Pati (and David) Temple. It’s the least we could do to honor a woman who did so much for the wild she knew and loved.