Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Whew! It’s been anything but a quiet week in my life.

Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008

It’s been a busy week – a trip to Tahoe, a kayak trip, a visit to Usery County Park, and a bird watching station in progress.

The Tahoe trip. My brother Ed and I left sunshine and 90-degree Phoenix, flew Southwest Airlines to cold and snowy Tahoe. We were family representatives and participants at the memorial service for my nephew David’s wife.

The day after my return I back working in the park contact station (entrance). I do enjoy the folks coming into the park. Often they take a few minutes to chat. Now that I’ve been on some of the trails, I like asking the hikers which trail they will be hiking; which is their favorite. And with the construction that is going on at the new Visitor Center, construction traffic is interesting. A couple days ago every few minutes an asphalt truck came through – all stopping to get directions to the site. Today it was landscapers and a huge Pella windows truck.

Here’s a photo of the contact station – I’ve been doing the 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. shift this week.

The park rangers treated all the volunteers to a kayak trip on the Salt River. We were in two-person kayaks, and basically floated downriver for nearly two hours. I had hoped to take my camera, but we were cautioned not to take anything we weren’t willing to lose or get really wet.

This past Saturday, I spent most of the day with my sister Alice. First we went to Usery Park, another park in the county system. The occasion was to attend a bird-watchers gathering. I met Sandy, a volunteer who set up the bird watching area. About 20 folks came and Sandy talked about how to identify birds – and we could practice as birds kept arriving at the feeder stations. I took pictures to show our park rangers. As a result, tomorrow the maintenance guys start on our own bird watch station. It will be set up near site #8 – and I’ll be moving to that site next week in order to keep the feeders stocked and the water feature clean. I’ll take photos when it is ready.

On Sunday, I picked the Clay Mine and the Overton Trail to hike. According to the map, it would be nearly three miles. I got an early start hoping to finish by 9. Well, I read the mileage wrong. There were quite a few folks hiking also, and the trail is well marked. I hiked, and I hiked, and I hiked. The trail would end at the day-use parking area, and every time I got to a rise, I expected to see the parking area. But, no – just more trail, and a lot of it rocky. Finally I could see the end, and I sure was glad. When I arrived at the parking lot and asked the time, it was 11 a.m.!!!!

Along the way, I took a photo of an interesting saguaro cactus – it looks like four cacti all grew in the same spot.

I’m certainly enjoying the birds that come to my feeders and water container. My favorite feeder is the one that attaches to the motorhome window by suction cups. I can sit just inches inside and get good photos. I took a picture of a female house finch that appears to have a growth on her head.

And a pair of Gila woodpeckers have figured out how to get sunflower seeds. They come individually – running off smaller birds. With their feet on the front of the feeder and their body and tail underneath the feeder, the bird sorts through the seeds, apparently picking one of the plump ones, and then flies off.

That’s it for now. No quotes, no wise words.

Remember, click on the photos to enlarge them.