Author Archives: Laura

Life at the South Rim

Dottie looking over rim of Grand Canyon

We never unhitched the truck during our four day stay at the South Rim. Morning and night, we hiked to the rim from Mather Campground. As usual, Ginger rode like a queen in the jogger, which also carried our coffee and breakfast, or dinner, and the camera, tripod, extra layers, flashlight, etc. Mid day, dogs stayed in the trailer while Steve and I biked or took the shuttle buses around the Park. Not a bad system!

I can’t help but wonder how many tourists left the Grand Canyon with photos of our dogs with the Canyon as mere backdrop. Grand Canyon is more dog-friendly than most National Parks. You can’t take them down into the Canyon but they are allowed anywhere on the Rim Trail. During our daily sunrise and sunset pilgrimages, the dogs seemed to draw as much attention as the light show on the canyon walls. On our last morning, I stepped away to … ahem … use the facilities, and returned to find my family ringed by women … petting my dogs, chatting up my husband, and snapping pics of the whole entourage.

Birds were a definite highlight, with “life” birds ranging in size from the tiny Pygmy Nuthatch to the huge California Condor. Western Bluebirds, White Breasted Nuthatches, Mountain Chickadees, and Ravens were a common and constant presence in camp. Out at the Rim, hawks (Cooper’s, Red Tail), falcons (Peregrine, American Kestrel), Turkey Vultures and more Ravens were the norm. We saw a couple of mature Bald Eagles flying high overhead but our condor sighting was the most exciting. California Condor 33Though Condors are increasing in numbers, thanks to captive breeding programs, they are still endangered and rare. We wouldn’t have noticed “ours” if two women hadn’t stopped us to point her out. She was sitting on the cliff edge, just below the rim, and they thought she was a bald eagle because she was bald! I think they were a mite disappointed to learn that bald eagles aren’t bald but it was mitigated when they heard how special it is to see a California Condor! At a glance we may have dismissed her as a Turkey Vulture, but for the large tag she wore on her wing. Back at camp I did some research and learned that #33 is a 14 year old female, born at the LA Zoo, and released at the Grand Canyon. She is mated to #87 (condors mate for life) and has produced one chick. This year she missed mating because she was sick with lead poisoning, a common problem for scavengers feeding on carrion shot with lead ammunition. Two other breeding females were lost this year due to lead poisoning, but #33 was fortunate. She was captured and taken to a rehab facility in Phoenix where she was successfully treated. Yay!! May you live long and prosper, #33! And may I get better binoculars for that rather momentous birthday that is looming large!

More Grand Canyon photos are available at this facebook link.

Life at the Beach

Life at the beach is full. And cold. We’re over halfway through our summer stint here and there hasn’t been much time for updating blogs or processing the photos and videos we’ve taken. That’s a shame because the main subject matter of the cameras, puppies and grandtwins, are very worth looking at! This week’s projects, in between work and twins and the endlessness of pottying dogs and cat, is making curtains for the trailer. One window to go and they look great! Between the picnic table and the ramp door, I’ve got a good workspace. And thanks to a sewing machine loan from Westi, I have good tools. Now, if I could just get the outdoor temperature to warm up enough that I don’t need gloves to work! Did I mention that it is cold?

Home at Seacliff-Campsite B1

Checked googlemaps yesterday and found the Seacliff Beach image was updated last year while we were here. Fun! The photo above is our campsite … you can see the solar panels on top of the trailer, our ramp door “patio”, the truck with the camper on it, the dog yard, the picnic table. Seacliff BeachWe must have been on duty because the “Think” cart is parked at our site too. The image to the right is zoomed out to give a little context, including the fishing pier out to the “Cement Ship”. Below the image is zoomed out enough to see the entire Monterey Bay. I love how the satellite imagery shows the “Grand Canyon” of Monterey Bay. This unique underwater landform is what makes our Bay so rich in marine life … and what makes the water so cold as well. (The red arrows show where we are.) Now if we could just get some sun! (Back in the summer of ’08 when we were in Rockport, TX and I was longing for fog, I told Steve he had permission to smack me if I ever complained about fog again. Well, I count my blessings that he isn’t much inclined to take me up on that. Did I mention that it is cold?)

Home on Monterey Bay