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Thursday, May 19, 2011

A mountain lion and "impassable when wet"

While we were in the desert, it snowed at our home. During the string of snow storms that have been pummeling us, a mountain lion passed one of my wildlife cameras. The camera is pointed at a bear "whammy tree" which is right behind the lion. The lion showed no interest in the tree and just padded softly by it. Notice the naked neck - the wildlife agency hasn't caught up with this guy yet!
Believe it or not, it is still snowing here. We got a water-logged 8" of snow last night and it's still falling. It's hard to be happy about snow in May but this is helping with our drought.

At the very same time as the mountain lion was passing my wildlife camera, we were on our trip, starting with an excursion to Rattlesnake Canyon and later going to the San Rafael Swell. Rattlesnake Canyon is a site in western Colorado with the highest concentration of natural rock arches outside of Arches National Park. Because it sits on BLM land, the Labraduo was allowed to join us there.

To get there, we passed some beautiful sights. Rock cliffs and spires sat above a nearby town.
When we looked more closely we saw that climbers were on the spire. If you look closely, you can see two climbers descending in the evening light.
You can see that the skies looked fairly benign at that time. There was a small chance of rain but we surmised that we were in the desert, where it likely wouldn't rain. So, we didn't worry about the fact that the maps said that the 4WD road into Rattlesnake Canyon "may be impassable when wet".

Alas, very shortly after arriving, an angry bank of clouds surged toward us.
We could see torrential downpours in the distance.

The wind started howling.
We retreated to our van but I stepped outside during every lull to look around.

We had heard that the area where we sat had received almost no rain all year. So, we sat tight, assuming that we'd awaken to sunny skies the next day and be able to go see the arches. During breaks in the torrential and freezing rain, I explored the desert bloom near our van. What a sight for someone who has been mired in winter for so long!
We weren't yet focused on the "impassable when wet" roads that stood between us and civilization. Needless to say, this visit to Rattlesnake Canyon wasn't going to proceed as planned.


  1. I like cliffhangers! The lion is beautiful, and would I ever like to climb that rock! :)

  2. Gorgeous pictures again!! A hint of spring finally! Lots of love, Holly & Mom

  3. It's good to see your posts again and see your amazing and breath taking photos! I can only imagine how it would be to actually be standing there and taking it all in!

  4. One of the things I love best about this part of the country in which we both live is watching the storms build and advance. You captured the majesty beautifully.

  5. I have a feeling this was more adventure than you bargained for! At least we all know that you eventually made it back home!

    K looks like she just needs a cape in that one picture so she could take flight!

  6. beautiful..looks like you can see forever
    Benny & Lily

  7. Mountain weather. Refreshing but changeable ... and by the looks of it , dangerous. Those poor climbers must have been soaked .

  8. More snow?!? I just knew spring had sprung there by now. Well, at least you got away for a while. Although, that storm looks pretty ominous. I can't wait to hear the rest of the adventure. Beautiful flower, and scenery!

  9. Incredible shots of the storm. I immediately heard suspense music playing :D Beautiful desert flower.

    Now, WHAT HAPPENED?!!!

    Waggin at ya,

  10. Wow, that storm was INTENSE. Can't wait to see what happens next.

    Your pal, Pip

    P.S: Mr clever Lion is sure beautiful!

  11. Looks like you could see everywhere in the world from those picture! What amazing views!

  12. Mom was in the Rockies when it snowed! It was crazee! And they saw some big lion tracks in the snow. Back home, it was 90! How crazee is weather?!?!

  13. What happened next? I can't wait to find out!

  14. I just "wikipediad" Rattlesnake Canyon and have a better idea of what you are facing. The snow back home and the rains in the is just not your friend right now.

  15. Rattle snake Canyon is so beautiful-- we have never seen photos of it beauty.
    Were so happy you were able to enjoy so much,,, you had a little of every kind of weather possible.
    Amazing photos.

  16. Do you think the snow and freezing rain will be gone by the end of June? I'm starting to wonder about tenting it in Colorado. The flower color is a mood lifter.

  17. Wow!! What an amazing set of pics! Those rain pics are really beautiful :)


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