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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Desert Beauty

We had glorious weather at our second campsite during our desert trip. Perfect blue skies to complement the moon and red rock.
The flowers were blooming like crazy, making the scene even more gorgeous. I felt so grateful to be there to see it all.
Over past years at this campsite, we've spotted Red-tailed Hawks that nest in cavities in the red cliff wall. At first, we thought that there was no nest this year because their usual cavity was empty.

It wasn't until the last evening in the campsite that a Red-tailed Hawk swooped low just over our heads and then soared up to a different hole in the wall - as if she was showing us where to look!

Indeed, there were baby hawks in that hole, three of them! Two nestlings looked like they were getting close to fledging while the third appeared substantially younger than the other two. We wished that we could stay to see what would happen as the babies each took their first flights. We worried for the younger nestling, not knowing whether his parents would take care of him after the older two flew the coop. Alas, we'll never know.

I'm sorry to say that don't have a long enough lens to take photos of the hawk nestlings to share with you. We were observing them through a spotting scope. It was a gift to be able to watch the family dynamics in action!

While we were at this campsite, I began to feel like my spine was truly improving. I started each day with a short ride with Shyla. To avoid hurting my back while putting on her boots, I had her stand on a boulder in our campsite. Boulders are useful for many things!
Then we'd do a short loop together. I had to take it easy on Shyla due to the hard rock surface and the heat.
Then, I'd leave Shyla to relax with the boys in camp and go for a longer exploration.
I'd visit spots like this butte. And, that's my new bike in the photo, to give you a sense of the huge size of the butte.
On the first day that I rode to this butte, I was incredibly disappointed to find a "jamboree" of 4wd vehicles all lined up by the butte - with loud people milling all around the vehicles. I took one look at the scene and fled. I headed back to visit the butte again the next day (earlier in the morning), and I didn't see anyone else. That meant that I felt free to quietly explore the nooks and crannies around the base of the butte, looking at the incredibly hardy and gorgeous flowers that somehow flourish there.
After my ride each day, I'd chill out with the Pack in our gorgeous campsite, puttering around looking at flowers, reading, snoozing, and taking photos.
I know we'll be back to this campsite again, hopefully in the fall. We love it.
It's even a great spot for looking at the stars. This is one the first "star trails" photos that I've tried to put together since we arrived home. It involves superimposing many exposures taken over hours of one night - and I know that I can do a better job of processing the exposures than in this one. But, I thought that it was pretty enough to share with you!
I never tire of seeing the stars whirling around Polaris!


  1. It looks as though you had a wonderful time away. So much beauty and the starry night photo is amazing.

  2. the star trails are really neat. love those red rocks! that butte is something!

  3. Simply beautiful.

  4. Oh my goodness, that last photo is breathtaking! How beautiful is the world we live in??

  5. Wow. That's all I can say. Wow. Oh, and I'm glad your spine is feeling "the betterment!"

  6. I'm so glad your back is getting better. And thanks for the gorgeous photos.

  7. OMD! AMAZIN'!! I loves all the photos! I can't imagine how relaxin' that must have been, and how peaceful Shyla and R look.
    Those flowers are just wonderful! Good things the 4 wheelers didn't smoosh them all.
    I loves the last kinda reminds Ma of the Twilight Zone (don't ask why...)
    Ruby ♥

  8. Your star trails are wonderful, I'd be so happy if I took any like that. And you sound so like Hugh, if we arrive at a camp site and there is ONE other camper there, that's too many. Once we parked at a very remote area, one motor home arrived, we mentioned our generator, hoping the noise would not disturb, his reply " Not to worry ,there is a rally here this weekend, another 35 or so will arrive tonight" Hugh almost packed up and left!!! Shyla looks like the bootees are OK after all. Cheers, Jean.

  9. Those rock formations are magic.

    XXXOOO Bella Roxy & Dui

  10. Such beauty and so incredibly different from what I see in my area. That jamboree must have been very disconcerting! I can only imagine the damage they do to the environment.

  11. Hi KB! What a wonderful trip you had !!! I am glad you back is feeling a bit better. Great pictures as always. The worls is such a beautiful place - we just have to stop and look.

    Have a great weekend!

    Diane and Indy Bones

  12. It sounds like a fantastic place. You definitely got some gorgeous images!

    When you do your star trail photos, how long does it go between photos before the camera takes another. I'm guessing you set it on a timer. The results are phenomenal!

  13. It's almost hard to believe that there is such a beautiful place on earth.


  14. Wonderful photos again. I have had people tell me that they don't believe the sky is that blue. But, yes, yes it is.

  15. What a beautiful and peaceful place. We see a lot of red tail hawks around here.
    Lily & Edward

  16. Awsome nature you have over there. Would love to go there. We will go to the US in near future but I Think time will only be to visit the east coast.
    Great Pictures!
    Have a great weekend!!

  17. I agree, that last photo is amazing, but they are all really wonderful!

  18. Your photos are simply gorgeous, KB! What a fabulous trip!

  19. You have out-done yourself with these photos. It's such a beautiful place and you've captured it perfectly. And, yes, that last photo is amazing.

  20. Gorgeous photographs! I must admit that I have a dislike and prejudice against 4wds and ATVs in the desert. They do so much damage to the lovely areas. Damage that cannot be undone.

  21. I always love your photos, but oh my GOODNESS! Your night photograph blew me away! It is gorgeous! Well done!


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