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Monday, June 8, 2015

The End of our Desert Escape

Our last stop on our desert trip was at a campsite that we've been visiting for about a dozen years. It's next to huge rock outcroppings that remind me of Mother Nature's cathedrals.
It's clear that people have appreciated the beauty of this area for thousands of years based on the rock art at the base of the huge rock walls.
Some slabs have fallen off the rock faces but fortunately the art landed facing up!
A distinctive thing about this place is that it's 70% slickrock and the rest is sand. For slickrock, boots are critical for dogs.

We have always used Ruffwear Grip Trex boots for our dogs in the desert. However, Shyla has always hated them. I finally figured out why after our last desert trip. They didn't fit her elongate paw shape correctly, and she had a spot rubbed almost raw on top of one of her toes. So, I decided to try her winter boots on this desert trip - Ruffwear Summit Trex. They have a nice vibram sole, and she was SO much happier than in her old boots.
The greatest part of finding boots that she liked was that we could mountain bike together on the slickrock, something that is impossible without comfortable dog boots.
Both of us were happy about that. On past visits to this site, her running was very limited by having to avoid slickrock.
When we visit this area, our campsite is always marked by a "dog boot drying boulder". Shyla's are the orange boots and R's are the red boots. If you ever happen to see a sight like this, you know it's us!
In the afternoons, one of our favorite activities was to watch a family of nesting Red-Tailed Hawks. We have a spotting scope that lets us see almost every detail of their life in their rock cavity nest.

We've watched them every spring for 4 years so far. By May, the funniest part is watching the nestlings maneuver into position to go to the bathroom. They carefully back up to the edge and launch their poop completely out of the nest to the ground below. Their maneuvering makes us laugh every time. You can see from the photo below that they weren't so skilled when they were younger.

Unfortunately, I don't own a big enough lens to get good photos of the nestlings "in action". There were three this year, and we both wished we could stay long enough to see them fledge. I hope that they had successful first flights! From that height (200-300 ft high), the first flight must be very scary.
I hope that we keep visiting this campsite for many years to come. The first dogs who visited there with us are now departed (K and S). But our current pack seems to love it too.
The desert is now too hot for us. Our next visit will be in the fall. Between now and then, we'll be exploring the mountains!


  1. Wonderful photos. Those hawks are great all cooped in their little house. It would be fun to watch them take off. Torrey like her summit trex boots and used them in Arizona.

  2. love the boot drying area. and the cute 'poop launching' hawks. :)

  3. That spot is so pretty! We have the summit trex boots, too! I'm glad they work better for Shyla's feet!

  4. The pictures are so wonderful and thanks for the tips on the boots

  5. A gal MUST have comfortable hiking boots!

  6. What a funny tale about the pooping nestlings:)

    Those boots look like two pups had a great time exploring.

    Back to the mountains with something to look forward to in the fall.

  7. Oh what an absolute joy it has been to begin to catch up on your gorgeous blog again. It is 2am and I was woken from a rare sleep on the sofa by dogs 1 and 2, and of course can't fall back asleep again. Your blog is just what the doctor ordered! I'm going to go and snuggle up and continue reading. Your pictures take me to another world! Thank you :)

  8. That's interesting about the nestlings keeping their home clean.

    Gorgeous rock formations and art work.

  9. You can really see good with the spotting scope? Is it better than binoculars? Do you need a try pod- or are you steady enough that you don't need one? It would be so fun to be on the trips with you!

    We would love to see all the tiny details that you can see.
    So glad Shyla likes her winter boots,, then she can run as free as the wind when she is with you! And glad R likes his too!
    The rock art work is total amazing!! Total!

  10. Lovely ending to the trip. I suspect the hawks stay in the nest a bit longer than others so their wings can be strong enough for that first daring flight. I loved all the photographs, especially the art done so long ago by other people who cared for the land.

  11. Absolutely beautiful pictures. I can almost feel the sun and smell the desert smells.

  12. Oh dogs Shyla your furs look most beautiful against the orange background.

    Aroo to you,

  13. Crikey ...... your trips over!! I've really enjoyed tagging along. Thanks for taking me. I can't wait till you go again. I've got boots like that. I use them when we go to the outback. We have these whopping big burrs in Australia and they keep my feet safe from those. I have those exact same red ones but Mum's going to check out the orange ones now. She reckons they look a lot more comfortable and I'm all about comfort.

  14. What a wonderful way to start the always, loved tagging along with you.

    Looking forward to seeing how the bears and lions are doing!
    Dory, Jakey, Arty & Bilbo

  15. that boots were really made for walking :o) I love the rock art .o)
    easy rider

  16. Our mom has never been to the desert and she is always overwhelmed but its vastness and beauty. Gorgeous photos, KB!

  17. Egads! I'd never learn to fly if I had to take that first big plunge!

  18. Petroglyphs and a red-tailed hawk family? I'd never want to leave. No wonder you go back every year.

  19. That sure is an amazing place!

  20. Thank you SO much for answering my question on my blog, it was very informative. I found your blog through SpiritHelpers blog, and I love to check in from time to time and see all your gorgeous pictures and adventures!

  21. We love the boots shot. BUTT I cannot wear ANYTHING cuz EVERYTHING turns me into a statue.

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  22. We always feel like we are going on an adventure right wif you in those pictures.......we liked the boot drying one the best. stella rose

  23. How wonderful that you've been able to take several generations of dogs to the same desert getaway spot. I wish that Ruby and Boca could have visited my parents' mountain property in Mancos - Lasya and Freya had such fun there!

  24. We are relaxed just looking at your pictures!
    Lily & Edward

  25. Hi Y'all!

    The changing colors of the desert and the rock are amazing.

    Y'all come on by,
    Hawk aka BrownDog


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