Monday, March 9, 2015

Duck, Duck, Sheep

The sun rose about 7 a.m. on Tuesday with our camp and the river still in shadows. I came down to the river to watch the light change on the hills as the sun rose.

Soon, I was joined by the others, and we decided to fix breakfast on the beach and watch for river traffic. Bacon, eggs, blue sky, no wind, and good friends provided the makings of another great day.

BJ had barely started her research into relaxation methods & practice when the ducks showed up. This is the first time in all the years I’ve been coming here that the ducks showed up looking for a hand out. They’ve obviously been conditioned because they were very willing to come very close, including nibbling on Suzanne's shoe.

A solitary sheep showed up on the far shore, spending about 30 minutes grazing before bedding down.

After lunch we decided to see if we could find the petroglyphs. BJ had located them once several years ago, so was quickly designated our fearless leader. There was a lot more water on the lower portion of the trail to the hot springs because of the rain on Sunday.

The trail follows a slot canyon / narrow wash with a number of smaller falls and one larger falls equipped with a ladder. Below the hot springs, the falls are flowing. Above the hot springs, the falls are dry.

The hot springs are dammed with sand bags to create pools. This is the lowest (and coolest) pool, located below the ladder. I didn't get any pictures of the ladder and upper pools because I put my camera away to protect it. The ladder was damaged in a flash flood at some point in the last year or so, and no longer has hand holds at the top. In addition, it is somewhat twisted.

Once we got through all the hot spring pools, we stopped so the gals could switch from water shoes to hiking shoes. I stuck with my heavy duty NRS workboot wet shoes for the whole hike.

We spotted another group of 6 sheep on the slopes above the upper wash. While the wash was dry, and very rarely flows, the rock shows considerable wear and polishing. Some of the dry falls were 8 to 10 feet high and smoothly polished.

The arrow points to the person who didn't notice the arrow. It also points to the wash that contained our target for the day - some petroglyphs.

While the petroglyphs were somewhat disappointing, the hike and resulting view were spectacular. A look at the growing clouds and wind encouraged us to return expeditiously. By the time we got down to the hot spring area, we had thunder and lightning in the area so we didn't stay and soak in the hot springs.

We got back to camp just in time to take a nap to the sound of rain on our tents, which stopped long enough to start dinner. Sprinkles came back a couple times throughout the evening - a small price to pay for another day in paradise.