Just a few more pics of our backcountry camping trip near the Mt. Baldy wilderness. The following photos were taken during a 4 mile circular hike I took during our 2nd week.
Poor Cricket! During this hike I left her back at camp, and Don called me on the walkie-talkie to tell me she was throwing a fit since she saw me cross the meadow.....without her. After an hour, Don called me again and said she still hadn't settled down and was actually chewing on her cable. I was a good 1.5 miles away from camp, and Don was teasing me that I was inflicting "emotional distress" on HIS dog because I left her behind. LOL! So I gave in and I told him to cut her loose and let her fly.
Now we had been working with her since she was a puppy to track me, by playing little games of hide and seek with her. Since I don't follow established trails, I knew this was going to be a real test of her tracking skills. After 5 minutes, I still hadn't seen her, so I called out several times, hoping she would focus in on my location. Then I spotted her, pronking in the air like an antelope, trying to get a better view of things over the tall grass. She always gets so excited when she finds me! After that, I took a long break and sat down on a log, and shared my jerky with her. We sat there for quite awhile listening to the sounds of the forest and the gentle quaking of the Aspens!
Cricket had been up and down this slope 20 times, as I tried to follow an elk path to the top of the ridge! Come on mom! What's taking you so long to get to the top?!
Absolutely one of the more colorful birds we saw, a Western Tanager! The bright beautiful colors of this bird just blew me away!
The following is a video of Don doing an exploratory hike with little Cricket at his side. He likes to scout out potential campsites during his hikes. We were thinking about moving to another area for a different view during our 2nd week, but decided against it during this trip. So glad we didn't move, because we probably would have missed the antelopes we spotted during week 2!
The following video shows one of several antelopes we spotted during this trip. He was the last one up the hill, and it looks like he stopped to rub his horns on a bush!
One morning I got up kinda early, just before dawn because I wanted to see if any elk were using the small hidden meadow to the north of camp as a place to bed down for the night. I had explored this meadow on previous trips and had found patches of crushed grass, so I knew it was used by the elk in the area.
As I walked along the trail near the top of the ridge, I rounded a rocky outcropping and surprised a small bobcat, who was chewing on what looked to be the remains of a chipmunk. As soon as she spotted me, she took on off up the slope. The whole encounter lasted just a few seconds, but still it was so exciting! I absolutely live for these rare glimpses of wildlife in the wilderness! I went back to the area later in the day when the lighting was better, to see if I could find any tracks the bobcat might have left, but the terrain was too rocky.
The following is a pic of the slope where I interrupted the bobcat having breakfast!
Aspen Creek is such an awesome place to experience nature in its full glory, and its remoteness is what really appeals to me! Its one of those special places that takes your breath away upon discovery! Something about the rugged wildness of the terrain that makes me feel like I have ventured into the lost lands of Middle Earth as depicted in the Lord of the Rings! I am already really looking forward to next year's trip!
Just got back from an awesome camping trip to our favorite backcountry campsite near the Mt. Baldy Wilderness. After spending 2 weeks in paradise it was hard to come back home. We found the secluded little alpine meadow several years ago, and fell in love with the area. Since then we try to make it back every year. This is the one camping trip I really look forward to because there is so much to see and explore!
For those who love to watch for wildlife, you will not find a better place in the White mountains of Arizona. We have spotted large herds of elk, pronghorn antelope, whitetail, coyote, bobcat, foxes, turkey, redtail hawks, great horned owls, and lots of cute little chipmunks. One of the best things about this spot is its remoteness, and the awesome feelings of peace and tranquility one gets from being in total isolation from civilization. Nothing is better for the soul, than exploring the Wilderness!
View from camp overlooking the meadow! Didn't spot a single soul during our stay!
Part of the cliffs just below camp, where we have seen bats emerging from deep cracks between the rocks at dusk.
I love this shot, if only because I waited for the better part of 2 hours for a chipmunk to appear! Unfortunately the chipmunks weren't cooperating at the time. Sometimes you get the shot and sometimes you don't! Got to love it, though! LOL!
Finally! Not a perfect shot, but it will do!
Don was complaining that I don't post enough pics of our dogs, so I will try to do better in the future. Anyway, Breezy and Cricket had just treed a squirrel when these pics were taken. Being schnauzers, they are absolutely obsessed with hunting small rodents, lizards, and just about anything that moves. They would have stayed there all day looking up at that tree if we had let them, so after a couple of minutes, we tied both of them to trees on the opposite side of camp to allow the squirrel a safe escape route! After about 15 minutes of chattering and tail flicking, the little fella climbed down and ran up the hill towards the back of camp!
Beautiful thick grove of Aspens at the back of our camp was a great windbreak! Loved listening to the gentle quaking of the leaves when soft breezes blew through! So magical, almost as if the trees were talking to one another.
I couldn't get over how thick the trunk was on this perfect Aspen specimen, compared to its neighbors!
The following is a short video of small herd of elk we spotted in the early morning hours on day 4 as we were enjoying our first cup of coffee! That's little Breezy barking in the background! Every couple of days, we were lucky enough to spot elk grazing in this pristine meadow! Such an awesome place!
The following video, taken from a couple of years ago will give you an idea of the sheer numbers of elk we have seen in the area.
Another view from the top of the cliffs near camp!
The little stream running below camp was dry when we first arrived, but was running full after a storm blew through on day 3. With the exception of one rather wet 24 hour period, we enjoyed beautiful weather for the remainder of our stay!
The following is a pan from the southern end of the meadow looking north.
It can get a little nippy at night, but you can't beat the sunsets! Will be posting more about this amazing wilderness area in the near future!