Don said he did spot three does disappearing over the top of the hill southwest of camp early in the morning, when he got up to make coffee. Since the surrounding countryside is so dry, I suspect that our little valley with the green marshes drew them in.
Probably one of the more interesting hoodoos I found while exploring the area. Reminded me of a totem pole, and I preferred to think of him as an ancient protective guardian of the forest. Can't help but wonder what the Native American's who inhabited this area thought of these unique rock formations? Was this area sacred or special to them? I also got a kick thinking about how spooked some young city kid might get, after seeing this and hearing the eerie calls of the elk while sitting around the campfire...... :)
Cute little pollywogs that were swimming in the stream near camp.
So excited when I spotted some fresh-looking raccoon tracks just downstream from camp. Probably what our dogs were growling at after we tucked ourselves into our sleeping bags the previous night.....Poor Don, he was just drifting off to sleep, when I woke him up because I was hearing noises just outside the tent. Because the dogs were alert and growling, he got up and peaked outside the tent, but didn't see anything. After finding the tracks, I suspect it may have been a raccoon rummaging around camp the night before.
Camping is always so exciting especially late at night.....
Great area not too far from camp to sit and cool off during the heat of the day. The rock ledges in the stream were quite comfortable to relax on, while allowing the cool and refreshing water to rush over your body!
The following pics are from a short hike I took during our stay. There is no place I would rather be than exploring the wilderness - Life is Good!!
I spent a lot of time focusing in on the sound of this little waterfall trying to find it. I crisscrossed this valley a couple of times before I actually spotted the source of the sound. I have been known to lay down, stretch out with my arms folded behind my head for hours just listening to the soothing sounds of water trickling in a pristine meadow. The peace and serenity one finds in the wilderness is soooo addictive and intoxicating!
Don told me not to push myself because the high altitude was going to kick my but on this trip.....and it did! Being raised in Colorado, the altitude never seems to bother him.
You will rarely find me hiking established trails, as I much prefer the challenge of following game trails. Super fresh elk scat on the left side of the trail indicated that one had climbed this slope fairly recently!
The hike got a lot easier with this real gentle downhill slope back to camp!
On my way back to camp, I spooked a lemming that was out collecting grass, and just barely caught a glimpse of it before it disappeared underground. Then I came across some interesting looking burrows. The heavily flattened grass and fresh scat indicated that this was a favorite place for elk to bed down. I wonder who eventually won this turf battle - the lemmings or the elk?
Despite my first impressions of the area, we had a great time exploring the wilderness in this part of Arizona, especially an area with such extreme variations in terrain (dry hills and green marshy meadows). I'm already looking forward to our next camping adventure!