This is a link to an awesome Must Watch You Tube video that is in tune with the Halloween Season and is quite creative while teaching the basics of CPR. Please share with family and friends!
Just got back from another awesome camping trip to the White Mountains of Arizona. We spent our first 2 weeks just exploring the Coronado Trail (old route 666), which has been designated as a National Scenic Byway. Supposedly the Byway follows the route of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado during his epic search for the famous Seven Cities of Cibola in the 1540s! I don't think I have been on a mountain road with so many tight switchbacks and curves. Local brochures claim there are more than 460 curves on this dangerous route whose elevation tops out at over 9100 feet.
We had to stop several times just to keep the old Blue Goose from overheating during the long uphill ascent after passing the great copper mines of Morenci! As a precautionary FYI, those attempting this steep drive should be stocked up on supplies and extra gas, as there are no stations along the isolated stretch of mountain road for 89 miles from Morenci to Alpine!
So thankful Don agreed to stop for lunch so that I could take some pictures of the rugged rock formations along the Coronado Trail. When we spotted the arch, Don looked at me and said "I know what you're thinking! Its too steep for you to climb! No Way!" Even though I hadn't said anything, he could tell I was trying to figure out a route to the top! We absolutely live for exploring those scenic areas that take your breath away! Amazed by the sight of the large round boulders and the tree wedged along the deep crevices of these cliffs. Life will find a way!
View of the "Devil's Highway" from Blue Vista Lookout which sets at a little over 9100 feet! At this elevation, you can really feel the temperature drop!
I can't even imagine how difficult it must have been for Coronado and his men to cut a trail through such a rugged wilderness!
View of the thick grove of trees where we set up camp. This stand of pines provided us with a nice wind break, and great shade! The thing we really like about this area is that it is so isolated, with not a soul in sight! Temps would turn a little nippy at night, but loved waking up to the fresh pine scent of the forest in the mornings! Life is Good!
Not too far from our campsite, we came across the weathered skull of a horse which is why we nicknamed this area "Dead Horse" camp.
Little Breezy checking out the horse skull. She was fascinated with it so we had to shorten her cable so she couldn't get to it during our stay.
Such an awesome place to explore, and we didn't even see so much as a single hiker during our campout in the wilderness!! On a couple of evenings while sitting around camp, we did hear the extended howl of a single wolf, which was pretty exciting. We are pretty sure it was a wolf, as the howl did not have the high timber or sharp cacophony of the sounds that coyote troops make - just a single lower base howl.
He/she sounded so lonely, and we were hoping to hear a distant response, but none was forthcoming. We weren't too far from an area where Mexican Wolves were reintroduced. Earlier this year, the US Fish and Wildlife released data of the yearly census/survey taken around Alpine, AZ which showed an increase in the population of this Endangered Species of wolf in the area! We did catch a glimpse of one near a water hole mid-morning a couple of years ago while camping at Bear Patch! So exciting!
Little gifts of the monsoon rains - it always amazes me how the White Mountains experience a 2nd green spring in the late summer! Will post more in near future of the flora and fauna to be found in the White Mountains of Arizona!
Today, the National Park Service is celebrating its 103rd Anniversary! In 1916, on this date, President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Parks Service Act (AKA The Organic Act) to preserve the intrinsic beauty of our National Parks, Monuments, and Historic Sites for the enjoyment of future generations. To observe the historic founding of the NPS, the agency has designated today as a "freeday" for anyone visiting our National Parks! So Awesome!
If you plan on hitting the trails today, why not take a trash bag with you and pick up trash on your way back to the trail head! No greater high than knowing you are contributing to the preservation of the wilderness, and those areas which take your breath away upon discovery!
Don and I were sitting in our living room enjoying our first morning cup of coffee, when we heard something hit a window on the west side of the house pretty hard. When I went outside to see what had happened, I found a medium sized bird with one wing extended laying at the base of our elephant ears. Its eyes were closed, but I could see it was still breathing, and quite obviously stunned by the hard collision. I've always felt it is best to leave wild critters be, to avoid causing "contact" stress which can so easily induce life-threatening shock in birds. Leaving it lay where it fell, I decided to check on it later while I tried to specifically identify which species it was?
At first glance, I thought it might be a mockingbird, but the colors weren't quite right. The primaries had a distinct cinnamon or rufous hue to them, and the bill was bi-colored bright yellow on bottom and blackish on top. I went on the internet and was looking at thrasher's but nothing quite matched, and after searching for 20 mins. suddenly saw a picture of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) that was a perfect match.
I went back outside to check on the poor thing, expecting the worse, and discovered it had moved, and was now sitting in one of my daffodil planters on our deck. I took a couple of quick photographs for positive identification purposes, and went back inside to allow it to recover in peace. The fact that it had moved was a good sign, and I was cautiously optimistic that it might survive.
Another hour passed, and I went out to check on our little visitor, and as I stepped out onto the deck, it suddenly took flight with a very strong and perfectly normal flight pattern. My heart soared as it took wing, and it looked to me like it had made a full recovery! Wish I had gotten better picks but am happy that we positively identified a new species (for us) in our little neck of the woods.
After doing a little research, I have discovered that the Yellow-billed Cuckoo was added to the Endangered Species list in 2014 because of a severe decline in population due to habitat loss in the Western US. Apparently, the western population was as low as an estimated 500 breeding pairs at one point. According to the American Bird Conservatory, collision with man made structures such as skyscrapers, cell towers, and wind turbines are a major cause of mortality with this migratory species. So happy our little visitor recovered from his accident!