Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The Nightly Wildlife

Last night was just a typical night it seemed at the beginning. BF and I left the entrance and headed into the area. He had to give a program and I would be running a trail and then meeting him at the program. I packed a cooler with a Corona and jumped into the vehicle. We were early to the time the program was so we pulled off at SV Overlook to go check an area suspected to have some rock art. He had never been in the area even though he has worked here for at least five years if not more. So we explored a little. Yes, we found the rock art because I knew exactly where it was. And he found a snake when he tried to go a different way that I had climbed. He decided he would go the way that I did after all. (Wildlife sighting #1) While I was waiting for my background to clear, I had scoured this area to no ends because really I had nothing else to do. Anyway, we finished and headed up the road.

It was 835pm when he dropped me off at the trailhead. The initial plan was to run the entire trail, but with the clouds overhead and the sun already gone, I would be running against time. Darkness would engulf my world quickly if I didn't take the shorter trail into the campground. He slowly drove away because he is a worry-wart and didn't think I should be running at this time of night and whether I was going to make it by dark. I hit the trail and the rain started coming down. It seemed to get dark almost immediately, but my night vision kicked in and I made it in ample time.

Last week or so we had a visitor say he saw a mountain lion in the area watching two deer. I figured he or she (we are going with she) had come up through a canyon in the DG area. Because I know the area that she lives because she stalked me one time. But anyway, that didn't help my fears while I was running on the trail. I just kept thinking--according to that stupid book I read, this is the time she likes to hunt, this is the type of area she would hunt, and I am running so slow that she probably thinks I am a weak prey. Obviously she didn't come after me that I know of.

The rain had picked up. I stopped at the Campground Host and said I had an emergency. He said WHAT? I said I need a bottle opener. I had forgot to bring one for that cold beer waiting in the vehicle for me. He gave me an opener and a cool cup and I headed up the road running. Here is this vehicle coming down the road and keeps moving over to the right shoulder where I am moving out of the way. Finally, the vehicle stops and I catch the g-plate. BF decided it was raining too hard and cancelled the program.

And that is when the wildlife abundance took place. Most of our animals come out at night because it is too fricking hot otherwise. Only lizards, snakes, and chipmunks brave the heat. Every thing else seems to enjoy the early mornings or dusk. So we are driving around the horn and coming upon the DG Trailhead. There is a water fountain there with a faucet. And I am not lying when I say there was a deer drinking from the faucet. (Wildlife sighting #2) Where is that camera when you need it. She had a broken leg. We have known for some time of the leg, but what do you do? You let the 'survival of the fittest' take place or do you put it out of misery? Remember the mountain lion? Survival of the fittest.

So we came around the horn and there was a bigger snake than before slowly making its way across the road in the rain. (Wildlife sighting #3) We stopped and looked for a while and then started to drive around it. It turned and started across the other side. We finally got around it and kept driving. And then the toad started hopping across our path. (Wildlife sighting #4) We stopped and Nature BF got out to check it out. It was raining too hard for me and I can't stand water dripping on me. (So I am a little weird).

We left the 15 MPH zone and hit the 30 MPH zone. Approaching the 45 MPH zone on a blind curve, the coyote was standing in the middle of the road. (Wildlife sighting #5) Thinking it was going to continue to cross the road, we slowed down and waited. But nope, he would continue to run down the road for a while in our lane. He finally went off on the other side and eventually disappeared from our view. Somewhere further down the road, a rabbit would attempt to join the Rabbit Club by running in front of the vehicle. (Wildlife sighting #6) Yes, the rabbit made it and joined the other daredevils. So even though the program was a washout, the drive home was a bonus.

But do you ever notice that animals only cross the road when vehicles are coming?

PS: I added some photos to More Photos...Further Adventures.

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