January 17, 2010

Our Pet RoadRunner

For the past week we had noticed an awfully friendly roadrunner (my trail name by the way!) hanging around the cabin.  It had startled both Kim and I a few times as we'd step out the door and see this thing shooting out past our feet.  I got up as usual to witness the sunrise from our front door and wasn't surprised to find another very colorful awakening.

Within minutes, something catches the corner of my eye over near the swing, and glancing I see our pet pop out, making his morning rounds. 

So as I approached "Benjamin", as Kim named him (oh, I hope it's a him?) to take a few pictures, which he didn't seem to mind.  And Benny (as I'll call him) struts up, looks me in the eye, and fluffs his feathers as if to declare that this is HIS territory!

A small bug jumps to our left, and Benny is right back on the hunt.  After catching and downing an easy breakfast, I move my hand out in an offering jesture, and Ben just has to come in real close for a peek. So, it's another entertaining morning here in the Burro Mountains!

Oh and late this afternoon we get back here to find our other little pets scurrying out of our way.  They are a lot more wary of us than Benny though, so with late eve's light and the telephoto out at about 300, I apologize for the lack of sharpness...

PS: they are Montezuma Quail, somewhat uncommon.  We count a total of six here by the house, and have jumped a larger covy down towards the casita.  Oh, and that's another lifer for me!

January 16, 2010

Rockhounding Round Mountain!

We joined the Silver City "Rolling Stones" rockhounding club this morning, and immediately went on this first adventure to an area on the western side of the Burro Mountains, near the Arizona border.

After driving many miles on some dusty and evntually high clearance only backroads, we arrive at Round Mountain and were amazed at the number of crystalline rocks everywhere! yes, just all over the ground!

I think Kim was in "rock heaven" babbling and shouting "Look, look at this one!"  and on and on she went.  It didn't take long to realize that we had to be more selective in our choices, since the first bag filled up very quickly.

It takes a while to get that "selective eye" developed, because everywhere you walk and everywhere you turn are nice looking hunks of the "chalcedony" this particular form of crystals here.

I carried my rockhound's hammer for a while, but realized it really wasn't need, since most stuff was just laying right on top of the volcanic soils.

Looking through our finds after getting home, I realize we had a nice sampling of the different forms the land had to offer, including one fist-sized geode that I can't wait to cut open. 
It was after we got back (and on the computer) that we realized we had not found what would have been a real prize from this area, Fire Agate... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalcedony

Sorting through some larger chunks, 3-6 inches across, we'll have some nice "whatnots" to add to our already growing collection here at Gila Lodge!

January 15, 2010

Bye, Bye Alpenlite!

After sitting out on Highway 90 for only a couple of days, our 29 foot Spyglass sold to the first couple looking at it! Kim will miss it more than I, but with a move to traveling only half the year, it just makes more sense for us to go back to our 21 foot TrailBlazer. We will pick it up in Oregon after returning from Hawaii next month.

I'm looking forward to the smaller footprint for towing & parking, and I think we'll make many "local" trips here from Silver City this year.

January 10, 2010

Interesting Pack Rat!

RAT???? set a couple traps in the house last night thinking I'd catch a Pack Rat. Kim woke up saying "something's burning". Thank goodness - no fire, only this interesting critter in the trap in the downstair's bathroom! 
Spotted Skunk - Guess that's just life in the Gila Wilderness!

January 3, 2010

Gila River Outing

We explored the back end of Bill Evans Lake Rd today, after a tip from a fellow birder on how beautiful the canyon, beyond the lake was.  On the drive in we encountered some interesting creatues right along the roadside!

Yep, that's it,  wild turkeys and then  hiking down the road, those strange guys that look like a cross between a racoon and a cat are Coatimundi....first time Kim and I have ever seen them in the wild.

Needless to say, the're pretty fast, so the shots here we snapped at 720mm focal length at an unacceptably low shutter speed, but here's a few more views of these unusual critters.

After climbing over and around mountainous ridge, we are treated to a spectacular panoramic view of the river valley, just north of the canyon.

To say the river was beautiful is a heck of an understatement, what a delight to the eyes!

On the way back to Silver, we took a side road up the five+ mile drive into Saddle Rock Canyon.  Aside from an interesting 4x4 drive, the warm late afternoon colors of the rocks were a treat.  We got back here last night looking on the DeLorme Topo software realized that with a dirt bike or 4x4 (or on foot) we could have gone all the way through to the back of  Gila Burro!