Okay, I've been lazy. Its been much easier to post photos than to take the time to write anything. And as a result I'm getting farther behind on posts I've wanted to write. It is hard to believe more than two weeks have already past since I had not only a day off, but the opportunity to get out camping with Travis.
By the time we got finished with the client that was leaving, and got organized it was already past supper when Travis and I parked at the dump and headed out to our canyon. I swear, either camping equipment has gotten heavier, and the hill over the dump has gotten steeper, or I'm getting farther and farther out of shape. Travis insisted on his own pack, and carried a change of clothes in it, along with runners, and trundled along merrily. As I watched this school Spiderman pack flop around on his back I thought we had better get him a decent kid's pack if we are going to keep doing this.
After pausing at the top of the pass in order to let my heartbeat drop back somewhere below 200 we got on with the hike in. First order of business was fending off the mosquitoes that accompanied us. This is the first summer that I've been up here that the mosquitoes have been bothersome. I'm not going to say they were bad, almost every place else I've lived has had it far worse in terms of biting insects, but the annoyance levels are definitely up this year.
Travis has a keen eye, and a sharp memory. Through out the walk in he constantly pointed out things he was seeing, every spider on his path, hordes of butterflies, and flowers. If he hasn't seen a flower before he'll comment on it, and if he hasn't seen a flower many times he'll mention when and where he saw it before.
This flower that caught our eye, is not new to either of us, but it is an interesting flower. They are like little patio lanterns. It is the Nodding Bladder-campion (Melandrium apetalum). They seem to relish the moister areas and the company of Sudetan Louseworts.
We saw many butterflies, and here are a but a couple who paused long enough for me to get a photo. The first is Polaris Fritillary (Boloria polaris), the second is a female Polaris Fritillary the Dingy Fritillary (Boloria improba).
I was relieved to reach our canyon and get the pack off my back. First order of business was for the two of us to drink deep from the cold, cold stream. After that it was a matter of making supper for the two of us, setting up the tent (field review to follow), and then brewing a pot of freshly ground Kenyan Estate coffee.
After coffee I glassed the canyon and briefly caught a glimpse of the Peregrine flying next to the canyon wall. I had no idea it would be my only glimpse of the trip. Soon we were embroiled in all manner of activities, throwing rocks into the river, stick races in the stream, watching birds sing, and going for a bit of a hike up the hill.
Travis was not in the mood to climb it would seem, and we only made it part way up towards the Peregrine aerie. But one of the things we did see, was the largest wolf spider I've seen up here. This first photo is the best cropping of the best photo of her.
This second one, though is cropped to show Arctic Hare poop to illustrate her size. That pellet of poop is about the size of a marble (as an aside I'm now using Arctic Hare poop as a frame of reference for size: "He caught a char that must have been 67 poops in length." I expect it to challenge the metric system soon).
Once we headed back down to camp we explored a little more down the river, snapping photos and throwing rocks. But Travis announced that he was ready to sleep, even though it was only 9:30pm.
So we turned in, although I knew full well that sleep would not come for me for a few hours, wishing I had brought a book. I laid there, watching my son disappear farther and farther into his sleeping bag, grateful for the opportunity to get out, and spend time out of doors with him.
I soon found it that it wouldn't be much time. About an hour after he climbed into his sleeping bag, a little voice came from inside. "Dad, I want to go home", he hadn't really slept much, was hungry and I think more than anything was missing playing with his friends. So we talked about it a little, I made us something to eat, and we climbed up to near the aerie.
We sat there for a short while, together, and when no sign of either of the falcons came, turned back to camp. I quickly had the tent down , and the pack filled. As he was tired I strapped Travis' pack to mine and with a quick call to Leah on the satellite phone to let her know we were on our way (12:30am) we marched off hand in hand for home.