An Awkward Encounter With A Porcupine and Some Odds and Ends: Glen Canyon and Blowhard Mountain

I found a few other pictures that may provide a bit more context for the Antelope Canyon trip at Glen Canyon. They mainly help demonstrate just how big and beautiful everything is. There are a lot more pictures and I talk a bit more about this adventure in one of my previous posts.

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This and the next three photos were taken by Sonya Smith.

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This morning I read a paragraph in Edward Abbey that really brought home how I feel about the Glen Canyon Damming:

Once it was different there. I know, for I was one of the lucky few (there could have been thousands more) who saw Glen Canyon before it was drowned. In fact I saw only a part of it but enough to realize that here was an Eden, a portion of the earth’s original paradise. To grasp the nature of the crime that was committed imagine the Taj Mahal or Chartres Cathedral buried in mud until only the spires remain visible. With this difference: those man-made celebrations of human aspiration could conceivably be reconstructed while Glen Canyon was a living thing, irreplaceable, which can never be recovered through any human agency. (Down The River, Desert Solitaire)

Ok, on to the awkward encounter with the porcupine. DSCN1414 There is a rigorous mountain bike trail just outside the Cedar Breaks boundary and into the Dixie National Forest called Blowhard Trail. It’s on Blowhard Mountain. It’s not well maintained. There are huge trees that lay across the narrow path, which eventually teeters out of existence once you get through the highland sheep meadows. I like this trail. It’s ten miles one direction and descends 3,300 feet in elevation (so from over 10,000 ft to something in the mid 6,000’s). At the turn around point, then, you climb 3,300 feet back up. I always end up doing this very rigorous portion in the dark. It always takes longer than I think and always gets my heart rate soaring. I decided to hike it one night last week after work to get myself lost and tangled in the changing colors of the Aspens. Here are some pics I have taken over the course of the summer on this trail.

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On my way back up, as the sun was going down I just about walked right into the porcupine pictured above. He was sitting in the middle of the trail and, like my encounter the week previous, I thought he was merely a bush or some brush on the trail. I realized the error and stopped dead in my tracks about 5 feet shy of him. He stared back at me, both of us in awe of the other. It seemed that neither of us had run into the other’s species before and were therefore both unsure of what the protocol was for such an encounter. After looking at each other for a confused minute he slowly took it upon himself to climb the near-by tree.

All ended well between us. I am confident we made friends. The deer of this trail on the other hand? Well let’s just say they are scared of their own shadows. They are everywhere. Probably the biggest danger on this trail is having one accidentally run into you. Then again, even breaking a stick under your feet will send them running in the other direction. A lot of deer; that’s all I’m saying.

Speaking of friends. I have a new co-worker. When I work the fee booth he comes in through the window from time to time while I am reading my book to remind me that I am still on the job and that he very well could do a better job than I. Fair enough, but I caught him taking a shower and feel that since he was doing it in public, I have every right to broadcast him to the world.

One of the things that separates him from his almost identical chipmunk companion is the stripes. While the chipmunk’s stripe continues from his body all the way around the eyes, you will see that this ground squirrel’s stripes stop right before the neck.

I suppose it is now time to move on to the next adventure of the day: dog sitting.

More to come. There always is.

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