Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wildlife in Zion

As we neared Zion National Park last week, at night, I mentioned to my husband that we should probably watch for deer. He was thinking the same thing. A couple of curves in the road later, there was a deer with huge antlers standing on the side of the road. We carefully, and slowly tried to drive past him. But, he decided to run alongside us instead. As he did, we kept wondering what he was going to do next...dart in front of us, or ? Luckily, he eventually decided to head back into the woods. That was just the beginning of a "wild" week.

We saw more deer last week than we've ever seen anywhere. It was amazing! They were crossing the roads...

Walking alongside roads...

They were walking along trails, and they were getting lots of lots of photos taken of them. Click on this picture to get a better view of this deer's antlers!...

We even saw some of them snorting and fighting in the woods. This one ran right toward me and then quickly made a left turn back into the woods. Whew!

They looked very healthy. Their fur looked great and they looked like they've been eating very well...

And, some were very fluffy. Click on this photo to enlarge it and see how fluffy their ears are...So cute!

We even saw deer tracks on our hikes...

There were two days that we went through the Zion Mount Carmel Tunnel to hike in some of the higher elevations of Zion. Up there, we were lucky enough to see Bighorn Sheep. They were hanging out near the first two parking areas on both days. Another Zion visitor told us that he had talked with a ranger that week who told him the Bighorn Sheep were recently re-introduced to the area and that there are very few in the park. So, the ones we were watching were very rare and could have been the only ones in the park.

On the first day, there was a small herd that wanted to cross the road. Unfortunately, for them, there were people standing around watching and taking their pictures. That made it a little scary for them. But, it sure was great for all of us to be able to see them.

Eventually, they all decided to make a run for it but only one was brave enough to cross all the way...

The others ran back up on the rocks and kept looking at us, the road, and the other side.

And, they stared across the road at the brave one who made it...

Here he is, staring back at them and probably wondering why he's on that side and they aren't...

They wandered around for a while and eventually seemed to relax a little.

They grabbed some snacks along the way...

They're looking pretty healthy too!

This one settled down on a rock above the parking area and chewed. If you click to enlarge the picture, you can see the lump of food in it's cheek...

At the end of both afternoons that we saw them, they stood at the top of a rock hill with the light behind them. That made for some great silhouettes...

Late afternoon and evening brought out another kind of wildlife in the park...Turkeys! They were eating alongside the road. There were about 14 in this group. They all looked like hens until we got a little closer and one puffed up his feathers. It's Tom! I guess he did that to look big and scary to protect his girls. It worked...I wasn't about to go near him. He was huge!

The hens were kind of pretty.

Tom, on the other hand, has beautiful feathers but he sure lacks good looks on his head! Eeeek!

It sure was cool to see them. I had just seen a wild Tom Turkey on another blog the week before our trip and was amazed. Now, I've seen some in real life.

The only other wildlife we saw was a few birds, a couple of bees, and some tiny fish. We think most of the birds must have left for the Winter. The lizards, snakes, squirrels and all the rest must have started hibernating.

Come back tomorrow for more pictures and stories from our Thanksgiving week in Zion.

Thanksgiving in Zion

We did it! We finally got away over Thanksgiving weekend! We've been thinking of doing that for years and finally made it happen. We were lucky enough to find an available campsite to reserve in Zion National Park. It even had electric hook-ups. We packed our trailer, hitched up, and headed out early Tuesday morning for our five night/six day Utah adventure! Woo hoo!

We arrived just before 9:00 p.m. and set up in the dark. What a beautiful night! It was crispy cold, there were zillions of stars, and the Autumn leaves were gently falling like snow. So pretty! But...that was just the start. The next morning, we opened the window shade by our bed and saw this...

What an awesome view into Zion Canyon and the trees were bright yellow. So pretty!

What a great campsite! Those towering rocks and beautiful Fall colors were all around us and the ground was covered in leaves. Wonderful!

We went for morning walks and soaked up the beauty all around us.

The Virgin River flowed alongside the campground. The sound of the water with the leaves blowing in the breeze was soothing and peaceful. On the other side of the river were a few cottages and inns. Behind one of them was a chair, sitting next to the water. What a wonderful place to sit! I can imagine spending hours and hours there relaxing and knitting.

The night time temperatures were pretty cold. We were very glad we had electric hook ups so we could use the heater in our trailer to stay toasty warm. A couple of mornings were frosty. We get frost at home but we don't have leaves on the ground. The combination was so pretty...even magical!

This is frost on a fence along the river. The crystals are so big!

It looks fuzzy.

The night time temps got down into the teens. However, the daytime temps were pretty nice, 50's to 60's. It was sunny most of the week with just a few clouds floating through. It was perfect for hiking. One of the afternoons was in the mid 60's and perfect for sitting outside, relaxing, reading, and knitting.

Then, there were the incredible sunsets that I love so much in Zion.

The colors are so intense and amazing!

Zion is one of my favorite places to visit. Up until now, I had only been there in the summer...which is incredibly fun!...but, combined with the fall colors, lots of wildlife, and temps that allowed for hikes we can't do during the summer, it made for a totally different experience. To say that it was amazing and beautiful would be an understatement. I took over 500 photos and couldn't capture it. But, I did my best. I've been sorting through them and plan to share more over the next few days. I hope you'll come back. :-)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I finished my shawl! My doggy, Salsa, approves.

My husband and I escaped to the beach in Carlsbad (San Diego) for the weekend. I finished it while we were there and spread it out on our RV sofa to get a good look at it and take a couple of pictures. Salsa has her new jacket on because it was pretty chilly that day.

I found the pattern on Ravelry. It's called "Country Cotton Shawl". It's free from Lion Brand. I used a size "H" crochet hook and five skeins of "Serenity Garden" yarn to make it. It turned out really big, just as I had hoped.

The yarn is synthetic but it feels really soft...kind of like bamboo and/or cotton. The shawl drapes really well and it has a nice weight to it. I really like it.

It's one more shawl for my growing collection. This one will go with so many things because of all the colors in it.

I like to wear my shawls in different ways, depending on how I feel, the weather, and what I'm wearing it with. Sometimes I even use a shawl pin.

The shell edges in the pattern were a little flat. So, I made some adjustments to give mine a little more shape. Instead of five double crochets, I did three double crochets, a treble, and three double crochets, for a total of seven stitches in each one. This made them fuller and taller/more round. This is the first time I've crocheted an edge all the way around a shawl. Usually, I just do the bottom two sides. It wasn't fun figuring out the spacing on the top edge, but I do love having that cute little scallop all the way around.

I enjoyed every inch of color that slipped through my fingers as I stitched this shawl. Color makes me happy!

The beach makes me happy too. Although, it was a bit chilly and stormy when we got there.

But, Saturday was beautiful! The sun was shining most of the day and we even had a beautiful sunset. More color!

P.S. Thank you to everyone who left such nice comments on my last post about being happy. I truly appreciate every one of them. It means a lot to me and helps to cheer me up. If I didn't write back to you with an email, it was because there was a "no reply" on your comment and no email address to write back. But, please know that I really appreciate you taking time to leave me a message and for your kind words and thoughts. :-)