I awoke this morning to the fantastic view through the curved window at my head. Ponderosa Pines were silhouetted against the sky as it began to lighten. The newly risen moon was hanging behind the tree tops above several lines of pale yellow clouds that gradually turned pale pink.
I call myself a tree hugger and here are some of the reasons why. These immense Ponderosa pines are so beautiful they almost make me weep. There was also morning bird song for the first time in the trip. Birds have been amazingly absent in many places. However we have seen some new life list birds for both of us:
Spotted owl (heard not seen)
Dark Eyed Junco – gray headed Rocky Mountain race
Broad Tailed hummingbird
We have also seen some old friends among the western birds and ones that are familiar from home:
Red Shafted race of the Common Flicker
Black Billed Magpie
White Breasted Nuthatch
Purple Martins (not really everywhere, We saw these in Wichita at Nephew S's home. It was a real treat as I have not seen any in years)
Red Tailed Hawks
This morning the Robins started in singing, then a Flicker called and drummed. A bird with a trill followed by a couple of more clear notes has been calling all morning. Flocks of swallows also fly at treetop level both early in the morning and in the evening. They have bright white breasts and dark wings and tails and no other markings that I can see, so I will guess that they are Tree Swallows. The Stellars Jays are numerous and vocal.
Later in the day as we were sitting in the lawn chairs, one of the cutest animals I have ever seen boldly moved across the grass and jumped up on the picnic table. This squirrel had such large tufts of hair on his ears that they were almost the height of rabbit ears, he was gray with a brown back and white undersides including the underside of his very large bushy tail.
We have had very good luck so far with the truck and trailer – but today DH walked around White One and discovered a flat tire. What an ordeal, no nails just a leak, no idea where or when it happened. Thank goodness we made it into the campground and did not get stuck on the six mile access road. Once the tire was changed DH broke out the compressor and the generator to find the leak.
We are learning that the wind blows all the time during the spring in the west. The tree tops are really dancing in the wind but today there are only comfortable breezes at ground level with, a few gusts. We are dusty and dirty but who cares it is camping and there are NO sounds of other humans or of human machinery. All is quiet except the wind in the trees and the calls of the birds. The warmth has finally arrived today after the very cool spring weather we have been having.
For those of you interested in the solar on the Silver Dog House it is really putting out the Amps. The batteries are at 100%. For those of you who know what it means the battery is at 13.3 Volts (DH says 13.1 is good) and the panels are charging at 3.4 Amps. When I charge the laptop off the trailer batteries it draws down to about 75% but returns to 100% very quickly. Of course I can plug the many electronics we are carrying into the truck while we are on the road.
We are on open range here and although there seem to be fences and cattle guards between us and the herds there is a rather large red bull right here in the center of the campground enjoying the very fine very short fresh green spring grass.
It is very dry and between the wind and low rain fall the fire danger is very high. The ground is dry as a bone and very dusty. Everything is covered with a thick coating of grit. Yesterday we had the relief of fairly low winds. Today the wind started blowing after full sun up and continued to increase most of the day. It got really warm in the middle of the day but the temperature has dropped and I think it will be cold again tonight.