Saturday, March 31, 2012

Last Hike in March - Part One

 We met up with our friends Anna and Evan at a yard sale this morning and decided to go for a picnic and hike. We collected a few picnic items, then headed down a back road. It was windy today, so when we found a rocky area down by the stream and somewhat protected from the wind, we decided to take advantage of it.

The only problem was that the stream was so attractive to the kids, it was hard to get them to sit still to eat! It was a really cool section, with water cascading down a rocky gorge.

 Who knew we had such a fun mini-canyon? The pool above was about three feet deep at one end--deep enough that we'll have to come back and test it out this summer. Hopefully there will still be water!

 We all had fun negotiating the rocks and trying to keep our feet dry.

 I noticed a spot of color, some desert Indian paintbrush. The red really brightened the landscape.

 This flower was fairly inconspicuous, a yellow member of the Mustard Family.

 Anna found a couple caddisfly larvae, with sand casings. It was neat watching them crawl around, with their houses on their backs.

 Evan and Desert Boy wanted to keep going down the stream, but we decided we wanted to keep our feet dry so we could go hike up a hill on the other side of the road. But we'll be back, when it's warmer and we want to get wet!

We probably never would have explored this area if the kids weren't with us. It's nice to slow down and enjoy these overlooked special places.

Coming next...the hike on the other side of the road...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Apricot Blossoms

 We have a couple apricot trees just covered with blossoms. They are beautiful and smell so good.

We'll have to see  if they survive the predicted snowstorm this weekend. The last two years we've lost most of the apricots due to early freezes. It sure would be nice to get some apricots this year!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stunt Riding

Jenny and I took the kids for a little bike riding adventure last week. We went to this little terrain park that features small dirt hills. We figured it would be a good challenge for our four-year olds.

Going down the hill was exciting.

Apparently going across the mostly flat bottom was a good opportunity for sticking out your tongue!

Going up the hill on one side was a bit challenging, and the kids always had to walk their bikes up that hill. Even though it doesn't look big, it turned out to be a good workout.

We wanted to get everyone lined up to go at the same time, but it never seemed to work out.

More waiting to go at the same time. Desert Girl thought it was a blast and kept saying, "Again. Again."

It was a fun place to go.

Jenny and I liked that we were able to get a workout!

Finally Ava and Jenny were able to ride at the same time.

Up the near hill!

Way to go! We'll definitely be going back. And before long, we may be looking for some real mountain bike trails.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bone Canyon and a Couple Surprises

 This afternoon Desert Boy really wanted to go to Bone Canyon. That's the canyon we went to in January that left such an impression and resulted in Henryosaurus. So off we went, with a big bucket so we could collect LOTS of bones.

 It was a windy, warm afternoon, so we didn't even need jackets. This time Desert Girl had to do lots more of the hiking. She's getting stronger.

 It didn't take long to start finding bones. You can see Desert Boy was in the right mood with the shirt he was wearing!

 What would you create out of these bones?

I really liked this backbone, but it looked a little too fresh. We decided no fresh--or even slightly fresh--bones today. I think that's a good policy.

 While I was up on the rocks looking for fun camera angles, I noticed a flash of color. My first native wildflower for the year! I was so excited! What is it? I still need to look it up!

 We continued up higher, Desert Girl enjoying the rocks.

 The kids were good, even though we forgot the snacks.

 I had thought we might just go a little way into Bone Canyon and turn around, but we were having such a good time that we kept going up and up.

Like Desert Girl's hair? Her babysitter can do amazing things with it!

 Finally we reached the (almost) top. It was really windy.

 I enjoyed the views. The desert still looks really brown.

But under a bush I found a bright spot of color: a little twinpod (or bladderpod), a member of the mustard family.

 We didn't go all the way to the top because Desert Boy spotted a cave and wanted to investigate. So we headed over. Even Henry came to check it out.

 Desert Boy thinks it looks pretty cool.

 Desert Girl is ready to explore.

Alas, the cave only went back about eight feet, so it didn't take long to see it all.

 More views of the basin and nearby town.

 Since I had been taking all the photos, I asked my husband to take one of me and the kids.

I had to explain what this was to Desert Boy, as he didn't know what a snakeskin out in the wild looked like. We didn't see any snakes or lizards out on our hike, although they have been spotted already this year.

We continued down the canyon, and I saw that it narrowed considerably. It also looked quite steep. I was a bit concerned as we had two young kids with us.

Sure enough, it got to a point where we couldn't continue--unless we had a rope!
Fortunately we were able to back track and find another way down.

This is the bottom of the drop. Someday we'll have to go back and do a through canyoneering trip!

Our adventure wasn't quite over yet. Just down the rocks we saw another opening.
 Another cave! It went back a little farther, but not far enough to need a flashlight.

It was cool looking out the entrance.

Right in the entrance was the biggest active packrat nest I've ever seen. It was kind of cool, with all sorts of bones mixed in with the branches.

So we all went home happy after a fun adventure. Another day we'll have to sort out our bucket of bones and see what creature we come up with!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dress Up Time

It's time for a silly, light-hearted post to put a smile on your face (especially if you've been following the water news the last couple of days related to the Southern Nevada pipeline).

 We have a dress up box, and the other day Desert Boy decided to try out some new duds. Then he sang.
He is good at making noise, and he was quite enamored with his new look and voice. He called me to observe.

 He said he was a professor. I never did figure out what he was a professor of. I don't think that part mattered.

 Desert Girl sometimes dresses up, too, but this day she just wanted to have her photo taken while she was in her regular clothes.

 Desert Boy continued his act. I'm glad there are theatrical opportunities for him out here in the desert, as he sure likes to role play! Hopefully he will get early intervention to improve his singing voice so he doesn't end up like his mother and father, who when they start singing, people can't get ear plugs in fast enough.

 Ah, yes, one more photo.

But then it's time to change. What will come out of the costume box next?
Why, it's Super Desert Hero to the rescue!

Stay tuned for the next adventure...
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