Ranger Kathryn's Arches

October 8, 2011

Four words that precede adventures

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 6:21 pm
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Descending into Shafer Canyon, a rainbow remnant illuminates the midground butte. We're following that 'road' down, down, down.

I wasn’t feeling like unpacking boxes; they were all in my bedroom and I could do it during the long dark evenings. One day remained before starting work in Canyonlands. As I was at the visitor center pondering what to do, colleague Bill walked in to start his day in the field. Have you any idea how many adventures begin with the words, “Want to come along?”

We spent the day tracking radio-collared bighorn sheep, trying to find fresh poop to pick up for DNA analysis. This current study is trying to determine connectivity among various populations of bighorns in the West, and collecting pellets that are newish and not yet rained on is the means to accomplish that.

Patience, grasshopper. The desert bighorn sheep is difficult to spot.

Soon we were following the short beeps on Bill’s receiver that indicated the presence of a collared animal nearby. Descending the hair-raising dramatic 4WD Shafer Trail switchbacks to get closer to the ewe — and then hiking up washes, across rocky ledges, through damp streambeds on foot — we tracked the beeps. Eventually it was narrowed down to one canyon, where we sat with binoculars. Spotting her was no longer optional, after all that effort.

…To Be Continued… (jump to next post)

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