Ranger Kathryn's Arches

April 8, 2013

A good-looking neighbor

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 9:38 am
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Sun's final rays illuminate the sandstone of Dead Horse Point State Park, UT.

Sun’s final rays illuminate the sandstone of Dead Horse Point State Park, UT.

Only ten minutes of daylight remain, so we sprint from the car to the overlook with our cameras and our willingness to be impressed. Even so, the view into the canyon stops us in our tracks. There is no river vista quite as expansive as that at Dead Horse Point State Park, next-door-neighbor to Canyonlands. Eons of erosion have dismantled rock, grain by grain, leaving this tapestry of sandstone guarding the miniaturized Colorado River 2000 feet below.

August 21, 2010

Prairie Sunflowers by the trillions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 9:37 pm
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millions? billions? trillions?

I hadn’t been up to the Canyonlands mesa in eight days — eight days with a LOT of rain in them. As my car topped the rise by Dead Horse Point State Park I came upon a sight that made me gasp; in field upon field upon field, as far as my eyes could see, Prairie Sunflowers clogged the landscape. Their heads all faced the sun, as Helianthus species are wont to do, and I had to pull over to take it all in. Locals have never seen anything like it. Neither have I.


This field is usually green, not yellow

July 29, 2010

Venomous creatures

Nearly stepped on him. 1.5 inches long.

I was walking back to my room from the bathroom at about 11 pm, barefoot, a distance of about three feet, when my eye caught something on the carpet. A small scorpion was just sitting there. They are nocturnal creatures, never seen in daylight, and perhaps this one had just woken up. After photographing him with Barbie for scale, I caught him under a Tupperware and slid a birthday card underneath to secure him. It’s the third one we’ve captured in our trailer this summer, and the long-timers are wondering why so many this year. Of course, if you ask previous inhabitants of this particular abode, nicknames like “Scorpion Den” surface frequently; must be something here, like water drips underneath the trailer that attract them…

We’re still working on a definitive ID for this species, but several here believe it may be a bark scorpion, the smallest and most venomous of our five species. “A strong bee sting” is how local scorpion stings are described; however, you’re sick for 48 hours with a bark scorpion sting. Children and elderly folks can land in the hospital. They’re the most common kind found in houses, and it’s the right size, but the jury is still out. And, no, the park service does not spray the housing…

A beautiful gopher snake. Non-venomous.

Midget Faded Rattlesnake.

A ranger from Dead Horse Point State Park came over the other day to work a shift here. I went into the freezer to get an Icy Pop on a break, and found a paper shopping bag full of dead reptiles. Yes. I did. She reports that they are specimens collected dead in their park and preserved for posterity (and ranger talks) in the freezer. A show-stopper, that’s what they were, out on our front porch…

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