I turned my back and the curious mamrmot was chewing on my Lowepro pack straps to supplement his diet with salt:)
Burrowing Owl Chicks in Early Morning Light. Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR, CO
Just stumbling upon this image made me smile today, so I thought I’d share it here. During the frenzied activity of a prairie summer, one can expect to see burrowing owl chicks popping from prairie dog burrows in mid to late June. I made this image of burrowing owl chicks from a portable blind just after sunrise on a June, 2005 morning. The yawning chick expressed my thoughts perfectly.
As another wimpy winter winds down, I’m feeling nostalgic for a full-on snow season.
“As I looked about me I felt that the grass was the country as the water is the sea… There was so much motion in it, the whole country seemed somehow to be running.”
At Everest Base Camp with our guide, Lhakpa and assistant guide.
“I was older then, I’m younger than that now.” Bob Dylan
In 2002, Americans weren’t traveling much while the U.S. was still reeling from 9-11. Nepal was in civil war. The government had a tenuous hold on power as Maoists controlled the sparsely populated countrysides where tourists like to go trekking. But my wife, Marla likes to say “do it now, while you can” and we traveled halfway around the world to go trekking in the Everest region. Our trek lasted 16 days and took us over 18,000 feet three times; at Gokyo Ri, Cho-la Pass, and Kala Pattar. Gorak Shep sits below Kala Pattar, a round mound standing 5,545 meters in a sea of giant peaks that offers a classically awesome view of Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse. We stayed one night at Gorak Shep, where we were out of breath just from rolling over in our tent. And although Everest base camp wasn’t on our itinerary, Marla convinced our guide to take us there, just a few kilometers up the trail at 17,600′. Other than a rock table, there were no signs of the temporary climbing village constructed on the glacier during peak climbing season in May. Just a beautiful glacier of whitish-grey stone below the Khumbu Icefall and the biggest mountains in the world. This picture takes me right back to that trek, the most ambitious of our travels, and reminds me how “do it now, while we can” holds meaning in our daily lives and our adventure life.
Common nighthawk roosting on fencepost. Pawnee National Grassland, CO
While working on my Prairie Thunder book in 2006, I visited the Pawnee Grassland on a particularly hot July day. I made a lot of these missions for the project where I’d leave home in the afternoon and blast up to the Pawnee until sunset, then make the long drive home in absolute darkness. With the thermometer pushing near 100 degrees, this nighthawk roosted on a fencepost, waiting for darkness when insects come out. A member of the goatsucker family, nighthawks have wide mouths to help them snare insects in flight. Listen for their nasally peeent call at dusk and marvel at their ability to instantly change direction in mid-air. I’ve long wondered about the term “goatsucker”, so I looked it up using the Google box. Oxford says the origin began with the European nightjar: early 17th century: so named because the bird was thought to suck goats’ udders. Thanks Oxford, I’ll probably have a nightmare about this.