We left this morning for Los Angeles, and thanks to my dad for alerting us to a terrible 20-vehicle wreck on I-10 we headed west to Ajo. We drove though viscious wind and thick dust but little traffic. Long day!
We just returned from our first ConserVentures Sonoran Safari to El Aribabi Conservation Ranch in northern Sonora, Mexico. Six travelers from Oklahoma, central California, and northern Arizona joined us to explore the backcountry of the Sierra Madrean foothills and learn about jaguar and ocelot conservation on this spectacular ranch owned by the wonderful Robles family.
Every morning two groups of quail visit for seed and water - usually the Gambel's come first, right after dawn. After sunrise, the scaled quail fly in from the east, almost always. These are the "scalies" - you can see the lovely pattern on their breasts.
One of our Harris ground squirrels has been enjoying the decorative coyote melons I found in a nearby tree and had scattered around the porch perimeter . . . this one cleaned out one of the gourds over the course of an hour, leaving a lovely little mess on the porch!
No, not the kind from the sky . . . the desert broom (Baccharis sarothroides) is sending out its fluffy seeds, filling the wash with snowy clouds each time a breeze gives the plants a shake. These are among my favorite native plants - they are colonizers of disturbed areas, and their blooms, in September and October, are incredibly attractive to nectivores - wasps, bees, butterflies - I've counted over 2 dozen species in just a jew minutes' observation at a desert broom in bloom.
I finally could stand the dust and cobwebs on my desk / workbench no longer. Had fun going through the many little items I add to the "still life" scenes amidst lapidary and metalsmith tools. An organized but compulsive packrat. Stones from the Skeleton Coast; a nest from Alberta; sprigs of wild African lavender from Kenya; a plaster cast of a mountain lion print from the Baboquivari Mountains; coral from the Caribbean; quartz from Mexico; and topaz from Ethiopia ... All remind me of a trip or experience.
On our walk this morning found these nice lion tracks on the road to Stevens Mountain. A small female, most likely. We are curious to see if both our incautious little white-tail fawns are still around.
We are just now crossing the border at Nogales after a great 3 days working at Rancho Aribabi, as an Overland Society volunteer project. We will post more pictures soon. It was a fun trip - stunning landscape, great people, good cause. What more could we want?
After just a week of getting settled home (well, semi-settled), Jonathan and I are spending a few days at Rancho Aribabi, Sonora, Mexico on a volunteer work trip with Overland Society and Sky Island Alliance. A cold front moved in last night with 40+mph winds and now it's cold - in the 50s, with a biting wind. We hope it clears up and warms up!
. . . At Crow's Nest Pass resort, where we are giving a conservation communication workshop. It has been snowing and socked in pretty thick so we have not seen the area, which is a pretty dramatic part of the Rockies. The workshop is going well so far.
Crossed the beautiful Missouri River at Cascade, MT, and headed into the backcountry to visit a private ranch and logging camp at the invitation of friend and Overland Journal subscriber Doug M. As you can see we hit an early winter storm. Even the Montanans were griping! Set a new record low for the date -- even the trees had no time for fall colors. We enjoyed Doug's hospitality, including lamb tacos (fresh from the ranch) and chocolate and bourbon to keep us warm. This morning the rear doors on the Jeep are frozen shut.
Jonathan and I left this morning for Crowsnest, Alberta, where we are teaching a conservation communications workshop for the Alberta Conservation Alliance. En route through central Arizona we met up with Graham Jackson of Overland Training. Here is Jonathan and Graham in front of the 2 Overland Journal Jeeps, on loan from Chrysler. Graham's "Overland Edition" debuted at Overland Expo.2009. Our version is the magazine's longterm test to showcase an "out of the showroom ready to overland" model. We will return via Wyoming for some backroads exploration. -- Posted from my iPhone