Saturday, November 21, 2015

the latest trip to the swell

on our way to the swell a few weeks ago, we saw a golden eagle (amongst more common birds) alongside the road. it was a close sighting--definitely the closest we've ever seen one in the wild. then a little further down the road, we saw a dead golden eagle on the side of the road. we pulled over, turned around, and headed back to take a look at it. 

 it was a sad sighting...but also really interesting to see one so up close.

 they are big birds of prey.

 it had a broken wing that was splayed out to the side.

 it had big talons. wah! imagine getting clawed by one of those.

 for scale.

 we made it to the swell and started our hiking and exploring. it was a nice day--coolish and warmish. sometimes you needed a jacket and hat, and sometimes you didn't.

 there were some beautiful golden-leaved trees--not many, but every time you saw one it was a wonderful image. maybe they are cottonwoods?

 and there were plenty of yuccas for us. we love some good yuccas.

 some of the yuccas were very small.

 a look out to the henries.

 it looks like snow almost--but the light color is rock.

 we were surprised at how much water we found. there were lots of pockets of water.

 a neat natural carving into the side of this sandstone.

 a close up.

 one of the biggest water holes in the area. the water was a lovely shade of green.

 a cool series of rocks from several angles.

 i may paint these as a rock study. i want to learn how to paint rocks better.

 s playing. 

 another golden tree.

 we packed some summer sausage, cheese sticks, and rolls. we made sandwiches for our lunch.

 a few years ago for our anniversary, b and i went down to the swell. b found the rock in s's hands to the left and thought it might be a metate (an old native american grinding stone). b wasn't sure if it was or wasn't, but it's something he's thought a lot about since then. about a year ago, we went to antelope island state park's museum, and b saw a metate that looked a like this one from the swell (or so he thought). so he had been itching to come back to see it again and compare it to the one he saw at the museum. when we got to the right spot at the swell, b found it immediately, but it didn't look as metate-like as he had remembered. so, his thought now is that it probably isn't a metate. but it was fun to go back and find it.

 we found some pine nuts around this area, but, unfortunately, they were old and not tasty at all.

 w can climb so high.

 a gnarly old tree.

 a view of the hole at the top of the big cavern in this area of the swell. we had tried to make it to this hole for awhile, and then finally got there. it's funny, because b and i came to this exact spot when we were here a few years ago, and i did not remember it being so steep around the opening. i have to admit, it freaked me out some.

 s did a good job drinking her water on this trip. she drank more than i think she's ever drunk on an outing.

 cool lichen.

water skeeters!

 and their shadows.

 a nice pool of water.

 a big pool of nice water. 

we went to another side canyon that we had never explored before. it got too brambly and narrow--and it was getting late--so we turned around. but we left time for us to look for rocks. one of our favorite things to do in the swell.

 w especially loves looking for rocks.

 a little slot canyon we made it to.

 this so gorgeous. the late afternoon light there is amazing, and then you add in this tree. wah!

 although the sun looks warm here, it was starting to cool off pretty quickly. 

 a little arch i saw.

 i really like this series of pictures.

 when it was almost all shadowy--it really started getting chilly.

 we liked the shadows on the rocks. 

 we finally got within close range to our car. 

 although we were still looking for rocks. by the time i got right next to the car, my hands were so cold that i couldn't unzip and unbutton my pants to pee. finally i managed, but it hurt. cold fingers really don't work well.