(click on photos to enlarge)
July brings Karyn and I's 12th wedding anniversary. As we usually do, we headed off with family and friends to central Idaho, the place where we were married 12 years ago. This year we reserved the Elk Creek Campground near Stanley Idaho for the 4th of July weekend, planning to move somewhere else mid-week. The week primarily consisted of hiking and mountain biking, with bird watching, eating, guitar playing, card playing, etc mixed in. Since I returned from a business trip the night before our departure, a day late and with a nasty case of food poisoning, we got a slow start to the weekend. The first day was consumed with relaxation in the great outdoors, interrupted regularly with the swatting of mosquitoes. Good thing we bought a bug tent!
The first active day of the vacation included Karyn hiking with Bonnie up the Boundary creek trail where we took this beautiful photo of the Sawtooth Mountains and Redfish Lake. I chose the mountain bike option and accompanied Doug and Lanette on the Valley Creek/Knapp Creek loop. The next day, I re-rode the Valley Creek/Knapp Creek loop on the tandem with Karyn, while Doug, Lanette, and Bonnie chose a road ride up to Galena pass. On day three Karyn and I and Doug and Lanette hiked up the Iron Creek trail to Goat Lake.
As you can see from the photos this lake has recently thawed. And just to show that we do occasionally take pictures of people, here is the token people picture (from left: Rob (me), Karyn, Lanette, Doug).
One evening we hiked up along a nearby meadow searching out a Great Grey Owl. A book we have reported that there was a nest there 10 years ago. We couldn't find any evidence. Too bad as I have never seen a Great Grey Owl. This brought us to the end of the weekend and half of our party headed for home. Karyn's parents joined us as we moved campsites down to the Salmon River. This brought much fewer mosquitoes and many more birds. It was an excellent move. Many birds frequented our campsite and Ospreys flew by regularly.
For one of our mountain bike rides, we drove up to the Yankee Fork of the Salmon River and rode the West Fork of the Yankee Fork. This was a new trail for us and we didn't know if it was ridable. It was a great trail and a gorgeous ride. Unfortunately about 7 miles in I cut the sidewall of my front tire on some sharp shale. Using some patches, some used packing tape from our backpack, and a energy bar wrapper, we fixed it up the best we could. It was enough to get me out of there without hiking.
This area is an old mining area. On the drive out we discovered this Osprey nest high on an old crane.
In between other activities we continued our bird watching. A couple of weeks ago we discovered two Sandhill Crane chicks with their parents. We went to check on them to see how they were progressing.
From these pictures you can see that they are doing just fine. I couldn't believe how big they were. Two weeks ago you could barely see their heads in the grass. We saw many other pairs of cranes on our rides, but didn't see any other chicks. It might still be early for most of them.
One night Karyn awoke to the sound of a mouse in our van. She sent me down to search for him to get him out. Unsuccessful, and too tired to expend too much effort, I returned to bed. The scurrying continued. Karyn then got up to continue the search. Not able to find the mouse, she banged on the counters and cupboards, trying to scare the mouse out of the van. She opened our slidding cupboards and then slammed them shut. I convinced her to come back to bed. There was a little more scurrying and then silence. Maybe the mouse was scared away? The next day, I open the back doors of the van and see a mouse arm and a leg sticking out of the end of the slidding cupboards. Dead. Apparently the mouse was squeezing into the cupboard at the exact second that Karyn slammed it shut. Murderer! Needless to say the mouse did leave the van and did not come back!
Another great find was this Warbling-Vireo. Her nest was in a bush at the edge of our campsite.
It was as usual a successful week of playing and enjoying the great outdoors. I feel very relaxed and tired from it all.
Birds noted for the week (new life birds in bold): Canada Goose, Mallard, Cinnamon Teal, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Red-naped Sapsucker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Belted Kingfisher, Common Nighthawk, Sandhill Crane, Spotted Sandpiper, Killdeer, Osprey, Red-tailed Hawk, Warbling-Vireo, Grey Jay, American Crow, American Robin, Tree Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Cassin's Finch, Evening Grosbeak, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Western Tanager, Red-winged Blackbird, Brewer's Blackbird. We heard a Great Horned Owl and maybe a Western Screech Owl.
Animals noted for the week: Deer, Elk, Coyote, Bighorn Sheep, Marmot, and many types of rodents.