Saturday, October 24, 2015


The Paiutes called it Mukuntuweap. It is a park known for its beautiful vistas.  And we were there. Micheal wanted to climb the difficult Angel's Landing and I was looking for....birds:)

Together, we hiked 10 grueling miles that day up a steep and often scary trail:)  It was worth it. 

Lincoln's Sparrow
Along the way, I found cool sparrows like this Lincoln's Sparrow(above).  Sometimes, I would keep my head down on the path because I am not a fan of heights. If you look closely at the pic below, you'll notice the "little dots" climbing up several rock edges! 

Then I had to look down to show you the view from that top spot to give you an idea how steep this hike was! Yes, I got a little vertigo. And why was I doing this crazy hike?  Well to support Micheal of course!:)  Or maybe it was to find a rare California Condor in Utah?  I get my priorities mixed up sometimes:)

But hey, you only live once so make the most of it.  We had a great time climbing to the top. 

Plateau Lizard
There were SO MANY people at the park that it was difficult at times safely crossing narrow paths without bumping someone.  But it was at the top where my birding adventures began......

There was a Park Ranger at the top doing a Condor presentation for the folks.  I spoke with him one-on-one about the details of the nesting pair of Condors at this national park.  So far, it has not been successful because of the lead poisoning.  In fact, the two Condors who had the chick a couple years ago both have passed away.  So I was a bit bummed. He had seen a condor about two weeks ago but there weren't any sightings since that time.  Did I hike for nothing?:)  I watched him present to a couple French tourists before moving to another location on the cliff.  There I sat in the shade watching the skies. I was not giving up.  

And then it happened!  I saw a large bird swing from out of nowhere next to a cliff!  I made out the ID tag as J6 and watched for awhile.  There was a group sitting around me and I quickly got their attention on the bird in the sky.  One of the tourists asked me about the tag on the wings and before I knew it, I was "acting" park ranger!  Someday I will wear that awesome cap and uniform. Anyhow, I saw that the Park Ranger hadn't seen the bird so I carefully ran along the cliff to get his attention.  

Everyone at his presentation was super excited to see the bird and before I knew it, there were click click clicks.  I gave the ID to the ranger knowing he'd probably know the condor's info.  When I did, he said to me, "How in the world???!!!"  I'm a serious birder and this is a cool bird:)  He told us all that the 6 year old condor was a female who had been released into the wild during the 2011 year.  I believe this bird also laid a egg in the wild but it never hatched.   

So after a successful hike and bird find, it was time to find the American Dipper hanging out along the river of the Mukuntuweap lands. We watched couples along the river help one another cross the rocky river. 

Rock Squirrel
It took us another 2 miles of a walk to locate the bird, but when we did, it was amazing.  We had very satisfying views of the Dipper doing what Dippers do best......hopping and swimming around the rocks. 

By the time we had found the dipper, the light in the canyon had already begun to diminish. 

It was a fantastic trek discovering these beautiful canyons of Southern Utah. 

I can see why the Paiute Indians made this place home.  Our adventures into rock and canyon continue.  Until next time friends....


  1. Wonderful post Chris with great photos. Well done on the Condor sighting :)

    Beautiful landscapes - I don't like heights either so would have really struggled with the trek to the top!

  2. Awesome post Mr. Chris! Nice job on the dipper!

  3. Congrat on the Condor sighting! Well done, Ranger Chris!

  4. Yes I am feeling that being a Park Ranger could fit you for the hours off duty...

  5. FANTASTIC!!! Love the views, the condor sighting and the dipper! Awesome!!!!

  6. Amazing scenery and wonderful wildlife, Chris. Well done on the Condor and Dipper!

    Best wishes - - - Richard

  7. It's a gorgeous place! I'm not sure I would have been brave enough to climb the trail though.

  8. So sorry to hear your sad news, Chris! Thanks for your comments. I know you have a ot going on right now....Congrats again on the marriage!

  9. Hello Chris!:) It's simply magnificent scenery, and the views stunning. I'm glad you saw the Condor, and took such a good shot of it. The sweet sparrow is unlike any I know. Great post Chris, with lovely nature captures. I'm so sorry you have had sad news!

  10. I am impressed. Have no desire for this trail. Yet good on you to "support" Michael while looking for condors. And what an awesome sighting Ranger Chris. Seems many parks are crowded.

  11. What fun. I could never do that hike! Great pics. You know I love Dippers!


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