Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Desert Is So Vast - Part 2

I have found out since I posted the first part of this blog, that the butte LC and I were wandering on during this trip is now called The Table Top but at one time used to be called Rattlesnake Butte.
For a woman who is a lover of animals I cringe at the thought of these slithering, rattling, toxic beasts.
I have only seen two on BLM land in all my time in the west.
One sighting was during a trail run the first time we were in Wyoming.  As I slowly made my way up a dry and dusty trail close to the house - struggling in the searing, unshaded heat of mid-summer - I raised my head and saw something lying on the side of the trail just up ahead of me.
I had barely enough time to think the words "is that a snake?" before I heard the rattle.
Oh yeah.
And he was as unhappy with my presence as I was with his.
I was carrying neither my gun nor my camera at the time, stupidly gave him a wide berth (that in retrospect I think was probably not wide enough) and continued on with my run.
I didn't venture onto BLM land again for the rest of the summer.
The second time I saw a snake was when LC and I were driving out on BLM land at McCullough Peaks, in search of the wild horses.
One moment we were chugging slowly along a dusty trail, and the next moment LC had slammed on the brakes, climbed out of the truck and I was hearing a shot.
The slithering nasty was already dead before I made it to the back of the truck.
There are rattlesnakes out here as well.  On the buttes.  Hidden in the sage bushes and the tall brown, sun-scorched grasses of Idaho BLM land.
We are always watchful and thankfully did not see any (or hear any) on this day.  But I will be glad when the nasties go back to wherever it is that they go when it's cold outside.
No cacti in the Snake River Plain.  But many ant colonies..................
Aside from the views of forever that we saw from the top of the butte, the thing I enjoyed more than any other was the colorful fungi.
Attached to rocks and sage brush branches, there were colors that we had not seen in Wyoming.
Bright green.  Bright yellow.  Bright orange.  Combinations of all three.
Sections covered with fungi were larger than the small patches I was so used to seeing in our (now) neighboring state.
A world of blue sky (and endless shades of brown and grey), but with unexpected touches of bright color.
And in fact the quiet, steady, loving, accepting, unwavering companionship of LC was what I enjoyed more than anything else.  Forever views and colorful fungi were further down the list ............
The top of Big Butte barely visible from our vantage point a good ways from the truck.................
Part of town.  The weather is beginning to cool and the sky is beginning to clear, and the view of the mountains is beginning to become sharper.................
These pictures were taken at the highest point on the butte.
My Mountain Boy and I bush whacked up the hill and, out of breath, sat on the rocks looking in all directions for a long time.
Pleased to be where we were at that moment, and pleased that we had seen no beasts of any kind including the two legged and the slithering kinds, and disappointed that we had not thought to bring water with us.
The water was "down there" - down a steep hill and at the end of a trail, and likely no longer cold after sitting in the truck for a long time......................
More information about the Snake River Plain:
It doesn't like much from the dirt road that leads up to the butte in one direction and back to the road leading to our house in the other direction.
We had no idea that our small adventure would be such a nice adventure.
Hills, trails, epic views, a wide array of plant life.
A quiet commune with each other and with nature.
It was an unexpectedly good trip................
I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams...............Antoine de Saint Exupery

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