|Until this unseasonably warm day in December.|
|Sandstone walls rise steeply. A long view up the canyon beckons.|
|Graupel in a strange formation|
|What happend to the mourning cloak?|
Do you carry binoculars? If you don’t and are still trapped in the lightweight mentality like I was for so many years, I’m sorry. Maybe give it a try and you’ll see.
|Scanning the landscape with binoculars and reading the guide to the area.|
But there is a rock that looks like a goat! A goat-rock! I haven’t seen a goat-rock since I left Montana. I watch for a while. It doesn’t move. I scan around with my binoculars, then focus back on the goat-rock, just to check. Still not moving.
I learned about goat-rocks while doing mountain goat surveys in Glacier National Park for their citizen science program. Goat-rocks are rocks that look like mountain goats but don’t move and can’t be counted in your survey (because they aren’t really goats.) But sometimes you can stare at them for a long time and they suddenly start moving around and you realize they are really rock-goats, which are real mountain goats that look like rocks. You get to count those on your survey form which is nice because it’s fun to count things.
|An arch near the mouth of the canyon.|
Continuing down-canyon, scanning the cliffs with binoculars finally reveals a few Ancestral Puebloan sites tucked away. This week, I’ve been reading articles and a book about the Sand Canyon Archeological project. The section on "macrobotanical remains" details the plants and trees used at each site-- so you can find out what what tree species were used as roof timbers (tree-home links being of utmost interst!). The more I learn about the archeological methods that give insights about the everyday lives of these people and how they interacted with people from the other areas around here, the more questions arise and the more I wonder.
|Scanning each layer of rock|
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument