Friday, October 27, 2017

Cookie Cutter Petroglyphs

Some of the coolest rock art I've seen close to home
I'm always on the hunt to find new and secret rock art panels in southern Utah. A couple of years ago I saw a website with some really unique petroglyphs that were called "the cookie cutter petroglyphs". The location of the rock art appeared to be nearby (within an hour) and so I started to gather information from the web and google earth to see if I could find a logical and easy route to the panels.

Steve and I tried a couple of times to find a safe route to the area where they were located (we tracked that down via various blogs and gps waypoints) but we always got turned around by bad/dangerous roads.

Google Earth has really improved over the past years -- and finally, FINALLY, we thought we might see a viable route to the edge of the cliff where these cool carvings resided. So off we went, with a shovel and tow rope. And a super sketchy map.

Finding what you set out to find is like being a little kid all over again -- I was so giddy and excited! We found our treasure.

big, deep cuts create an amazing work of art

We've been searching for these glyphs for a looong time now. Yay!

This was my favorite panel because it seemed to have such a deliberate message. What do you think it means?
The cookie cutter panel is located out near Colorado City, AZ on the border of Utah. The fun part is the hunt -- and I'm confident if I can find it, so can you! :)

Have fun and be safe out there.

Sidestep Canyon: A secret hike to another planet

One of the most remote, weird, and amazing places I've ever been to
Welcome to weird southern Utah. And hello, Sidestep Canyon!

Sidestep Canyon doesn't sound like the most amazing place in the world, but I'm going to let you in on a little secret: IT IS!

Giant colorful biscuits
 If you are looking for an all-day adventure that has no crowds (I'm fairly certain you won't see another human being), no fees (forget about that fee hike at Zion. This is WAY better anyhow!), huge weird rocks, hoodoos, slots, fossils, completely uncharted territory -- this is the place for you.

One huge hoo doo :)
Sidestep Canyon is near Big Water, UT. I've spent a lot of time on blogs, google earth, and the internet, piecing together bits of info to find a way into the canyon. That is half the fun -- so if you want to go, I'm not going to give you directions or gps. If I can find it, you can too. So after you are done looking at my pictures, start plotting >>>> You can do it!

stripes and colors and hoodoos and slot canyons OH MY

Lower sidestep canyon uniqueness :)

My fav hoodoo - very candy canes-ish

A pop of color in a very deserty wash

sandstone slot canyons -- a little scary, I gotta admit


fragile walls, beams of light

Hiking around mars

Lots of fins and 'doos

Best ever - no crowds, no fees, lots of mother nature's sculptures <3
Sidestep Canyon has so many forks and narrows and diversions to explore. You could easily spend a lifetime here, discovering new wacky things each time.

So if you didn't get a Wave permit, if you've been to White Pockets, if you just want to get out of town and be an anti-social hermit and forget about life for a while -- get on google earth and start planning your trip. Or drop me an email and I might give you some hints :)

Peace out!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Flora the kitten whisperer

Flora is all smiles with her little buddy, Iggy.

After 2 days of settling in, we slowly introduced Flora to the foster kittens. ALL four of them immediately walked over to her, completely unfazed by her larger than life appearance. They were so curious and brave. They were pretty much like "oh HI!" I don't think Flora knew how to react to that!

Iggy was the first brave boy -- he went right up and sniffed her nose. She gently brought her face down to meet his. He did not flinch of hiss. She got this huge smile on her face and then the other 3 came trotting over to say hello. She laid down on the floor and Glamour (the smallest of the litter) slowly approached her nose. Flora remained very still and Glamour gave her a bunch of little sniffs. She backed away and then approached another time from the side. She climbed up Flora's side and sniffed her ears and eyes. Flora stayed very still and had a squinty smile on her face. It was SO CUTE!!

"ever get that feeling that you're being watched..."

"Are you my mommy?"

We allowed Flora to mingle with the kittens every day. She gets so happy when they approach her. Bowie (the tuxy boy) started to groom Flora. He also buts his little paws around her legs and hugs them. Flora just closes her eyes and starts to smile.

Bowie nuzzles


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Fostering kittens: a fun, life-saving job

Tiny kittens need extra special care that foster families can easily provide.

Living in a house with two animal-loving human children (ages 8 and 10), many weekends consist of going to the Best Friends Animal Society visitor center in Kanab (where we live) to see the latest arrivals to the kitten room. Saturday mornings is Kittens and Coffee -- so kids get kitten fix, and mom gets caffeine :) A couple weekends ago, when we arrived at the kitten room, there was a poster hanging up on the wall that was advertising for foster homes. Well of course my 8 year old, JJ, saw the sign and with pleading puppy dog eyes, asked if we could foster a litter of kittens. It went something like "please!! please please!!! PLEASE!!! I will take care of them! They can live in my room! please!!!!" (well -- of course I couldn't say NO!)

JJ and Bowie

Little Ms. Glamorous

Iggy and Bowie -- "leave us alone -- we sleepy."

The cutest, happiest little sprite in the world!

It really didn't take long for us to all decide as a family that we should foster a litter of kittens. After all, fostering kittens would be a win-win for everyone. The kittens would have a safe, fun place to live until they were big enough to be spayed/neuter (and ultimately adopted), this would free up room in the kitten nursery for more at-risk kitties, and it would also teach my boys a lot about responsibility (not just in the caring/feeding/socializing aspect -- but why it's important to spay/neuter to prevent a whole lot of kittens -- in the most PG rated version of things. At their young ages, we've instilled in them the importance of rescue work -- and that by fostering kittens -- they would be preparing these little fuzzballs for a happy and bright future.

Harry takes his job as kitten papa very seriously

kids can learn a lot of good values by fostering kittens!

This is Roxy. She is so sweet and teeny.
We got the ball rolling right away -- I emailed the foster coordinator that very day -- and by the evening we were "in waiting" for more detailed instructions on our furry arrivals. We got the kitten room (otherwise known as JJ's room) all ready to go -- made sure there were no tiny pieces of toys laying round, lots of comfy cat beds and blankets, water bowls and cat toys all placed strategically for the new little kids. This would be our first time fostering kittens, so we wanted to make sure we had everything in order!

The very next day were were bringing home Iggy, Bowie, Roxy and Glamour. 10 week old bundles of adorableness. Equal parts of playful, curious, naughty and nice. We asked the foster coordinator if we should allow them to meet our cat-friendly pooch, knowing that exposure (and acceptance) to dogs can up the chance of a kitten getting adopted. We got the green light, and were anxious to see how the kittens would react to Flora.

you're gonna be ok, wee one.. we gotcha covered :)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

House on Fire Ruins: Bears Ears N.M.

Resting at House on Fire
Before I was a desert dweller, I lived in a busy little suburb outside Philly -- a life filled with lots of rushing around and being overly stressed about things that just don't matter. I remember seeing a picture of this crazy looking ruin, built right into the side of a cliff with what looked like flames shooting out from the top of it. That image stuck in my brain... and now many many years and lifetimes later I am here. I am sitting RIGHT HERE. That's called winning :)

My one goal for this little mini summer road trip was to find House on Fire ruins, an iconic rock "house" built thousands of years ago with red and orange striped rocks flanking the tops of the alcove that the little ruin is built inside of. House on Fire is just one of thousands of archeological sites found in Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah.

Posing -- super tourist-mode
You'd think with the fierce debate surrounding this National Monument we'd see a whole lot of tourists and hikers out on the trails. Not even. We saw maybe a handful of awe-inspired, nature-loving outdoor enthusiasts, enjoying a summer morning surrounded by lizards and yucca and blue skies. * Bears Ears was designated by Obama in December 2016. The monument grants federal protection to the twin geological formations that rise above the horizon, or the “Bears Ears”. It also protects the more than 2,000 square miles of desert and canyons.*

Really, really old hand prints. These were tough to see!
After many pictures were taken, we moved on through Mule Canyon to a few more ruins (there are even more if you keep hiking for about 5 miles one way -- but the summer temps were creeping up near 100 and it was probably best to come back in the fall).

We climbed up to these fragile dwellings, just past House on Fire

This very complex structure has multiple rooms and stairs! Really awesome!

multi-room dwelling nestled high into the cliffs
There are many things in life that take my breath away. Most of them live in the desert. This hike ranks up there as one of those moments where I have to stop and remember that we have such a special and beautiful planet Earth -- and that we need to protect her, fiercely.