Monday, March 31, 2008

Wildlife at Craggy Wash BLM campsite at Lake Havasu. (video)

I had seen some of his friends earlier back along the road; more of a flat variety. But this one was doing his best imitation of his friends or a stick, but I stopped the truck on this sandy little road with my front bumper right over him. I backed up to take a look – and some pictures.

He still pretended not to notice me, or to convince me that he was a stick, but his forked tongue gave it all away. I took some pictures of him, but worried that if he stayed on this road he might meet the same fate as his cousins, the flat pavement snakes. After all, the road was averaging one vehicle every six hours, including mine. So I got a stick and attempted to pick him up, but he was having none of that and demonstrated that he was very much alive, and adept at speeding across the sand. This little snake was hanging out in the Sheephole Wilderness area, in south eastern California desert, managed by the BLM. After saving his life, I figured the least he could do was to star in one of my videos and pose for some more pictures. So he did.

The previous day, I had found myself completely surrounded by huge numbers of wild creatures. I think I killed a few of them, but survived unscathed by feeding them some of Harley’s left-over food. I had been lying on the ground soaking up some sun, when I looked up and realized that they were all around me, and their ‘den’ was about a foot from my right hand. I think these ants had just emerged when the sun was low enough and the sand had cooled off for them to forage. After that I kept out of their way, and they kept out of mine, but I watched them hauling vast quantities of dandelion-like seeds back home. They really liked the tiny scraps of cat food and promptly hauled them to the entrance, but alas they were too big and completely blocked access. The resulting traffic jam was worse than Calgary at rush hour, but I did not see any of them using cell phones in the traffic. Finally, I intervened and pushed the chunk of food aside so they could continue. Having seen the things they were collecting, I brought a few of the flower heads back for them and they were cleaned up promptly.

Unlike ants back home, these ones had a den with one central entrance in the middle of a cone of sand that they had excavated from within.

I found this area last year when looking for a good campsite, and once again it filled the bill and then some. Awesome 360* desert views, total silence other than jets overhead, and lots of nice hot sun! It was so warm at night that I could leave all the windows open without getting cold at all.

I had left Lake Havasu earlier in the day after having my fill of hot boats and bikinis. Well, I’d seen enough boats anyway! I visited Parker Dam on the way and found there was a procession of boats approaching the dam from Lake Havasu (above),and up the river from Parker (below).

Once west of there, and through California ‘fruit customs’ again, the desert turned fairly bleak for a while, but an amazing array of flowers were evident in various spots along the way. And the desert spot where I camped is more of a sandy desert as compared to the gravel and rock that predominate some areas.

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