Friday, June 11, 2010

Interstate Trekking: Part III

This hike was in Adam's Gulch. Not that the location means anything to anyone who hasn't been there, but I like to be precise. It started with a brilliant blue surprise. See? On that rock in the middle? A Mountain Bluebird! Not surprised to learn it's the Idaho state bird.

Up, up, up. No one who made trails was ever interested in just going for a long walk. They always had to go UP somewhere. Someday I'm going to be the founder of the Flatlanders Trail Club.

Up here you could see where the wildfires of a few years ago left their mark. And the tops of the Sawtooth Mountains. Which you could see from the bottom of the trail, too, just as I predicted.

A little bridge crossing in the trees. I love trail bridges. No joke.

A Dusky Grouse. I think. I know it's a grouse, but I had to Google for the Dusky part. If anyone knows differently, speak up!

As we traversed the top of this trail, The Big Guy spotted something. He said, "Stop! Do you see it?!" No, of course I didn't see "it." I never see "it" when he does that. He said, "It's about 12 feet from us." Great. Well, it's not a bear, I thought, surely I'd see that. Might be a cougar. They say you never see those coming. A snake? Is it a [swear word] rattlesnake?!? He said, "Keep looking, you'll see it." No. No I won't. This ended the way these exchanges always end. With me exclaiming with complete exasperation, "Just tell me what it is!!! Just point to it!!" Turns out "it" was an elk antler. The smaller of the two I'm modeling in this picture. I spotted the larger of the two. With no silly games at all.

As we came down into the gulch, we started spotting elk bones. The first part was backbones and the pelvis at the base of a sheer boulder. It made me nervous, and I breathed, "Awww, somethin' got killed..." The Big Guy thought that was hilarious (and still keeps repeating it.) Scattered over the next 1/2 mile or so, we saw pretty much the entire skeleton, not fresh enough to warrant a hasty retreat, but not so old that all the connective tissues were deteriorated yet, either. It made the gulch an eerie place for me, and I kept a watchful eye on the ridgelines.