Dear Deer

We love our deer, particularly when they bring their babies by!

Ever wonder the difference between white tail and mule deer. I know, probably not. Living in the mountains, we have had to learn the difference. Living in the valley, we never knew there was a difference. Oh, how our lives have changed – in so many ways.

The white tail deer are smaller than mule deer (affectionately called ‘mulie’s’. Generally speaking, white tails are smaller (between 130 -200 lbs full grown) vs mule deer (up to 250 lbs, and bucks can be as large as 450 lbs).

The easiest distinguishing factor is their tail. The mule deer have a black tip on the end of their tail, vs. the white tail have all tan / fur colored tails, with the inside all white.

They are a beautiful sight to see, particularly when young, innocent and full of life.

Fall has Fallen

With the recent cold blast (we saw it as low as 22F) and the intense winds, we thought we better check out the Fall Colors to see where we were. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the fall colors were mostly on the ground rather than on the trees.

We’ve barely begun to run our rounds of our favorite haunts for Changing of the Leaves… but as it turns out, we may already be too late. It happens every year. It goes from hot to cold, and there definitely is a chill in the air, particularly with the high winds. It seems Winter is already here.

If you are hoping to catch the change of season…. better hurry out, or it will be the change to Snow that we will be catching next.

East Clear Creek

With all the rain we just got, we hoped to get some low hanging clouds and fog hanging in the trees along East Clear Creek.

The bridge across the FR 95 / 96 Road had lifting fog as the sun tried to break through, and didn’t disappoint.

Fog streamed down through the trees to unveil East Clear Creek below. It was a memorable sight, and one I was happy to capture the terrific moment I found myself in.

Mingus Mountain

It’s always fun exploring new areas. We had never been to Mingus Mountain, so decided with weather coming in… it was a good time.

The campground is pretty developed, and was fairly full. But it was quiet and had a series of trails behind each campsite offering terrific views of Camp Verde and Cottonwood below.

We recall our friend Gary waxing poetic about Mingus Mountain when he used to hang glide from Mingus. Following massive rain and winds that we endured through the night and into the morning, we encountered a complete white out of low hanging clouds and fog.

We checked out Gary’s Mingus launch site and considered the courage it took to jump off this cliff into the great blue below. Ah, but I must take pause. Gary would admonish me as the ‘uninitiated’ for using such a word. A hang glider pilot does not ‘jump’ off a cliff, he flies. In fact, an experienced pilot approaches it with eagerness and exhilaration.

When we were there it was nothing but clouds – not a good day for hang gliding, but eerie and fantastic nonetheless. It was a nice spot, with beautiful views. We enjoyed the weather and all the moody scenes it provided, making for interesting photographs.

Our trip definitely reminded me that it’s fun and exciting to try new places and new experiences. It’s easy to get stuck in our doldrums of same ‘ol, same ‘ol. We need to get out more to enjoy new and different experiences.

North Rim, Grand Canyon

We frequent the North Rim of the Grand Canyon much more than the South Rim, in large part because we don’t actually enter the park.

We are able to enter the outside of the Park boundaries where we can camp and mostly enjoy great views in solitude. I will admit this time we saw more people on our trip than I think we ever have before. It was a treat to meet fellow travelers who were like minded and shared similar interests.

We drove all the way to Point Sublime (for which we obtained a Back Country Permit, as it is just over the Park Boundary) and camped for several days.

Surprisingly the leaves had hardly begun to change and temps were fairly warm. Unfortunately, we saw very few clouds. By the time we got home we were welcomed with cool temps, clouds, and rain. No matter what, though, it’s always a pleasure to enjoy nature and a good view.

Check out more pix here … https://kritterspix.com/2021/09/26/rainbow-trail/

Vegas Revisited

While we have been to Vegas in the last couple years, we haven’t stayed on the strip in some time. So with the encouragement of a friend, we took a brief respite and stayed on the Strip.

We aren’t huge gamblers, so we took the occasion to check out the brand new Resorts World casino which just opened up next to Circus Circus.

We walked our feet off wandering up and down the Strip. One of our favorite past times is to check out the art fixtures, which can be found hiding in any one of the casino’s.

One we always make a point to visit is Bellagio’s gardens with their ever changing scenes filled with live flowers. It’s always stunning and never disappoints. This time is was celebrating the rainforest.

For a change, we decided to try a new activity that John found intriguing… a Virtual Reality ‘arcade’. While I’ve heard of Virtual Reality, I had no idea what to expect. Apparently, there are any number of themes: car racing, golf, or shooting zombies. No surprise, but John wanted to shoot zombies. Not exactly my cup of tea, I compromised on the more sci-fi twist, ‘Singularity’ at the MGM Grand, where aliens invade a space station and the rescue team has to combat drones and aliens to save the ship and crew.

I’m not making this up! Now having done it… I can honestly say, I had a blast. It was great fun.

Thanks, Pat, for the wonderful opportunity. We had a great time.

Elusive Bulls

We haven’t seen any animals in some time. I think they are all hiding from the mountain lions, as mountain lion sightings have been on the rise. The storms do bring in animals, though. I love our rains… they are so good for our forests and animals.

We were lucky enough to see 2 bull elk, still in velvet. It was a rare treat and one we relished. They foraged in the grass and lingered around until they wandered off as the thunderstorms rolled in.

They looked like they had been through a rough year as they slowly wandered off. I was happy that they had a brief respite from their harsh environment.

Returning to the Scene

We decided to return to the scene of my award winning shot (see post here… https://kritterspix.com/category/photo-musings/ ) before the forest closed.

With all the fires in AZ at the moment, we got quite the red sun at sunrise. Unfortunately, we were unable to stay long, as the AZ Game & Fish came by to advise us the forest would be closing due to the fires.

Many of the AZ fires have been human caused, and with super dry conditions they are out of control with little containment. Firefighter resources are very thin, so any new fires would be difficult to fight. We are actually thankful they are closing the forests to keep our forest safe. Nonetheless, it was disappointing to have to leave such a glorious spot. I guess we’ll have to go back.

Industrious Mouse

We were at Schnebly Vista, (see my post here… https://kritterspix.com/2021/06/11/schnebly-hill-vista/ ), when we caught this little mouse gathering food.

We watched this little guy for quite a while, nibbling away on an agave, then proceed to carry this stalk probably 5x his size down into a his home.

How often is it you can watch a wild animal going about their daily activity?

While he knew we were there, he was more intent on gathering food, perhaps for his family.

Either way, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to witness him (or her) at work. Very cool.

Parker Creek

Having lived in AZ all of my adult life, we have traveled many of the places and roads that AZ has to offer. We have enjoyed exploring the off roads and the gorgeous scenery throughout our amazing state.

It’s always a treat when we find a new special place and scenic view.

Parker Creek was such a place. It had stunning views of Roosevelt Lake and Four Peaks. It was truly breath taking.

The only thing we missed were some great clouds and wonderful sunsets. We’ll have to go back.