I made it to sleep about 9:30 and when kitty said sun up, I got up.
I looked through the stacks of hikes that were in the room and Martha's Butte was short enough, daring just a bit and qualified as an adventure so I hit the trail just about park opening.
En route I saw my ONE AND ONLY BOBCAT!!! Camera was not ready but it was very dramatic.
I looked ahead to see a pronghorn racing to my left and noticed a brown boxy shape, seriously like a massive THINGY, dark brown, no neck, ears flat, racing across a gully to some eroded rocks. Size color shape... this was IT! No face, but some things are just for the memories.
The pronghorn was a handsome guy who stood in the typical Pronghorn-stare until I left. Nice with the sun behind him.
Down the road a bit, his girlfriend was looking stunning and doing a fashion shoot with me! Look at those gams!
She went off into the beautiful scenery and then decided she would not be intimidated by me, so she just crossed the road, right in front of me, for better scenery, me snapping all the way!
The map was a topo map and I KNOW what it all means, but one of the very cool aspects of the park is that going off the beaten track is encouraged, but you are OFF the track. It is for people who have a respect for the fun of hiking and off spring of.. and actual boy-scouts etc!
I was all alone out there and I knew if I were to trip and die, I would be found very soon, the footprints were dense... and it was fun looking at the animal trails too!
This is that amazing spiral (sipapu as I used to call it.. I think) that people flock to for solstices. It is rather solitaire, making it very noble and unique. Only a couple of glyphs nearby so it is a very important spot. (EDITED when I got home.... sad to say, my feeble body did not make the full walk around. THIS LINK to someone else's trek is GREAT and shows what another 20 minutes of stamina can find!)
Once arrived, I did my 10 second selfie:
I guess it was about an hour. Normal folk might do it faster or longer with more side trips but I was so proud!
I got back to my car and there was something on the hood.....
It looked like a mylar balloon had tangled in my windshield wipers...
On closer inspection, I found a gift from Dennis (who, with his wife JoLynn, had entertained us last Wednesday in great style!) of a specific LEGAL "souvenir" I was looking for as a gift for someone else. There is was. The ENTIRE empty park and he drove by and dropped it off for me.
Two more days.
Back to my report...
As I drove to the bottom of the park looking for Dennis who apparently turned around and came back or something... missed him.... I headed out to Holbrook. I needed to replace a few items for the next visitor in the casita and was completely out of any food. I could be tided over at the $$ Store, so I went off looking for rocks again, but did not stop and come back. I found a little outcrop of yellow and red, much more interesting stones and brought them back too.
Took a full hour nap upon my return and ache and am way stiffer than I wish I was. But I did it!
Needed few photo copies to make my reproductions. I ran out of Eagles, pronghorn, roadrunner, and bobcats! Of course everything in the park is shut down. People with the power are off and working and those left behind are below pay-grade!
So, I will make my tuna sandwiches, prep things for tomorrow and have everything set for an early scouting mission... short walk again, trip up here to get copies and then TWO episodes of demos at the PDI. I am tired in such a good way today!