Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Well, I'm not quite at the refuge yet. I'm at the Howard Johnson motel in Brigham City, and it's still dark.

Did you know that the state of Montana, or at least the Department of Transportation supports the theory of evolution? They had lots of signs at various rest stops about dinosaur digs and how old the various fossils are. And speaking of fossils, my dear friend Jeff Pentel happens to have a chunk of fossilized dinosaur poop! I had SO much fun visiting him. He's the kind of friend who you can go 8 or 9 years without seeing and everything picks up right where we left off. He made a perfect cup of coffee--he's a real connoisseur, with far more refined sensibilities than I have, but boy it did taste great. And he made shockingly good pancakes with wild huckleberries! Imagine waking up every morning beneath beautiful mountains, with magpies stopping by for their breakfast. It was a little piece of heaven.

What a great ride I had yesterday! It was a little tricky driving through a delicate snow fall in Yellowstone, but I moseyed through. Between the high winds and the general murkiness, I didn't see a single bison, elk, moose, antelope, deer, or any other big mammals--just one squirrel ran across the road, but well far enough ahead of me that I didn't even need to slow down. The scenery was spectacular, and I think I'd be daid from the beauty if I'd actually had clear skies through Yellowstone.

Idaho is absolutely beautiful, and a great rest stop had a lovely walk through lava fields rich with sage. My dream was to see a Sage Grouse (I'd seen what looked like a dead one in eastern Montana), but instead I got a beautiful and cooperative Townsend's Solitaire.

And then I made it to Utah. Wow--I'm so excited about going to the refuge that I could pop! The sky is just starting to grow grayish bluish pink instead of black, so I'm going to get crackin'!We got to the I-94 rest stop at Theodore Roosevelt National Park just after it got light Sunday.
Gorgeous badlands, but the low light didn't do them justice.
This Sharp-tailed Grouse was curious about Photon.
Photon approves of this park!
Photon made friends with a trucker's dog--Buddy!
The sun came out in Montana.
One of Jeff Pentel's robins.
My only photo of a magpie so far--through the window, but hey--it's a magpie. I'll settle for anything.
A perfect cup of coffee.
Wish we could have spent more time here!
Idaho is beautiful!
Townsend's Solitaire at the Idaho rest stop (near mileage marker 101 on I-15)
Oh, my. Like I said, Idaho is beautiful!
So far, this is the only photo of a Utah bird I've taken. I should improve on this today!