Great scenery and videos

National Parks, Wildlife Refuges, etc (below)                                   Day by Day Summary


We traveled 8,932 miles through 19 states, for almost 6 weeks!  We went to 10 national parks, 4 national grasslands, 3 national wildlife refuges, 3 national recreation areas, 3 national monuments, 2 national forests, and 14 state parks.  We camped on 29 nights, all on national or state land.  We were in California, Arizona, and Colorado for more than half the time, with 10 days in CA, 6 days in AZ, and 5 days in CO. Our target sites were the Kaibab Plateau on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, California Parks and habitats (including Placentia), and the Rocky Mountain tundra in Colorado.  Our target species included birds, mammals, and even trees. 

Target Species
Birds:  Yellow-billed Magpie, California Thrasher, White-headed Woodpecker and White-tailed Ptarmigan; 
Mammals:  Kaibab Squirrel and Pica; 
Trees:  Joshua Tree (really a Yucca)  and Bristlecone Pine. 
Except for the Ptarmigan, we had wonderful views of all our targets and many, many more.

We saw 254 bird species, 32 mammal species, 26 butterfly species, and learned more about the volcanic geology of the southwest.  A few experiences stand out: 

>A Henslow's Sparrow enthusiastically defending his territory from a visible perch at the edge of a very large grassland at Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge, IN

>Kentucky Warblers as part of the soundscape at Clifty Falls State Park, IN.

>Brilliant colors and striking shapes of the rock formations at the El Malpais in NM, the Sunset Crater Volcano and the Painted Desert in AZ.

>A Western Screech-owl singing into the still of the night in the Pinyon Forest below the Kaibab Plateau.

>A Rock Wren flying from Joshua Tree to camp site to the rock wall behind us at Joshua Tree NP.

>A fun walk with Heather and Pixie along the banks of the Santa Anna River where we found 6 new bird species for the trip, including Black-necked Stilt, Spotted Sandpiper, and Pie-billed Grebe. 

>One group of Acorn Woodpeckers stashing acorns into a telephone pole on the campground at Lake Cachuma County Park, CA and another group drinking from the water fountain at the Potwisha Campground in Sequoia NP, CA.

>White-headed Woodpeckers chasing each other on the south end of Crescent Meadow at Sequoia NP.

>A blonde black bear pulling apart a log at Yosemite NP, CA.

>A long string of Avocets feeding amoung the Eared Grebes at the north end of Mono Lake while Phalaropes were feeding around the tufa at the south end.

>A Black Rosy-Finch in a tree not far from the spectacular Bristlecone Pine Forest on Wheeler Mountain in Great Basin National Park, NV.  This was a surprise because we had not reached the glacier or snow fields.

>The entertaining antics of a Pica population as each gathered grass to hoard under rocks at Rocky Mountain National Park, CO.

>Walking the alpine meadow at RMNP, with excited Pipits flying about and an array of beautiful butterflies to see, including High Mountain Blue, Colorado Alpine, Parnassian Phoebius, and Mead's Sulfur.

Temperatures during this trip were mostly just HOT.  The highest temperature that we recorded was 118F outside the van as we entered Joshua Tree National Park.  We traveled through deserts, and looked to the mountains for campgrounds to get away from the heat.  We camped at Joshua Tree that night, though.  The elevations were just high enough for the temps to drop to the 70s.  On a few nights in the mountains we needed sweatshirts and jackets.


1 6/21 Drew's - left some chocolate at home! Hickory Run SP, PA left: 1:50pm; traffic TZ bridge  
2 6/22 Fourth Run Trail: CAWA. BTGW, BLWA, HETH Hickory Run SP, PA boulder field-10-12FT DEEP, cicadas, McGyver coffee filter Canada Warbler
3 6/23 Cowan Lake SP Cowan Lake SP, OH travel Rt 80 to Ohio, no c.g. at Ceasar Creek SP, OH Northern Bobwhite
4 6/24 Versailles SP IN, Big Oaks NWR IN Clifty Falls SP, IN  (#160) personal tour at Big Oaks, +good variety at Area 46 Henslow's Sparrow
5 6/25 Big Oaks-quick stop, Muscatatuck NWR IN, Mammouth Cave NP KY Mammoth Cave NP, KY (#71) Muscatatuck a fun spot-grasslands Dickcissel, Kentucky Warbler
6 6/26 Birdsong Road, Rt 40, Ex.133 TN  Nachez Trace SP, TN never found actual Tenn NWR,Bald Cyprus Prothonotary Warbler
7 6/27 Nachez Trace TN-Taylor Rd, Ozarks AR Ozone CG, Ozark NF, AR lost on exit - found KIRA; E.fenceLizard @Ozarks King Rail, Whip-porwill, YBChat
8 6/28 OK Cherokee Nation La Quinta, Elk City, OK travel day, white milkweed; family of Scissor-taileds! Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
9 6/29 Black Kettle Ntnl Grassland OK, McClellan Creek NG TX Best Western, Amarilo, TX 8 Mississippi Kites! Painted Bunting
10 6/30 El Malpais Ntnl Monument, NM El Malpais, BLM, NM coalmine canyon cg closed-stage 3 fire;chola cactus, lava rock Rock Wren
11 7/1 El Malpais, Petrified Forest NP w Painted Desert Homolovi Ruins SP, AZ dessert cottontail, petroglyphs, petrified wood Black-chinned Hummer, Say's Phoebe
12 7/2 Walnut Canyon NP, Sunset Crater Volcano NP, Echo Cliffs, Vermillon Cliffs, Kaibab Plateau Jacob Lake near N. Rim, AZ Cliff Dwellings at Walnut Canyon, Echo Cliffs dramatic views Canyon Wren, Pygmy Nuthatch
13 7/3 Kaibab Plateau Jacob Lake NFS, AZ Kaibab Squirrel - trip target! Smoke alarm went off in Pinyon/Juniper at lower elevation - local fires? No apparent smoke Lesser Goldfinch in puddle
14 7/4 Pinyon/juniper, Grand Canyon NorthRim, Pt.Imperial Jacob Lake NFS, AZ lizard-juniper; hail/snow at North Rim, lunch at Canyon, dramatic views in storm Juniper Titmouse
15 7/5 pinyon/juniper, Kaibab Plateau Jacob Lake NFS, AZ early owls, 6750ft elev, lightning, puddles, dirt roads 282>212>67 Western Screech-owl, Grace's Warbler
16 7/6 Kaibab - am, Zion NP - pm, Vigin River Canyon Ntnl RecrArea La Quinta (Ex.50),N.Las Vegas, NV no owls, whiptail, collared lizard, spectacular views S.entrance, Virgin River NRA in nw AZ betw UT&NV Orange-crowned Warbler
17 7/7 desert roads, Joshua Tree NP Hidden Valey, Joshua Tree NP, CA v hot-118F midday;114FJoshua TreeNP@4pm-hadCloseEyes Cactus Wren, Scott's Oriole
18 7/8 Joshua Tree-am, Big Morengo Canyon Preserve (Nature Conservency) Heather's Joshua Trees at 3,000-4,000 ft elev, Big Morengo lovely spot Hooded Oriole, Anna's Hummingbird, Rock Wren
19 7/9 LaBrea's Tar Pits, Marina del Ray, Park along Santa Anna River Heather's tar pits super stuff, great birds on Heather's walk Heerman's Gull, Black-necked Stilt
20 7/10 SantaBarbara,Goleta Beach County Park, Rocky Nook County Park, Cachuma County Park,Alisal Canyon Lake Cachuma County Park, CA century plants( ~12), weasel, Cal gr. Squirrel Allen's Hummingbird, Acorn Woodpecker
21 7/11 Cachuma County Park, Bradbury Dam, Pismo Beach, Morro Rock, Potwisha CG, Sequoia NP Potwisha CG, Sequoia NP, CA Acorn Wo Stash-telephone pole@ Cachuma! ACWO drinks fr water fountain@Potwisha CG, SeqNP Yellow-billed Magpie, AcornWoodp, Hutton's Vireo
22 7/12 Sequoia NP, Big Sherman, Kings Canyon NP Crystal Springs, King Canyon NP, CA Sherman - largest volum tree in world, Grant walk at sunset delightful - majestic trees. Spotted Owl response at Grant, Green-tailed Towhee
23 7/13 Sequoia NP, crescent meadow La Quinta-Yosemite, Fresno, CA sw corner of crescent meadow- lots of activity White-headed Woodpecker
24 7/14 Yosemite NP Bridalveil Creek CG, Yosemite NP, CA Cattle Egret in field with cattle Cattle Egret
25 7/15 Yosemite NP-Glacier Point Rd, Yosemite Valley, Merced River White Wolf CG, Yosemite, CA Glacier PtRd-1000 ft below glacier, Mirrian's Chip video, Liberty Cap Dome-at 8800ft 850ft below glacier Black Swift
26 7/16 Yosemite NP-White Wolf CG vicinity incl meadow, Tioga Road, Mono Lake Holiday Lodge, Hawthorne, NV great views driving Tioga Rd - Lyell (13,120 ft) & Maclure (11,400 ft) Glaciers on highest peaks of Yosemite Lincoln's Sparrow, Wilson's Phalarope, Avocet
27 7/17 Rte. 50 the 'Loneliest Road in the World',  Cave Lake SP NV Cave Lake SP, NV Naval Undersea Munitions Center-middle of desert;dust devils, deep haze on horizon-fires, series of valleys and mts-dry sagebrush at low elev and juniper at higher elev; small communities 50-100 mi apart Eared Grebe feeding young, 
28 7/18 Cave Lake CG, Great Basin NP, Mather Overlook, bristlecone pine forest Wheeler Peak CG, Great Basin NP, NV grasshopper chorus at Mather, Wheeler Glacier, Bristlecone Pine forest hike- uphill 1.5mi, >3000 yrs old Clark's Nutcracker, Black Rosyfinch, Rock Wren
29 7/19 Wheeler Peak CG, Snake Creek Rd, Rt 70 canyon overlook Holiday Inn Espress, Green River, UT Snake Creek Rd at Great Basin NP - Pinyon Jay group, tame desert cottontail; Navajo wares, gecko, &Black-throated Gray at Rt 70 overlook Loggerhead Shrike, Black-throated Gray Warbler
30 7/20 UT drive to CO, Rt 70 to Rt 131 (scenic), Windy Gap Reervoir, Arapaho National Recreation Area Big Rock CG, Lake Granby, Arapaho National Recr. Area, CO scenic route in CO followed the Colorado River-recreational rafting, ducks at Windy Gap, Lake Granby large area; added 1 qt oil Redhead, Black-billed Magpie
31 7/21 Big Rock CG, Rocky Mountain NP, Timber Creek CG, Alpine Visitors Center, alpine tundra walk Timber Creek CG, Rocky Mt NP, CO YB marmot(many) at Big Rock, tundra walk: Mead's sulphur, Phoebius Parnassian; lichens: world map, elegant orange, lecidea American Pipit, White-crowned Sparrow
32 7/22 Timber Creek CG, tundra walk, drive RMNP, rapids s. of Moraine Park CG, Big Thompson River & Canyon Boyd Lake SP, CO more butts:  Kriemhild Frit. Colorado Alpine, PICA! fun at highest altitudes, Dipper at rapids, oil change @ Jiffy Lube Ft Collins CO American Dipper
33 7/23 Pawnee N Grasslands, Pawnee Buttes North Sterling SP, CO good birds near/at Pawnee NG-Ferruginous Hawk & Burrowing Owl, washer-board rd to Buttes, Shrikes! Ferruginous, Burrowing Owl, McGowan's Longspur
34 7/24 North Sternling SP, Lake Maloney SP, Rt 80 rest stop (Kearney)-pond, Pawnee SP, NE Pawnee SP, NE butt: Dwarf Yellow!, buckeye;  dragon: Variegated Meadowhawk White Pelican
35 7/25 Pawnee SP, Neil Smith NWR IA Best Western, Grinnell, IA Neil Smith NWR-great Dickcissel along all roads, search for SEWR (eastern end), lots of monarchs, bison Dickcissel
36 7/26 travel Whitetail CG, Illini SP, IL lots of corn, finally got Black-capped Chickadee Black-capped Chickadee
37 7/27 Illini SP, Marseilles Canal, Pokagon SP IN, Harrison Lake SP OH Best Western,      ,OH drizzle to intermittent heavy rain, 2 cg's full Red-eyed Vireo, Osprey
38 7/28 Rt 8 and 62 n to Allegheny NF, NSFW Bat Barn, Willow Bay, Allegheny National Recr Area PA Willob Bay CG, Alleheny NRA, PA travel in familiar habitats, wonder how many bats are in the bat barn; monarch, tiger lilies Bald Eagle, Blue-headed Vireo
39 7/29 Allegheny NRA PA, NY Allegheny SP, Rt 17 home drive through NY Allegheny SP, travel home Ruby-throated Hummingbird

10 National Parks, 3 National Wildlife Refuges, 4 National Grasslands, 3 National Recreation Area,  2 National Forests, 3 National Monuments
14 State Parks, 3 County Parks, 1 Nature Conservancy Preserve, 1 Private Museum
National Parks (10) Big Oaks IN Black Kettle OK Allegheny NRA PA
Grand Canyon North Rim AZ Muscatatuck IN McClellan Creek TX Arapaho NRA CO
Great Basin NV TVA  TN Neil Smith IA Virgin River Canyon NRA AR
Joshua Tree CA Pawnee CO
Kings Canyon CA NFS (2) NM  (3)
Mammoth Cave KY Mono Lake NFS Scenic Area El Malpais NM, NM
Petrified Forest/Painted Desert AZ Ozone CG, Ozark  NF AR Sunset Crater Volcano NM AZ
Rocky Mountain CO Walnut Canyon AZ
Sequoia CA County (3) Private (2)
Yosemite CA Cachuma CP CA Big Morengo Canyon Preserve -Nature Conservancy
Zion UT Goleta Beach CP CA LaBrea's Tar Pits
  Rocky Nook CP CA

State Parks (14)      
Allegheny NY Foss State Park, OK Illini IL Pawnee NE
Cave Lake NV Harrison Lake OH Lake Maloney CO Pokagon IN
Clifty Falls, IN Hickory Run, PA Nachez Trace TN Versailles, IN
Cowan Lake, OH Homolovi Ruins AZ North Sterling CO