Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument Off The Beaten Path Tips by richiecdisc Top 5 Page for this destination
Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument Off The Beaten Path: 12 reviews and 34 photos
Mama & her young one look on
The owls it turned out were much closer to the mouth of the canyon and were well worth the effort of finding, baring even the near snake bite experience. It was a mother Great Horned Owl with one young offspring holed up high in the cliff wall. The Great Horned Owl has a wide distribution and can be found not only in forests but also desert canyons and even city parks. Not active during the day, the great predator is a nocturnal hunter who uses its incredible sense of hearing as well as sight to locate its prey. Their pray includes just about anything that moves though they have a predilection for cottontail rabbits.
the lovely smell of the Cliff Rose
One of my favorite memories of the Southwestern US and of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was the scent of the Cliff Rose. This sturdy shrub is heat and cold resistant so perfect for the desert, Unassuming most of the year, in spring, its yellow flowers give off such a beautiful and spicy fragrance. I am a big fan of Vietnamese food and their signature dish is Pho, a tasty aromatic soup. To me, this flower smelled very much like Pho. Every time the wind would blow and I'd smell the Cliff Rose, I thought of Pho.
worth getting out of the bad in the morning
Jack Rabbits are about as western as road runners and surely one of the great joys of camping in the desert. Though you are bound to see them darting across any given road if you are driving early morning or evening, you can't entirely enjoy them if they are racing to get away from you. It's far more fun to sit lie in your tent and wait for them to come to play as the sun comes up. There were hoards of them scurrying about when we were at White House campground. The Jack Rabbit is actually a hare which unlike their rabbit cousins like Cottontails do not build nests. Their young are born more haphazardly but more prepared for life as such, with eyes fully open and already furred. The ones in this area are Black-tailed Jack Rabbits.
the sturdy Hedgehog Prickly Pear
Hiking out to The Wave, you wouldn't think anything could survive out there, let along anything as beautiful as the flowering Hedgehog Prickly Pear. This rugged cacti is well adapted to desert life, being able to retain the precipitation that falls heavily but irregularly. Seeing them popping up from the crevices of this red rock country is like small blobs of icing on an already amazing cake.
not exactly a bat out of hell
After running into Great Horned Owls and snakes, we figured we couldn't be surprised by much more but a bat crawling around on the ground in broad albeit shady daylight certainly got our attention peaked again. I am no bat expert but from the very small size of it and its coloring, it looks to be a Western Pipestrelle which is only four grams. It turns out these are amongst the more active bats during the day. They nest in crevices of rocks in canyons and can consume up to 20% of their body weight feeding on swarms of a large variety of insects.
sure he was just as surprised as us
We were making our way back out of Buckskin Gulch and ready to take the short and tight Wire Pass back to the parking area when a couple of hikers told us they had just seen two owls in the canyon, up high on the right side of the trail. We thanked them for the tip and hurried back in, all the while keeping our eyes peeled high for the elusive nocturnal birds. We wandered up and down the canyon, not knowing how far back it was that they'd seem them. All of a sudden we heard the hissing of a snake and looked down to find one rearing back, ready to strike. Of course, it turned out to be harmless non-venomous one but in that instant all we thought about was being down a remote dirt road in the middle of a narrow canyon prone to flash floods. Okay, maybe all we were thinking about was getting bitten but at any rate, we had completely forgotten about the owls.
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- begging for your permit
- See All pay your National Park fees
- a great place for driving into adventure
- flash floods
- prepare for desert conditions
- Hiking the Staircase
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