May 19, 2012
Yesterday morning we were drooling over the view out the window by the lake. We spotted what looked like an egret fishing on the closest side of the lake and we could barely see two others feeding on the opposite side of the lake. We watched them with the binoculars and spontaneously decided to ignore the dirty dishes and unmade bed and grab the cameras and try for some pictures.
No one can sneak up on a bird and my camera doesn’t have great distance. They were magnificent blue herons and we watched them for a long time. It was early and since we had planned to hike the bluff across the lake to see where the ponies hide, we just headed out for our hike a bit early.
We walked the shoreline and spotted the dam across the lake we had visited the day before. The sun wasn’t quite up over the park yet. We decided to climb the highest bluff and see what we could see.
The park boat launch pad is clearly visible. In fact the park has several launching sites. The sun came up and we continued up the hill.
Steep and rocky, the bluff is more heavily treed. We hiked in and out of washes and small canyons.
Nature always provides a pattern.
Not much color on the bluff.
The views through the brush were not spectacular, but the exercise and fresh air were wonderful. We spotted elk pellets, coyote scat, white from eating bones, and plenty of pony tracks. But, no sign of the ponies this morning. We wondered if they know the weekend is coming and the lake will be full of boats?
And, we wondered what they eat. We found a few green plants, but the terrain is pretty harsh.
By the time we returned to the motor home, the wind picked up and we couldn’t sit outside, nor could I ride my bike. It continued with fifty mile per hour gusts all day, giving us a tin can rock and roll. We were grateful we had taken our walk early. We feared the vents would blow off if we kept them open, but it wasn’t a cold wind. I enjoy the sound and ferocity of wind and poked my head out a few times just to feel it. We watched the raptors being tossed around. They seemed to enjoy gliding about letting the wind carry them.
About dinner time, a herd of cows came marching down to the lake. The wind didn’t seem to bother them a bit. They stayed and played. Grazed and ate, drank and grazed until dusk. Not a sign of the ponies.
A restful stay. Time to catch up on computer stuff you always want to do and never have time enough. We move out this morning.
May 18, 2012
The wild ponies put on a show for us again. They visit the lake in the morning and evening. They kept coming, with three colts among them until we counted 17 horses.
This frisky little guy would run circles around his mother, each circle ranging farther away until he’d get tired and drop down for a minute’s rest. Then, he’d start over again. When it got dark, the mother, stallion and colt came right up behind our motor home and started grazing in the campground.
We decided to hike the park and see what there is to see. It covers three thousand acres but has no suggested hiking trails. Our first stop, at the marina, we noticed this sign. We’d heard grumbles at the VFW in Grants that the muskie have killed the trout and are now an unwanted predator fish. The Fly Anglers Website does not support that claim. The park’s website doesn’t even mention the muskie. The elevation is such that people can fish through the ice on Blue Lake during winter months.
We kept taking pictures of the lake, but as we climbed higher and higher, the lake kept spreading out before us. It takes a huge bend, and we found the biggest leg of the lake.
The park sits between a 685 foot deep canyon and the lake. It is loose limestone and shale and the only way down is over the edge. The little creek was low, as is the lake this year. We decided not to chance it.
At the highest point in the park, we could see down into this dam, basically empty. The website shows this dam half full?
Not only were we at the highest point, but Jim decided he had to be even higher. I thought the wind was going to blow him over the edge.
We got great views of the lake.
We speculated that the ruins, with two wind powered light posts, must have been the dam tender’s house at one time. The propellers have been removed from the lights.
Nearby, at the base of a twisted old pinon pine, a cross suggested that someone had gone over the edge and died on this rugged point.
Tramping around the wide sweep of the point, discovering wild flowers, horse tracks, the gorgeous views; even the cooling wind was a welcome element.
Daisy like, the flowers are actually the diameter of a pencil eraser.
Past their prime and even smaller, this little blue cluster was difficult to spot.
A rare exception. Rocks here don’t have much color.
We discovered an old dump site that put us in mind of our stop at Petroglyphs National Monument where an expert told us these old style cans were from the 1860′s. Part of discovery is wondering who passed this way before you. We will never know. We spent the rest of the day playing cribbage, reading and I took a short spin on my bike.