Friday, April 10, 2009

Devil's River

So I spent the last almost two weeks in a place called Devil's River State Natural Area. Pretty cool place, I urge you to go if you're in the area - which is funny because you will probably never be in 'the area.' Devil's River SNA is pushing a two hour drive to the nearest town (Del Rio) and the surrounding properties are owned by the obligatory ranchers and surprisingly, the Nature Conservancy - very nice!

Anyway, Texas A&M University sent me over there to help out with another research project concerning Black-capped Vireos. It's the first year of the project and very loosely organized and the leadership skills could be upped a whole bunch of notches. But, I'm glad I got to spend a little time out there, because it's really freaking beautiful and no one is ever there (less people the better, as you know). There was some gnarly wind most of the time I was there and the temperature got pretty chilly a few nights, but I'm a badass so that was no issue. (By the way, I have been sleeping in my tent for a month straight).

The wildflowers are starting to come out and the cacti are starting to bloom in the desert and things are getting nice and green. The field sites there are rather dangerous. Thorns. Thorns and pokey crap everywhere. Tons of cacti and good prickly stuff like that. But hey, a little scratches never hurt anyone. A few thorns imbedded in your toe are just fine.
I took my bike and rode around when the wind wasn't 40 mph. I spent a lot of time playing and exploring on the Nature Conservancy land (yay for gate combos!). I stumbled upon a little grotto/small slot canyon that had a cave. I got all excited and then much to my dismay and horror found a dead deer that looked like it had been killed by a big cat. Then I left the slot canyon.

Zac came to visit for a couple days before I left, so we went back to the cave and because I had a big strong man to ward off any top predators, I played in the cave a little more and found that there were various bones and lots of fur. Stumbling on mountain lion caches always makes for a great time. This happens to us much more than the average person.

We went to a place called Dolan Falls (also on the Nature Conservancy land) and hung out there for a while. Swam in the river, which! is SO clear and green. It's the healthiest watershed in Texas and I give it two thumbs up.

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