We have had rain! Enough so that the Forests and County areas are open again. We are allowed to go into our site monitoring areas.
We returned the first day the bans were lifted.
We were thrilled to see: a mountain lion, small herds of deer, Red coach whip snake, a desert tortoise and water!
The animals had been without humans visiting for a month and a half and seemed rather shocked to see us. Deer stopped their feeding to stare at us!
One rattler was very intolerant to our presence - he rattled a warning from under a bush next to our feet!
Puddles of water stood in the roads at the small wash crossing areas. Large Collared Lizards were scurrying back and forth across the road at our approach. Why so many lizards on the road? A short stop to investigate: lots and lots of ants! The lizards were feeding.
A trickle of water flowed over the falls and the Creek had a slow moving trickle too. Dace minnows were in the small pools. At our approach a great blue heron flew up from one of the big cattle tanks, now full with water. Ranchers had moved the cattle out of the area, as there was no ground feed for them. The full tanks have no takers except for wild life.
With the rain came the quickly sprouting seeds. The air was resplendent with the smell of the Devil's Claw vine blooming; small pincushion cacti were blooming; trailing 4 o’clocks were having their way. The creosote bushes that were brown/bone dry and crinkly to our touch were green and in flower.
Hillsides one month ago that were brown with death are now bright green - a touch of Ireland!
The archaeological sites were all ok. The rain had caused some sheet washing across the sites but that had exposed more artifacts, some of which were on dirt pedestals as if to say, “Hey, here we are!”
In the now damp soil, rocks held tight to their hillside position against our boots onslaught - no rolling out from under our boots making the hillside climb a dangerously slippery/sliding event.
Our return to all areas of the Forests and County Preserve was truly wonderful.
The only exception: our month long unused muscles now scream at us!