Back Again From Wandering Westward

My wife and I just returned from another 5,000+ mile jaunt out west to see our daughter in Portland, OR. Ya know, scenery, mountains, rocks, trees … the same old stuff.

We took time to visit several national parks and other natural areas, so you’d think I’d have a lot of iNaturalist uploads to work on. Well, not so much. Aside from being late Fall in much of the region we traversed (e.g., the rabbitbrush was mostly finished blooming), the diagonal pathway we took from Austin, TX, to Portland, OR, and back traversed half a continent which is mostly in extreme to exceptional drought (see recent map, below). Symptoms of the drought (even in the Pac NW) included a sparsity of flowering plants and a major dirth of insects. Butterflies, for example, were extremely sparse everywhere. We’d see one or a few on a given day, sometimes none. It wasn’t until we dropped off the High Plains in Texas this past Sunday afternoon and exited the drought region that we began to see lots of butterflies on the wing. In the first 20 miles SE of Post, TX, I probably hit more butterflies on the grill of my car than we’d seen in the previous 5,000 miles of the trip.

In roughly chronological order, some of the locations we visited or passed through briefly included:

Arches National Park, UT
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, UT
Snake River Birds of Prey Natural Area, ID
Mount Rainier NP, WA
Klamath Lake, OR
Battle Creek Wildlife Area (Coleman Fish Hatchery), Shasta Co., CA
US 50 (“Loneliest Road in America”) across central NV
Great Basin NP, NV
Bryce Canyon NP, UT
Kodachrome Basin SP, UT
Capitol Reef NP, UT
Glen Canyon NRA, UT

Despite their rich natural histories and beauty, we did not dawdle crossing Texas or New Mexico; the latter state still doesn’t want us to stay. Sigh…

I’ll have images of several dozen plants and a handful of critters to upload over the next week or so as time permits, but I’ll look forward to visiting many of the same locations (and new ones) on a future visit after the drought, after Covid … generally after the world gets back to something resembling “normal”, even if it's a "new normal".

由使用者 gcwarbler gcwarbler2020年10月27日 14:34 所貼文


That is quite a contrast that you experienced once you finally did see butterflies!

發佈由 zdufran 超過 3 年 前

I never had the opportunity to visit my daughter when she lived in Eugene OR for a couple years. It's on my list for the future!

發佈由 annainok 超過 3 年 前

I am glad you got to make such a wonderful trip, even if drought and COVID-19 made it a different experience. I miss our days of travel.

發佈由 mammelton50 超過 3 年 前

I love the way you two have retired!

發佈由 twylabirdjean 超過 3 年 前

That sounds like a great trip, Chuck! I look forward to seeing some of your postings.

發佈由 cliftonladd 超過 3 年 前


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