At up to 3.1 inches (80 millimeters) from snout to vent, the plateau fence lizard is a grayish, brownish, or greenish lizard. The upper side of its body has keeled scales and there is a series of narrow dark brown cross-bands on both sides of the midline. An elongated metallic blue patch can be found on each side of the belly and each side of the throat. Males are typically smaller than females with males and females in Montezuma County measuring 2.5 inches (63 millimeters) and 2.6 inches (67 millimeters), respectively.
The plateau fence lizard is found in central Arizona, southwestern Utah, western Colorado, and the San Luis Valley. It can also be found in parts of New Mexico and Wyoming. It generally dwells in rocky and wooded areas, making use of canyon walls, boulder-strewn hillsides, fallen tree trunks, and other debris and vantage points.
The Juniper Hairstreak in the southwestern United States is bright green below with a single white line on the forewing, hindwing, and tails. The butterfly is dark above but usually overscaled with rusty red. Bright green fades to gray-brown over time. Juniper Hairstreaks live throughout much of temperate North America.
Tuesday morning, I brushed my hair while stepping out of our tent. A lady from the neighboring camping lot approached me slowly and said: “Look to your left and move slowly away”. First, I thought, she was talking about a venomous snake or a bobcat or something really frightening. It was White-tailed Deer. But that young deer was so close, if I had stretched my arm out, I could have touched its nose. Not a good idea! The annual reports show that accidents happen more with “cute little bambies & bunnies” than with any other “dangerous” wildlife. Because some stupid tourists think, oh look at that sweet little deer, take photos while hugging them and wonder why they get kicked in the groin. On the other hand, there have been “only” three bobcat attacks in the last Century. And usually the cats only attacked, because they were cornered … by tourists. Do you get the point? (I could tell some interesting stories; I’ve witnessed on my two-day trip in Yellowstone N.P. in 2010. But that’s material worth writing in another blog.) Back to the white-tailed deer buck: Kevin and Katelynn came back to our campground from getting cleaned up. I told them to be very quiet. Kevin picked up the camera and filmed the three deer on our lot. One thought it owns the place, while the other two were licking stones to get minerals. Katelynn and I sat on a boulder and watched them from a safer place. We also invited more camp neighbors to capture photos of the deer. Sharing is caring!
After the deer adventure, we packed up and drove to the Tusayan Ruins & Museum. It was very interesting to see how ancient people lived at the edge of the Grand Canyon. The rest of Tuesday, we traveled east on I-40 to get to a motel close by the Petrified Forest National Park. We wanted to be well rested, before we visited the park and travelled back home to Texas.
In the afternoon, we went with the raft from the Glen Canyon Dam to Lee’s Ferry. It was a 4½ hour tour on the Colorado River in the Glen Canyon. Chuck, our tour guide and rafter, told us interesting stories and read us poems about the canyon. At the NE corner of the Horseshoe Bend, we stopped and looked at the Ancient Anasazi Petroglyphs. Some of these petroglyphs symbolize that these native people found a herd of pronghorns close by. A more hidden one shows what we believe to be an eagle. Back on the raft and further down the river, we saw some very interesting stone formations. My favorite one is Finger Arch. The afternoon trip on the river was fun and definitely not boring. We were surprised, Katelynn lasted that long. But she crashed in my arms on the tour bus, when we were on our way back to Page. It was a long day for her. She was sleeping in the car all the way back to the Grand Canyon Village. And she was very happy to snuggle with her little lamb “Mimi” in her sleeping bag that night.
Kevin, Katelynn and I spent three nights at the Grand Canyon. On the day of arrival, we put up the tent, checked out the Village and looked in the canyon from the South Rim. I remember very well how I reacted when I was standing at the rim for the first time. First, I looked all the way down. I have fear of heights, and for some reason it comforted me looking down. And as I went up with my head looking at this vast Grand Canyon, my jaw stayed in place wide open. My eyes began to water. And I must have been standing there like this for a while. Because Kevin asked me: “When are you going to shoot some photos?” Let me say something to you: If you ever need a reality check and you need to come back down to the carpet, go to the Grand Canyon. This is one of the most sacred places, which will definitely put you in your place as a human being on this beautiful planet. We are literally only a speck of dust.
The following day, we did some more hiking at the canyon. Katelynn got a Junior Ranger Patch for doing some research, with the help of her parents of course. Kevin and I learned a lot of fun facts about the canyon and its surrounding area as well. Sometimes it doesn’t need to be explained in adult words. It is nice, when it is as simple that even a 4-year-old can understand it. And we did a little tour with a Park Ranger. We really enjoyed it. And we look at the desert in a whole new way. Before the tour, I thought the desert was a dry, dead place. But the Park Ranger advised us that the desert is very alive.