Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A ramble in the sagebrush

We thought that since both my husband and the kids had a day off yesterday, we'd go to lunch and look for a place to go target shooting. I had some very sketchy directions from the Hunter Ed instructors, and after filling the kids with corndogs and fries, we proceeded out into the sagebrush to look for a gravel pit.

We drove south for a while, past ranches and a little town that had one gas station to it, past flooded fields and the occasional mansion. (Who builds those things out there in the middle of nowhere? What is the good of ostentatious housing when there is no one around to admire you?) We ended in a little town that we were sure was further south than this supposed gravel pit we were trying to find. So my husband found a road he sometimes travels on the way home from work.

We passed, and later came back to, some rock piles on one side of the road. I made him stop because I saw, beyond the rotting carcass of a lost cow, these beautiful creatures...

Here's a somewhat closer look, although the quality isn't as good. This is a moment where I wish I had one of those expensive cameras with a quality zoom lens. We were maybe 75 feet (I suck at judging distances) away. It was the closest I'd ever been to an eagle that wasn't in a zoo.

This one was sitting on another rock pile, not far from the first one. They were both picking at something. We speculated it was part of the cow right by the road.

There was a dirt road that went around the back of the rock piles, so we nudged our van forward nice and slow hoping we wouldn't get stuck. We ended up in the middle of lots of rock piles on the other side of the eagles. We stopped the van and the eagles took flight, circling around us before finally disappearing. We found several shot out chairs and empty casings all over the place. If this wasn't the gravel pit the instructors had told me about, it was an acceptable substitute.

We gave the kids a chance to fire off a few .22 rounds at a target, but most of their shots hit the rock piles instead. The temperatures were freezing and the wind chill made it worse, so we didn't stay long. My hubby took a couple of shots with his handgun. We were there maybe 20 minutes and then we left. By the time we got home we had driven a large circle around the valley.

We haven't done a little drive like that with the family in a long while. It was nice. Even the 12 year old came without complaining too much, always a plus. I can't wait for spring so we can explore some of the nearby canyons.


Lourie said...

Now that is cool!!! And so cool that you all just took in your surroundings rather than getting hot under the collar about being lost.(A huge fault of mine) And yes the canyons in UT are quite beautiful. Can't wait to hear about those adventures.

Elaine said...

Wow... real eagles! Who knew they existed?? ;) I don't think I've ever see one that close either!

And I agree...drives are so nice!!


Crystal Escobar said...

Wow! That is amazing!!! That first picture actually does look professional. Very beautiful!

Andrew said...

That's awesome! I thought they only existed in Alaska. When Dad told me there are some here in Utah, I didn't believe. And now you me positive proof. I would love to see one in the wild.

JustRandi said...

WOW on the eagles!!

And hey - anytime you go anywhere with a 12 year old and only have minor resistance, that's a successful outing!