August 2, 2018
We found out that there were 3 fires in the area within the last two months that have burned an extensive part of this area. (Here is a link that shows pictures of one of the fires. Click here.) One fire started at the rest stop that is about 10 miles up the road. There is almost no vegetation at this time. It looks very desolate and it is hard to believe that any animals can survive in this environment. But, some do.
Yesterday, we found several Bighorn ship by the river at the north part of the State Park. There is some vegetation along the river, so it is not surprising the sheep would be there. There are a few babies. Once you get a few feet away from the river, there is no vegetation except for the grassy area around the State Park visitor center and parking lot. This area is regularly watered and the sheep hang out here because of it.
Regis went hiking for about six miles in this desolate landscape. He found a couple seeps/springs where there is a bit of greenery among the barren landscape. He found a few places where the plant life is beginning to come back.
He noticed several animal skeletons. At least some of them are charred, so the bones were there before the fire. With the vegetation gone, it is easy to see all the “hard” stuff left behind.
We learned that in 2016, only one person died in the U.S. from a rattlesnake bite and that person had an underlying health condition. Twelve thousand people died from stairs that same year. Even the vet told me that rattlesnakes are not that big of a concern here. He thinks there is more concern about alligators in Florida. The snakes aren’t interested in being around you. But, like anything, be aware of your surroundings. We also learned that a relocated rattlesnake is a dead rattlesnake. Rattlesnakes spend the winter communally in a specific place. They learn where that place is in their first year and if they are relocated will search endlessly for that place. As a result, they die of starvation and/or exposure because they will not eat while searching for that place.
It is about 10 degrees cooler today, so it is much more bearable.