Sunday, March 29, 2009

Antelope Island II

We went to Antelope Island again yesterday, and I have to say, this place is underrated any way you look at it (at least in the winter and early spring, before the bugs come out).  First, how lucky are we to be able to see bison within an hour of our home?  We also saw pronghorn antelope as the night set in. Very cool.

As you can see if you look past those two drop-dead handsome boys, when you get out here before sunset you see the whole Wasatch Front lit up before you.  It is a knockout vista. This was taken from Buffalo Point after a short but steepish hike.  The boys and I were alone on this one, because poor Kate was sick and unable to make the trip with us, mom had to stay home and do the taxes (in case I haven't mentioned it hear lately, I really love that woman). 

The views to the west and south are just as good.  Keegan was a real gamer on our hike, insisting on walking and going everywhere Alden went, and Alden was just great, running up the trail and so happy just to be exploring.  His first words to me when we got to the island were "Dad, are we far from the city? I want to see how far away we are from the city. This is great!"  

The top of Buffalo Point is filled with really great scrambling and climbing rocks, and the kids just went to town.  No need for a play structure when you have these. It kept them very busy until sunset.  Even then they didn't want to leave -- Alden exclaimed "Darn!  I should have brought a flashlight!" Keegan was a little more anxious to get out of the constant stiff wind, but hung in, nonetheless, for a sunset photo before we headed back.

We topped it off with a cone at Nielson's on the way home. Tough to beat that, if you ask me. 

I Am Not Tired Dad!

A week ago Keegan was my little buddy. He was sick, and just wanted to be with me every minute of the day.  That is pretty endearing, but he was so tired all the time he could hardly hold his head up.  However, whenever I asked him if he wanted a nap, I got a sharp NO! in response.  His last words before falling asleep in mid-McNugget bite:  "I am NOT tired dad. I'm Not."  And yes, I did have to fish half-chewed McNugget out of his mouth before I layed him down in bed.

He has been such a sweetheart lately. He just loves giving big hugs to grandma, grandpa, and all of his family.  Multiple kisses are also a favorite activity.  And it is pretty clear he has his Dad's tender heart.  He has been very concerned for Kate while she has been sick, snuggling her with all his might.  Then last week his brother came home crying because the neighbor boy refused to let him borrow a toy gun.  (Nicholas was right about that -- the last one took months to pry from Alden and give back.)  Keegan grew very concerned, headed into the kitchen, grabbed two fistfuls of just-made brownie, and ran to console his brother with them.  Of course Alden, being in that "I didn't get my way so I am going to be a pill" mood, just slapped them away, and poor Keegan was heartbroken.  I think he cried harder than Alden.  

The greatest thing is to hear Keegan talk, though. One of these days I have to figure out how to post video to blog, because it is just a kick.  Keep in mind that he is about 5th percentile height (and wouldn't even be 20th percentile weight if he didn't have his dad's belly), so when he sits down next to you and says "So, Dad, how ya been?" or responds to the same question by saying "Oh, I've been pretty good," it really throws you.  He is a lot like Kate when it comes to that, very articulate and observant.  I will have to post some examples when I have more time. All that said, he will probably be what causes me to lose the rest of my too-quickly graying hair (maybe not such a big loss come to think of it), but I sure love my little guy.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bear River Migratory Refuge

On Tuesday we took a break from the routine, and after work the family met me in Ogden to travel just a little further north to the Bear River Migratory Refuge. Some of you may have heard about this place if you have read Terry Tempest Williams at all. It does not take long to find out that it is a truly special place.

On the road in, we saw an owl right away.

There were many Avocets poking around.

And if you have sharp eyes, you can even see a beaver, or a muskrat, depending on who you talk to.  Either way, it is not that often you get to see one of those in the wild, is it?

If you look at this one enlarged,  you will see right away why they call these "Pintail" ducks.

We were there late, and just as the sun was setting, they began to fly in by the hundreds.  Who are they,  you ask?

Tundra Swans. Hundreds of them.  The light was really hazy with high clouds, and gave off this blue quality which really made these beautiful white birds pop out as they floated on the water.

There was one bird that looked like a swan, but was totally black.  Any thoughts?  Immature Tundra  Swan, or something else?

Even without the birds, and in bad light, this place is visually breathtaking.

But the coolest part is not the visual.  You have to hear this place to believe it.  There is so much noise, very primordial. It is worth the trip just to roll down your windows and listen.

As the evening darkened, we drove out, only to see these three pelicans, floating absolutely still in the dim light. Meanwhile, on the other side of the road, this family of deer was munching down.  

All in all, I would say that is not a bad after-work activity.  What a great place.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Antelope Island

Saturday night I took the kids out to Antelope Island.  Kate has been very sick for the last week and a half, and needed to get out of the house; I knew Alden would enjoy Scooby Doo in the car on the way out and back (of course); and I thought Keegan would like seeing a Bison in the wild for the first time (he really did). 

 But most of all, I have been dying to spend more time there.  Winter sunsets in this place are magic, and you know how I love my sunsets.  It did  not disappoint. Here are a few pics.

And we finished it off with a nice moonrise.  All in all, a very good 3 hours.