October 06, 2012

Zion National Park, Utah -- part 6 of 10


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photo by Donald Kinney

Life is a zoo. And zoos are--well, never mind... But I was reminded of just what a "city" boy I am when I spotted these Desert Bighorn Sheep in Zion National Park. To be honest, at first I mistakenly thought they were Mountain Goats--after all they certainly didn't look like any type of Sheep I had ever seen.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

I noticed four or five cars pulled to the side of the road. People were pointing. I knew something was up. And there they were, a whole group. I hesitate to call it a flock--as in a flock of Sheep. Maybe the correct term is a tribe. Or perhaps a herd. Oh, but I KNOW it isn't a gaggle, as in a gaggle of Geese... Oh, as usual, for Don, ignorance is bliss.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

They were close by, down in a ravine carefully foraging on what looked to be a fairly prickly and dry dinner. Three males in the group, but it was pretty clear which of those males was in charge. He was unabashedly going from female to female, "investigating" opportunities. Like I mentioned, I am a "city" boy--I don't know exactly how these things work, but I think I got the general idea. (L.O.L., as they say)



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

According to Wikipedia, the park's unique geography and variety of life zones allow for unusual plant and animal diversity. Numerous plant species as well as 289 species of birds, 75 mammals (including 19 species of bat), and 32 reptiles inhabit the park's four life zones: desert, riparian, woodland, and coniferous forest. Zion National Park includes mountains, canyons, buttes, mesas, monoliths, rivers, slot canyons, and natural arches.



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photo by Donald Kinney

Human habitation of the area started about 8,000 years ago with small family groups of Native Americans; the semi-nomadic Basketmaker Anasazi (300 CE) stem from one of these groups. In turn, the Virgin Anasazi culture (500 CE) developed as the Basketmakers settled in permanent communities. A different group, the Parowan Fremont, lived in the area as well. Both groups moved away by 1300 and were replaced by the Parrusits and several other Southern Paiute subtribes. Mormons came into the area in 1858 and settled there in the early 1860s. In 1909, U.S. President William Howard Taft named the area a National Monument to protect the canyon, under the name of Mukuntuweap National Monument. In 1918, however, the acting director of the newly created National Park Service changed the park's name to Zion.



click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

The geology of the Zion and Kolob canyons area includes 9 formations that together represent 150 million years of mostly Mesozoic-aged sedimentation. At various periods in that time warm, shallow seas, streams, ponds and lakes, vast deserts, and dry near-shore environments covered the area. Uplift associated with the creation of the Colorado Plateaus lifted the region 10,000 feet starting 13 million years ago.

Thank you, Wikipedia... I don't know what I would do without you.

That night I took one look at hundreds of campers getting ready to bed down in the tent camping area of the park. I knew that wasn't my style so I found a great spot to spend the night as the guest of the Bureau of Land Management in a remote area east of Zion. During the night I was treated to a cacophony of howling and singing by what sounded to be a large pack of Wolves. Or at least, I THINK that's what they were--like I mentioned, I've discovered I am more of a "city" boy than I had previously thought.


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5 comments:

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

Happy for you to see the sheep, city boy. You're moving awfully fast through this adventure. I feel we're missing out on a lot.

AphotoAday said...

Well, for a 10 day trip, it was a whirl-wind. I made about 3000 snaps. When I was a kid I used to torture friends and family with slide-shows. I needed to strap everyone into their seats and administer pep-pills to keep everybody awake.

Stefano Mazzei said...

beautiful reportage and great photos... I had the pleasure of visiting 12 years ago ... is a wonderful place

AphotoAday said...

Thanks STEFANO for the nice compliment. I took a look at the wildlife photos on your blog--you do really great work! I'll add you to my side-bar links so at least I can find you easily in the future.

ZielonaMila said...

Wonderful photographs, wonderful views. I am greeting

 
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