Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Coyotes at the Dunes

Last night (update -- Thursday night) we camped at Bruneau Sand Dunes in Southern Idaho.  It was a sparse landscape, burnt brush and sand, buttes and several sand dunes where one might expect Peter O'Toole and a troop of Arabs on camels to ride in to epic theme music, but "Western" when one points the camera away from the dunes.  We arrived after 7 PM, with the temperature still above 90, and a single baby aspen lending barely a gesture of shade at our site.  We just had time to cook and decorate hamburgers, set up our tent, clean up a bit, and look around , before dusk came on.  As the sun released its last rays through a band of reddish clouds on the horizon, then disappeared, the top third of a pumpkin-like orb appeared resting on the far horizon. 

A full moon brings out wolves, and in the middle of the night coyotes (their lean cousins) began to hunt.  We wondered where they'd been hiding, or even where their prey had been hiding, the landscape seemed so barren. But the next morning, climbing up one of the dunes, and hiking around the little lake that lay beneath the dunes (ruining our Far Side "crawling through the desert dying of thirst" poses), multiple little footprints crossed the sand between soft-green bushes and desert flowers.  Many were of strange, non-mammalian shape, like little "x's."

The desert is alive. 

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