Quiet and Calm in the Interior West
After 125 days of “quarantine”, our family had grown weary. With the COVID case count growing, and stay-at-home measures increasing, we decided it was time to flee Los Angeles. Our destination was a part of south central Utah that the old-timers called Wonderland. My wife’s parents have an amazing house on a wind-swept mesa in Torrey, Utah. It’s a tiny little town, perfectly situated for easy adventures to the red rocks and slot canyons of Capitol Reef National Park or to the alpine lakes and forest of the Aquarius Plateau and Boulder Mountain. The area is a designated International Dark Sky Park, with better views of the Milky Way than I’ve ever seen. You’re lucky to visit this area any time. These days, it has an added attraction. COVID (like high-speed internet) is just a rumor around here.
We arrived just before sunset on Wednesday. The wide open space, the quiet, the beauty – it all added up to a calm that I hadn’t felt in weeks. This morning, I took a walk around the mesa. There aren’t a lot of birds right where we’re staying, but the ones that come by are great to see. The first two birds I saw were a Pinyon Jay and a Mountain Bluebird. I added Juniper Titmouse, Lark Sparrows, and Violet-green Swallows. I also found an odd-looking sparrow that I assumed to be a partially leucistic Black-throated Sparrow
The highlight of the day came this evening – clear views of the comet Neowise zooming through the universe. The photo at the top was taken from our bedroom balcony. I’m so excited that we’ll be spending the next two weeks here in Utah. My target bird is a Northern Goshawk. They can be found on Boulder Mountain, but not reliably. You have to be in the right place at the right time. Crossing my fingers I can finally add it to my life list.