Showing posts from March, 2018

Orchards Community Park

Back in high school and college I kept a little journal of quotes, mostly song lyrics but also lines from books I had read.  I obsessed over them, doodling Kerouac quotes and Bad Religion songs in the margins of my class notes, engraving my favorites into the back covers of my notebooks.  I don't do this much anymore but the lines will still pop in my head at random times.

When I first pulled into a parking spot at Orchards Community Park a line from Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment appeared in my brain, written down back in 1997 or 98 while sharing a dorm room in Boston with one of my best friends, Carrie.  Carrie had to read Crime and Punishment for class, and to be obnoxious and avoid my own homework, I decided to read it faster.  This did not pan out because that Carrie can read so damn quickly (she's now an English teacher) but I ended up really enjoying the book.  This is the line:

Arriving at this random 5-mile radius spot nestled in a corner where the interstate m…

The 5MR Revolution.

Lately I've been thinking about the hierarchy of birds, for example how a new Clark County bird is often more exciting to me than a life bird in another state.  A new yard bird better than a new state bird.  A new state bird seen in the yard?  Even better.  The reward is higher for me when I'm closer to home.

Creating a 5MR list keeps the fun going by factoring another level in the hierarchy, one that is high on the scale of reward.

It seems other birders appreciate the hierarchy as well since there has been a 5MR EXPLOSION on eBird, with piles of California 5MR's (thanks to blog-lurker Kevin L in SoCal), not to mention an Olympia one and a Florida one (yay, Caroline!). 

This attention combined with the recent public endorsement of 5MR's by famous bird blogger Seagull Steve, I figured it was time to dust off my own 5MR and work on my local patches.  I've hit Meadowbrook Marsh on foot a couple times recently which picked me up six motorless year birds, including a c…

Coyote Wall

Super popular hikes aren't often appealing to me and I've driven through the gorge enough times to know that the Coyote Wall trailhead is usually packed with cars.  Almost as bad as Dog Mountain, another gorge hike I've managed to avoid for the almost 16.5 years I've lived here.  But this week Jacob and I had a brisk and rainy weekday off together so it seemed like the best possible time to try a popular hike. We arrived just before 9 and were the first to park at the trailhead.  Good start.

This area is popular for a few reasons including the stunning views of the gorge, the wildflower scene, the mountain biking action, and the general Instagram-friendly look to the place.  Douglas' grass widow was the most conspicuous flower blooming on our hike.

Western Meadowlarks were singing and Bald Eagles soared low over our heads as we gained elevation.  Our plan was a shorter loop involving the Moab and Little Maui Trails, but we got a little confused and took a longer ro…