September 24th, 2007

marci

Weekend With Scruff E

Kitty was away having a girls' weekend with college buddies so I decided to have a boyz weekend with scruff_e_coyote. He came down to Fur Central, lured by the prospect of doing some camping with the bear. The weather forecast was a bit unsettled, so we decided to fore go the camping and just do a day trip up to Bandelier National Monument. Scruff liked the idea since the park helps complete the picture of Southwest Native American culture from the early days of Mesa Verde to the modern pueblos of today. We started hiking at about 12:30 on Saturday and finished just after 6. We toured the major ruins and took a nice trek down to the Rio Grande. Needless to say that I was a tired bear after all of that walking. I was not too tired, however, to fix a nice fish dinner for both of us. Of course I had to wear my "Yiff the Cook" apron.

There were 2 interesting things that happened during the drive to and from the park. While driving through the town of White Rock I noticed a raven pecking at some roadkill in the middle of the highway. As it flew off as I approached, I noticed that the roadkill was not dead! I pulled off to the side of the road and walked back to the critter. It was a large rodent about the size of rat. It was probably a pack rat or something similar. I nudged it with my foot trying to get it to move out of the road. It hopped on my foot. I don't know if it was trying to bite my foot or just trying to seek refuge from the ravens. There was blood on my shoe and the critter was wheezing. It had most likely been hit by a car and was probably on it's last breaths. After failing to nudge it off the road I gave it a boot onto the side of the road. It scurried into the grass. I got back in the vehicle and then we watched the drama unfold. It was surrounded by 4 ravens and they would all try to grab it by the tail. At one point one of the ravens tried to fly off with it but it was bitten by the feisty rodent. The way it moved around it was not clear how wounded it actually was. It was somewhat of a quandary for me. Should I put it out of its misery? Was it not mortally wounded and perhaps would survive? Should I shoo it to safety or simply let nature take it's course even if that meant it getting eaten alive? (Mmmmmmm. Vore.) We were amazed by the ineptitude of the ravens. They had nice big sharp beaks, but their only method of attack seemed to be to try to grab it by the tail. After about 15 minutes we got bored with the live-action nature show, and so we never found out the fate of the little guy.

The other neat thing we saw was a very large weather/scientific balloon just before sunset. It was a very noticeable white dot right next to the rising moon. Just after sunset it became extremely obvious as it caught the sunlight so high in the sky while the rest of the landscape was dark. It was about 1/10 the size of the nearly full moon. I can't seem to find any info on the web about it. I know NASA launches large balloons from eastern New Mexico. One floated over ABQ a week or so ago. Heck, it could be the same balloon drifting back to the east.
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