May 27, 2015
By 9:00 am Wednesday morning, skies were bright blue, lunch (two smoothies in a freezer bag) was packed, gas tank was full, and we were on our way to Dome Plateau with Lynn, Dave and Richie.
The trail begins at the historic Dewey Bridge on Hwy 128 about 25ish miles from Portal.
Before we started the actual trail, we explored a two level domicile chiseled into the base of a huge rock structure located just past Dewey Bridge. It was pretty neat...had a fire place, an upstairs, and plumbing...with a very nice view! At some point the ceiling, although reinforced with plates and steel rods, had collapsed just in front of the fireplace. We commented that hopefully the occupants had moved on prior to the collapse.
While there, we observed cliff Swallows. They fly in fast and dive head first into very intricate mud nests. Colonies like these are usually large with busy birds building and/or chasing insects.
|We could see the bright forehead in the dim entrance of several nests.|
|We named that rock... locomotive.|
The trail heads west as it follows the Colorado River with a series of small rocky ledges to climb on private property. There is a gate to open and close when passing through.
There is lots to explore on DP...arches, natural wind-formed caves, grand overlooks, and even cabins from an old mining camp.
As we were getting into a rhythm Joe and I saw something white roll out on the trail in front of us. We stopped to check it out. This snake had just snagged a meal...a first for us to see. Although it seems cruel, it is the way of nature and as shocking as it was to witness we felt honored to have the opportunity.
|We believe the gopher snake had just captured it's prey and his struggle to hold his asphyxiating grip caused them to roll from the tall grass into our path.|
|He slowly uncoiled...|
|...took hold of his meal...|
|...and carried it away from the trail.|
|We left as the "transport cycle" to get his meal to his belly began.|
|We were looking for 3 "noteworthy" arches.|
|We parked and took a small hike to what we think is the first arch. Our guide was published in 2008. Since that time, wind and rain have not been kind to this one.|
The second arch we spotted from the trail.
And the third arch was our lunch spot.
|This arch is named La Boca...translated The Mouth.|
This is a great lunch spot. Nice and cool!
|Richie flew his drone through La Boca. I cant wait to see the video and pictures!|
|Yikes! How did that get in here?|
|I was thrilled to find untouched desert crust (cryptobiotic soil) with established plants. "Don't crush the crust!"|