On the way from Page, AZ, to Ogden, Utah, at the recommendation of Rosalie Terman back in The Villages, we stopped in briefly at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kenab, Utah. We had just missed the tour, but watched their movie and chatted with a staff member. This well-known and celebrity-supported sanctuary has about 1,700 animals under their care at any one time at their 3,500 acre facility, with most of them up for adoption (wildlife under rehabilitation are the exceptions).
I think the sanctuary’s mission is noble, but have to admit I didn’t agree with one of their premises, that “breed discrimination” is wrong. This concept refers to certain local laws prohibiting Pit Bulls and Rottweilers. At the risk of alienating owners of these adorable little beasts, I think that anyone who owns a dog like that (1) needs his head examined, and (2) should be required to carry a ten million dollar liability policy before he can acquire his/her “pet”.
On a lighter note, we are now at Hill Air Force Base in Odgen, Utah, visiting friends and catching our breath after lots of mountain and desert driving. We have completed several very mundane (but necessary) tasks like washing The Coach (not an insignificant endeavor) and our Toad (the Honda CR-V that is towed behind our RV). We also washed both kayaks, which had gotten Lake Powell mud in them and accumulated a few extra ounces of road dirt from 3,300 miles of highway travel from Florida to Utah, even though they were protected by full-length covers. Hill AFB is the home of two F-16 fighter wings, and we often laughingly comment about “the Sound of Freedom” as the sleek Fighting Falcons take off on afterburners.
Being at a military base also gives us the chance to use the base fitness center and running track, which is located a mere 30 paces from our front door. In fact, we just walked over to the gym for a weight workout, but didn’t realize that it closes at 1600 (4:00 PM) on Saturdays… of course, Navy, Army and Marine Corps gyms would probably be open until 7:00 PM, but I wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m casting aspersions on our sister service of Junior Birdmen… There was one very impressive young girl there being coached by her dad; she was sprinting 50 yard repeats, with a 45 lb barbell weight attached to a harness around her waist. She was enthusiastic, and very fast!
While walking Rudy and Gretchen, they caught the scent of some local residents, some Potguts. Okay, okay, you’re laughing now about some old retired Air Force guys trying to get back into shape on the track, right? Well, actually, Potguts are the colloquial name for Uinta ground squirrels (Urocitellus armatus). These little buggers are ferocious burrowers, and there are piles of dirt all over the soccer field and grounds around buildings here. Potguts are diurnal creatures, and are only active for 3 ½ months in the late spring and summer before they begin estivation and hibernation.
Like I mentioned, our Dachshunds got a sniff of the squirrels, and here they are trying to burrow into the Potguts’ burrow. I had to hold their leashes really tight so they wouldn’t bury themselves and get stuck in the hole!
We went hiking in the Wasatch mountains on Saturday in Farmington Canyon. My Lovely Bride snapped this picture of Your Humble Correspondent catching his breath and enjoying the scenery. The trail was flanked with wildflowers for most of our hike. Other hikers also had seen a rattlesnake on the trail. I suggested Suzanne lead so that she could get a good photo of a mature, aggressive Western Diamondback, but she poked me with her hiking stick and said, “Get moving, Sailor!”
She was in a sweeter mood later at this overlook of the lovely mountain stream babbling in the background. It is amazing how quiet the mountains are, even near a major metropolitan area, once you get a quarter mile or so off the road.
Even Wonder Woman needs a rest during a strenuous hike, and here she is trying to relax for a few. (No trees were injured during the shooting of this photo.)