Owl Canyon Part One

Nestled within the beautiful Lake Mead Recreation Area, lies Owl Canyon, where its visitors are hikers and its inhabitants are owls! Starting the hike with a steep downhill descent, while pondering the steepness of the climb back to the car, is an interesting experience of…should we turn back now! There was too much excitement, however, of where the trail would lead. At first it looks as if one will wander out into the abyss of the desert and then a trail pops up at the base of the hill. Following this path up another incline leads to a wonderland of seashells. Yes, I wrote seashells! In the middle of an arid desert, there are seashells scattered across the land. This led to much conversation about how Lake Mead was once under water and how the shells got there in the first place. After the windy path of shells there is open desert and the trail is unmarked. On the internet it says it is easy to get lost and I can understand this. We went left toward what looked like the canyon. We read prior that there was a slot canyon and this is why we wanted to go in the first place. Also, for the chance of seeing owls.

The trail had a lot of foot traffic on it but we were fortunate to have a very long time of it just being us and our dog. We kept him on leash just to be safe and were super happy we did. Eventually, there were many people and dogs of all sizes walking through the canyon. We spotted owl droppings, nesting areas, nests, feathers, pellets, all while walking through the cool canyon shade. The rocks spoke to me and danced around in my mind. Later I would find a restless night’s sleep due to how much inspiration I encountered in the canyon. The sound of the rocks and stones beneath our feet is still ringing in my ears with pure enjoyment. I love digging my shoes into sandy or rocky paths and getting a nice leg workout while exploring. My favorite part of the hike had to be watching our daughter look up and all around in such wonder. This is definitely a family friendly trail and there is so much to see as well as touch. Our child loved it! Stay tuned for more of the story and descriptions on Thursday. Until then, thank you for reading and have a marvelous Monday!

-Karen Hilliard

What? A Bighorn!!

Sometimes I just have to stop and stare in awe with pure amazement at what I see. In the morning with the brisk air upon our faces and the sun rising over the mountains, we looked up to see a magnificent beast of a bighorn in front of us. When out in nature it is so very important to respect the habitat of wild animals. No picture was taken at this time. The bighorn sheep was walking and wandering around solo looking for food. He saw us, and ran up the mountain face bounding with such strength and agility. We were forever impressed by the speed of this animal. Our dog just sat and watched marveling at this creature before us. One day I will paint this experience and may add another blog about the emotions, as there were many, and I still will not be able to describe the feelings of wonder.

We have seen bighorn before and photographed herds of them. We saw some in Zion, UT, while kayaking Black Canyon, AZ, and in Valley of Fire here in Nevada. Still, wow, this one was special. The way our dog reacted with such calmness and the still of the air was amazing. The colors of the morning sky were breathtaking and my husband holding my hand gave me all the feels. This was truly a special and spectacular event in my life. I was able to take some photographs of the wash with the perfect light of day. I created a few paintings and kept some solely as photographs. Finding a branch from a bush sitting staring at the sky was my favorite picture. The temperature that day was a perfect cool desert morning. 

Walking along the trail after seeing this profound animal, we just kept smiling. Have you ever had a day like this, where everything goes right, and magical things keep happening? It was interesting that the air was cool in the middle of July. These months are usually filled with heat warnings and severe dry weather. We were able to stay out longer than we thought due to such wonderful conditions. We explored further on the trail than we had gone before and were able to observe a cluster of rocks coming up from the earth. We tried to get a photograph close up to the rocks in the hopes of making them look like a canyon even though they were at the level of our feet. We felt like giants in a wonderland. I look forward to painting these pictures for you and adding them to my Lake Mead series. Stay tuned and look for them on the website soon!

Thank you for reading and have a great Monday!

-Karen Hilliard