March 04, 2006

Our 2005 Summer Bus Tour of California and Canyons

Is it too late to post some things about our vacation last summer? I have no idea why we did not do this earlier, but no more excuses.
This time, we traveled for 23 days visiting 4 national parks including Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, and Yosemite. The visits we rather short, but not so short as to get 50 more birds for my life list. One of the best sightings was 3 California condors in Grand Canyon National Park. I never dreamed that I would ever see such a magnificent bird! (It is not even in a birding field guide, because it is so rare. The chicks are raised by hand, then banded and released in the park. A few years ago, there were only 16 in the wild. I don't know the exact count now, but it is extremely low, so seeing 3 of them land on a ledge a long way down was indescribable. At Yosemite, we got several great looks at a pair of western tanagers, (look in a field guide to see this gorgeous bird), and 3 male evening grosbeaks, just hopping around on the ground.

The highlight of the trip was meeting up with Tom Mos. in San Francisco. We spent a great, but too short, evening in his beautiful condo. Boy, is he a good cook and great host! In addition, he hired a bird guide who took us 50 miles up the coast in search of a variety of western birds. (Poor Tom had to do all the driving, and serve the rather exotic lunch on the trunk of his car.) It was great!

On the return trip, amazingly enough, we met my brother Tom Stahl and Faye in Las Vegas! Crazy, isn't it to meet up with my family from Ohio in Nevada?

When we arrived home, we called Gunther Tours (in Glen Burnie) and reserved the coming summer's trip to Alaska (2006), which includes a 1 week cruise of the inner passage and return through Alberta, to some of the same spots we saw 2 years ago, and also a trip to northern California and Oregon in summer 2007. Of course, with Andy's health issues, we may not do the Alaska trip this summer, but you never know. We are really enjoying the opportunity to see so much of our gorgeous country. Anybody want to go along?

Posted by Skip & Carol at 12:47 PM to the | Comments (2)