Scratch Another One From the Bucket List!

Posted: April 28, 2012 in Photography, RV, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , ,

First, a quickie up-date and then I’ll tell you about the Bucket List thing.  We booted down to Phoenix yesterday to retrieve Bob’s other wife, Shari, from the airport.  From the time we left Flagstaff, to the time we reached Phoenix, the temperature went up 40 degrees, it poured rain, hailed, and then sunned upon us.  Weird day.  There was happy news, though.  The saguaro cacti were in bloom!!  It was amazing!  I’ve never seen that before on previous Phoenix excursions.

How cool is that??

Okay now let me tell you about the Bucket List.

In 1987 the California Condor was on the brink of extinction.  At that time, their numbers had dwindled to a mere 22 birds.  These remaining few Condors were rounded up and, in the most expensive rescue and repopulation program ever undertaken, bred in captivity, and then reintroduced into the wild.  Today they are still extremely endangered, but they number nearly 400.

Long before any of that had happened, I had read somewhere that the California Condor was the biggest bird in North America, with a wingspan of 9 feet or better, a body length up to 52 inches, and weighing, on average, 18 to 23 pounds.  I remember thinking how awesome it would be to see one someday.  So, way back before Bucket Lists were called Bucket Lists, I have had “see a California Condor” on mine.  I had all but given up on this quest in view of the aforementioned endangeredness.  Then!!!  I read online that if the gods were smiling and the stars appropriately aligned, there was a really really thin chance that one might get beyond lucky and spot one soaring over the Grand Canyon. I also read that that odds of that happening were negligible to the point of non-existent.  So I told Bob, “C’mon!  Let’s go find us a Condor!”  “A what?!” was his reply, but we all know that he is wise enough not to ask too many questions when things like this come bubbling forth, right?  Right!

Today, we went to the Grand Canyon!  This is what it looked like:

And this:

THEN!!!!  We saw this:

As you might imagine, I was going off my stick.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so fargin’ excited about anything!  It was absolutely mind-blowing!!

We learned that every one of the remaining Condors has a big number tag on each of its wings, as well as a transmitter for keeping track of all of them.

I am still just thrilled beyond words!

Later on, as we were leaving the Canyon Park area, I wanted to go back to the spot where these photogs were taken and see if we could see more condors.  This is what we encountered:

“Police line??”  What the heck??  Then we spotted this:

There was also a park ranger who was posted to guard the police line.  We asked her what was going on, and she told us (get this!!) that they were doing a body recovery!  I schitt you not!!  I said, “you mean a human body?”  She said that it was.  So, naturally, I wanted to know whether some poor unrequited lover had done a swan dive into the canyon, or had some moron like that tourist in Niagara Falls gotten carried away posing for an over-the-railing picture.  She said she didn’t know how he’d come to be dead and way down in the Canyon, but she said they figured he’d been there for about three days!  Well!  I suppose that explains why the Condors were hanging around just there, huh?  Nummy!

  1. garylijie says:

    Really like your pictures!

  2. I understand it’s the largest hole in the ground in the world. I’m glad it was “feeding time” for the Condors and you were able to get some good pics.

  3. Bruce Byfield says:

    You need to look for the giant feral Nandays that inhabit the Grand Canyon. As I understand it, they’re supposed to come out at night and break into parked cars, looking for replacements for their “Best of Queen” 8-tracks (they’re really not into modern tech).

  4. JOANNE BORDEN says:

    Wow… only took three days to find him, huh? Guess his wife didn’t notice him gone, or didn’t know he’d gone to the Grand Canyon? Wait…..does that sound right to you?

  5. sheokhanda says:

    what is the bird’s name ? Is it a vulture ?

  6. captureford says:

    Just found your blog and I love this story! Your pictures are beautiful and I can’t wait to read more!

  7. reclussive says:

    You know how to tell a story 🙂 🙂 and my god woman thanks again for the obviously bad-ass camera you’ve got. pics are amazing. So, what you are saying is that you are grateful some poor sap bit the big one so the condor could show up and you could get your bucket list in order. because that’s what it sounds like to me. in fact it seems you are so orgasmic over this condor thing, that if you had known they’d show up if a body was at the bottom of the canyon, that you might have bought along your own. or maybe even…oh! my! god! Bob?! Really boots?! Bob?! At the bottom of the canyon?! Just for some bird?! You would have sacrificed good ole Bob had some poor sap not already been down there?? Umm…does Bob know? Yea, you’re right, it’s better if you don’t tell him how close he came…:) 🙂

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