Sunday, August 2, 2009

Antelope Island

About 3 weeks ago, we took a day trip up to Antelope Island. I'd been there years ago, but it was everyone else's first time. Michelle keeps asking why I haven't blogged about it, so here I am. :)

We tend to do a lot of fun things, but not a lot of outdoorsy things. I want to do a better job of having my kids spend time in nature and let them see what an amazing and beautiful and diverse world we live in. We're already planning a trip to Canada (to see my sister and family, but also to see some sights along the way) next year and probably a trip to Yellowstone. And I'd like to take more day or weekend trips to different places here in Utah. Anyway, the girls were fascinated with the wildlife on Antelope Island.

Michelle and Ella are best of friends. I really think that one of the most rewarding parts of being a mom is watching their relationship blossom. They adore Gabrielle, but she's still too little to really be a playmate. I look forward to watching their relationship with her bloom as she grows.

This was the first buffalo we spotted. We were glad to see one, but hoping we would see more. They are so huge! Michelle had lots of questions. I'd read up a little on Antelope Island and on bison so I could answer some of her questions. Did you know that William Glassman and John Dooly rounded up bison in 1893 and brought them to Antelope Island to protect them? Now there are about 550 bison on Antelope Island, one of the largest publicly owned bison herds in this country. They are also one of the oldest herds. They are rounded up in October each year to be counted, examined, vaccinated, etc. We may go back up there to see this event?!

As we were about to leave, we saw a car parked on the side of the road and people taking pictures. At first, we couldn't tell what they were taking pictures of. But we stopped and got out and saw that there was an antelope sitting in the grass. After we watched him for a bit, he stood up and walked a few steps. As I was taking photos, I must have startled a jackrabbit, because he shot out of the brush and hopped rapidly away. As much as I startled him, he startled me more! I nearly jumped clear out of my skin. Alfredo laughed and laughed that a rabbit had scared me.

There are tons of birds. I wished I had a binocular to observe some of them better. Maybe I could have identified a few? In college, I had to take a zoology class as part of my major and we had to identify like 100 birds. At the time, I hated it. But I've since been grateful for it. I am no bird expert, and I probably never will be, but I'm glad to be able to recognize and name many of the most common birds in Utah. We saw these beautiful hawks circling overhead.

After some more driving, we saw large quantities of bison, including babies. The girls thought this was so cool.

There were several statues of buffalo. This one totally freaked Gabrielle out. She was terrified. She started to shake and cry when Alfredo brought her near it. But the other girls loved it.