Author Archives: Ranger Kim
Ravens are one of the most commonly seen animals at Dead Horse Point State Park. They are incredibly smart and good at finding food, and can usually be found near people. I remember sitting at Delicate Arch one evening eating a pop tart and watching a raven hop closer and closer, hoping I would drop something for it to snatch up.
They love campgrounds! Campers who fail to put away their food before leaving for the day often come back to find it gone–one camper even reported that a raven had stolen a steak off their grill one evening. They went inside their RV to grab something and came back to an empty grill. No wonder they have a reputation for being mischievous tricksters! They have been known to break into styrofoam coolers and pop-up trailers by ripping through the mesh. To avoid a mess and “stolen” food, use hard coolers and make sure all food is stored in a safe place.
As the morning sun heats the cliffs below the park, air currents, called thermals, begin to rise. Ravens soar up and down,… Read the rest
Any guesses how it got its name?
Deep potholes can hold rainwater for more than a month! These are an important water source for mule deer, desert bighorn sheep and many other animals.
Aquatic animals and insects even take advantage of this water source, including a couple species of amphibian (spadefoot toad and red-spotted toad), fairy shrimp, clam shrimp, tadpole shrimp and a variety of aquatic insects. When potholes are dry they don’t look like much, but once it rains, eggs start hatching! Animals that have dried up, laying in wait, rehydrate and continue their lives. Some insect larvae can lose up to 80% of the water in their bodies!
It’s fun to see and hear amphibians… Read the rest
On a dark, clear night, over 2,000 stars are visible in the sky. The area in and near Dead Horse Point State Park has some of the darkest skies found in the United States. Rangers at Dead Horse Point take advantage of these dark nights, providing various astronomy programs and full moon hikes throughout the summer and fall. The full moon doesn’t provide for dark skies, but it does offer great nighttime views of the canyons below the park.
Astronomy programs cover a variety of themes and, weather and temperature permitting, include viewing stars and planets through a telescope. One program focuses on astronomical events and features (including visible planets) while another focuses on how the night sky as connected us as humans for thousands of years. These dark skies are an important resource and need to be protected. Learn how to protect our dark skies and nocturnal animals by attending these programs!
Full moon hikes are offered once a month and cover topics including lunar features and nocturnal animals. The moon is over 238,000 miles from the earth and still plays a large part in our lives. Nocturnal and crepuscular animals living in the park include coyote, kit fox,… Read the rest
It steals your hat, makes electricity and can tear down buildings. What is it? Wind, of course! ….and we’ve been getting a lot of it in Utah recently. I was curious about where it comes from so I looked up some information and decided to share it here!
Air molecules are moving constantly and are always bumping into each other. The more air molecules there are in a certain area, the higher the air pressure. Air pressure is just the amount of force (or weight of the air) that is hitting any given area at a certain time. Changes in air pressure over horizontal distances causes air molecules to rush from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure.
In other words, as the sun heats the air, it rises. Cooler air rushes in to fill in the space, making wind.
This video shows the flag blowing in the wind on Memorial Day.
Park staff set up the park’s wildlife camera in a new location and left it alone for a week or so. The result was a great coyote picture and a picture of a black-tailed jackrabbit.
These pictures were taken in the same location, but luckily for the jackrabbit, not at the same time! Coyotes hunt for black-tailed jackrabbits, desert cottontails, kit fox and rodents but will settle for carrion (dead animals), deer, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and even grasshoppers or fruit if times are hard. They have an undeserved reputation for preying on livestock (sheep and cows), but are known to focus mainly on rodents and rabbits.
Campers, early-morning or late-evening visitors to Dead Horse Point may be lucky enough to hear coyotes barking or howling, communicating with each other over long distances.
Every time I catch myself getting disappointed about the “spring” weather here in the desert, I’m reminded that the rain (and sometimes snow) provides moisture for the wildflowers that are soon to come!
I’ve already seen Milkvetch (various species) and Newberry’s Twinpod blooming up on the mesa at Dead Horse Point. Following will be Phlox, Utah Penstemmon, Serviceberry, cliffrose and a rainbow of various other flowers.
Flowers start blooming early May through the end of June, depending on the weather and amount of precipitation. Some flowers even take advantage of summer’s afternoon thunderstorms by flowering a second time, in August and September! Snakeweed, Rabbitbrush and Fremont’s Buckwheat bloom only in the fall and are blamed for seasonal allergies.
Though I live in Moab, I’m not a particularly skilled mountain biker, but I’m trying! I have a bike and I’ve done a few easy and moderate trails. One of the few trails in the Moab area that is not too intense or difficult is the Intrepid Trail System at Dead Horse Point State Park. It’s a fun ride over mesa-top terrain with amazing views along the way. It’s great for experienced bikers wanting a less challenging ride with great views and short hikes, or people like me who want to improve their mountain biking skills.
The four-mile Great Pyramid Loop is good for a short ride that lasts about an hour. It is mostly slickrock and hard surfaces, with a few moderately technical areas. The nine-mile Big Chief Loop has a few more challenging areas for riders to test their skills before tackling Moab’s more difficult mountain bike trails.