Thursday, July 10, 2014

Spectacular Sun Rise — Return of the Pocket Gopher

Coyote Creek, NM

Here at the state park the sun has to climb a high hill or small mountain before it sheds its light on our creek below. At first there is only a faint glow in the sky. The clouds floating above the mountain are tinged with pink. But the mountain and the valley are dark. The sun climbs.

Then just before 7:00 the sun scales the eastern slope and burns an arc-like light at first through the trees. Within minutes it climbs higher shining brighter and brighter like a white hot star.

It does so until bright star-like light wakens the camp.

The normally shy southwest Pocket Gopher tunnels in the soft ground here throwing up mounds of black earth. The one at my campsite, however, is not so shy. Perhaps other campers before me have fed him.

Our new friend pops his head out into the sun
At breakfast this morning he broke through the earth and looked around. That was our cue to bring out the walnuts, cashews, basil leaves and a cinnamon cookie or two and approach. He seemed undeterred by our presence.

Nibblingly, he takes a gift or two from our fingers. If it is small, like a nut, he eats it. If it is larger, a cookie or a leaf, he carries back down into the bowels of his earthen home.

Fearless, he sniffs a gift of basil leaf

...and claims it for his own


  1. It certainly looks like that gopher has the campers figured out.


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