It’s not that I’ve been remiss in my posting duties so much as I’ve been cruising this side of the country these last couple weeks on a 4,000-mile roadtrip vacation with my wife Susan dealing with various adventures. From mad-skeptical U.S. customs agents at a remote outpost on the Canada/Idaho border who thought we either fit the profiles of homegrown terrists or prescription drug mules (or maybe a bit of both), to our rescuing four abandoned border collie mix pups that we found on Navajo reservation lands off the shoulder of Highway 163 in Utah’s Monument Valley, plus seeing everything in between I’d’ve written sooner but internut access at our various accommodations was more miss than hit. That, and we were pretty busy.
But now that I’m back (and even more exhausted because I was stupidacious and rode in last night’s hawesome Midnight Ridazz after driving the 500 miles yesterday from the Grand Canyon to Silver Lake practically nonstop) I’m attempting to reacclimate to L.A. and to this blog with — what else? — one of the brazillion pictures we took, in this case the magnificent California condor designated as No. 70 from its wing tags, snapped on the southern rim of the Grand Canyon Thursday.
From the Peregrine Fund’s excellent website I found out that No. 70’s a Los Angeles native — a female born May 25, 1991, and reared at the L.A. Zoo. She’s been flying wild since her release at Vermillion Cliffs, Ariz., in December 2000.
As a huge admirer of this rare and endangered creature and (the most current stats from December 2005 show 273 total condors with 127 of those existing in the wild) I’ve only seen them in the wild once before and that was one I spotted in 2003 soaring waaaay up in the skies somewhere inland between Pismo Beach and Lompoc in the middle of a bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I was deeply moved by that distant encounter, but suffice it to say that Thursday’s was much more up-close and that much more meaningful as Susan and I beheld her nine-foot wingspan as she soared and banked and climbed majestically on the thermal currrents sometimes swooping across us as near as 50 feet away.
Hell I’d even go so far as to call it a privilege and a dream come true.