Fishing in the Desert

Headed down Hole in the Rock road today to finish our collection of Sphaeralcea coccinea (scarlet globemallow). Hole in the Rock is a famous dirt road from Escalante all the way down to Lake Powell. It follows the track the Mormon pioneers took from Escalante to the (then) Colorado River. From Hole in the Rock, present day travelers can reach numerous exciting places to explore — Peekaboo and Spooky slot canyons, Coyote and Willow Gulch, Chimney Rock and so many more. There’s also plenty of fun plants to find.

We started out early because it’s monsoon season here; almost every afternoon it pours rain, and when Hole in the Rock is wet, the red clay road turns into a sliding mess akin to ice and snow and slush all mixed together. A few weeks back my co-intern and I tried to get down it to check on our globemallow population…only to slide off the road into a sand due. Good times. We got the truck turned around eventually — I channeled some good old fashion Michigan snow and ice driving skills — but we weren’t too keen to get stuck in the same position again.

After some backtracking and a couple pit stops, we got to our site, finished collecting and then headed off to catch lizards for awhile. We’re working on some baseline species surveys on Grand Staircase, meaning we get to hike across the desert with lizard catching poles (glorified fishing poles) to see what species we can find. We measure, weigh, and photograph all of the lizards we catch, while getting a lot of strange looks from hikers who think we’re crazy people fishing in the desert.


Great Basin collared lizard (Crotaphytus bicinctores) found down Hole in the Rock

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.