Max, at his overnight spot near the town of Žiri, Slovenia..
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Near Žiri, Slovenia.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? South towards Croatia.

Friday, February 6, 2015

A visit with Judy at the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge

Judy operates a popular blog at Travels with Emma and she does volunteer work at the various National Wildlife Refuges around the country. She travels with her dog Emma!

Our regular readers will remember when we did a blogger interview with Judy in 2013. We had met her for a few minutes at the blogger-fest a couple of weeks ago, but we wanted to visit the refuge and spend some more time together.

We were going to try and camp over at the refuge, but Judy said it might be better and easier if she just picked us up for a day trip. So yesterday morning we rode our bikes down to the easy to find Christian Service Center where we could meet up.

And we waited. The 9:00am pickup time came and went, and so did 9:30am. We figured we'd give her until 10:00am before figuring that she had problems and wasn't coming. And then, there she was! Turned out she had some low tire pressure problems and had turned around to go back and get them filled. We didn't mind the was a beautiful sunny morning.

Entrance to the refuge.

The Painted Desert.

Judy had booked us on a guided hike that started a 10:00am, but we were a little late arriving. The group had waited a while for us, and we got there just as they were making the first turn, so we managed to catch up.

Ruth, near the beginning of the hike. 

Kevin and Ruth at a "hoodoo". This is a stand alone rock column that has withstood the wind and water over time.

The painted desert gets it's name from the geology of the hills and the minerals that change the colors of the different hills.

On the Painted Desert Trail.

Our hiking group. Dick, Ruth, Amanda, Lanie, and Joyce.

It's a really pretty hiking trail, but it's only 1.3 miles (2 kms) so at a leisurely pace and talking about the various things along the way it only took us just over an hour. Interesting though, and we enjoyed the walk. Judy hadn't come with us, but she was waiting at the picnic area where we had some lunch.

Judy and Ruth at lunch.

Judy is the bird specialist here at the refuge and she gives guided birding tours. Yesterday, she took us to the various lookoff points where we watched for some of the wildlife.

Of course many birds like the water, so we went to the points overlooking the Colorado River that separates California and Arizona.

Judy, doing what she loves to do!

Ruth and Judy.

A rare sighting of Greater White-fronted Geese.

The geese later took off. If you have a really good imagination, it looks like they flew themselves into a bird formation! 

We also watched a couple of Harris's Antelope Squirrels.

They sure are cute little things!

Back at the Visitors Center, we visited with Digger, the Desert Tortoise. He's only just come out of hibernation. He's 50 years old!

After that we sat with Judy and visited with her dog Emma.

Judy has a beautiful view from her patio. What a great spot.

We had a really good day visiting with Judy, and we enjoyed touring the refuge and seeing what she does with her volunteer time. Thanks for spending the day with us Judy, and for the drive back and forth! I'm pretty sure we'll meet up again at some point in our RV travels.

Judy also wrote about our day yesterday. You can read her blog post here...

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  1. It was great to spend the day with the two of you!

    1. Thank you Judy, we had a great time with you too and hope we can meet again one day down the road.

  2. sounds like a fun day, glad you enjoyed your time with Judy.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Helen, it was and it was great having along someone who really knew the area well and the birds!

  4. Nice to have a knowledgeable guide.

  5. Wow, what awesome pictures. The Harris's Antelope Squirrels, we call those chipmunks here in Missouri, but they might not be the exact species. Love the tortoise. Safe travels!

    1. We get chipmunks up in Canada and these definitely weren't the same other than their size. They were pretty cute little characters though and fun to watch.

  6. Love all the photos! That geese formation pic does look like the outline of a bird - too funny!
    B&C in PA

    1. Thanks Connie and Barry. I guess you have a good imagination too! ;-)

  7. So glad you three had a great day together. I am sure Judy really appreciated the visit.

    The hike might have been an easy one for you two, but the beauty still awes me!

    1. We had an excellent day with Judy and it was fun seeing her in her natural element too! She really knows her stuff! :-)

      The area here is beautiful and I can see why they call it the Painted Desert.

  8. Wonderful pictures. I particularly like the ones of the scenery on your hike, the Colorado River and Ruth and Judy with her scope. Your colors are so true. Thanks for including one of Emma. She and Ruth look like they got along well. A day with Judy is such a treat.

    1. Thanks Sherry, the colors here are really amazing.

      Emma is a sweetheart and really loves having the attention. It is hard to believe that she is 7 years old with the amount of energy she has.


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