Category Archives: Wildlife

The Onaqui Mustangs

In 1971 Congress passed a law requiring the Secretary of the Interior to preserve, protect, and manage wild, free-roaming horses and burros on public lands in the West. Subsequently the BLM established herd management areas in all but one western state. Throughout the state of Utah there are 24 designated areas managed for wild herds. Those herds are mostly comprised of descendants of animals that strayed from Native Americans, explorers, pioneers and ranchers over time. However, the ancestry of some Utah animals can be traced to stock brought to the Americas by Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s. Some Utah populations are believed have the purest bloodlines tracing back to those early Iberian animals. Continue reading »

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon 2014 from Thayne Shaffer on Vimeo.

In October Angela and I took a long-awaited road trip to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. It was our first visit, and we spent three magical days exploring and touristing. I say touristing because we actually paid for a two-hour mule ride along the south rim. It was a super touristy thing to do, and I usually try to avoid those kinds of activities in lieu of looking for lesser-known places off the beaten path. But in this case it was pretty cool riding the mules within feet of the canyon rim, watching ravens circle in the air below us, and thinking of what it must have been like in the early days before the park was established.

Not being familiar with the park, we chose to be at Mather Point for our first sunrise. On the map is looks like a great vantage point, and it wasn’t far from where we were staying. It turns out that its proximity to some big parking lots (the very reason we chose it) makes it the epicenter for disgorging tour busses full of people vying for prime photography vantage points. We got their early enough to have our pick, but due to our lack of familiarity with the park we spent our first magic moments of sunrise with a few hundred of our closest friends from across the globe. There was a certain short elderly lady that kept squeezing in between our tripods and leaning out to take pictures. You can see her dart in an out in the time-lapse sequence that I took that morning with the GoPro. But I decided not to make an issue of it since I can drive there in less than a day, but it looked like she had traveled half a world to see that moment.

After that we decided to look for more secluded places for sunrise and sunset. Our best morning was watching the sun come up from Moran Point. We were the first ones there and again had our choice of spots. However, only one other couple showed up. There’s really nothing like quietly watching the sunrise over the Grand Canyon in solitude.

It’s hard to imagine what the park would be like in the heat of the summer with summer crowds. Parts of it were fairly crowded even in the off season. But we had highs in the 70’s and lows in the 40’s – perfect temperatures and all in all a great trip.

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The Great Grand Teton Hiking and Canoe Adventure

Grand Teton National Park 2014 from Thayne Shaffer on Vimeo.

I finally got the video edited from Junie and my summer camping trip. We hiked to Inspiration Point stopping by Hidden Falls along the way. It’s an awesome hike, especially along Cascade creek where it comes rushing out of the canyon and begins a quick descent to Jenny lake. Then we took the canoe to Oxbow Bend, launching at where Cattlemen’s Bridge used to be. Junie had the idea to try to get video of fish using the GoPro. If you look very closely at 8:46 you can see a fish swim by very briefly, but we didn’t catch anything close. All in all, a great trip, great company, great weather and a great adventure!

#shafferadventurejournal #daddydaughterroadtrip #grandteton