Apr 30 2014

Wish I May…

Melissa Crytzer Fry

Have you ever wished for something so desperately and with such longing that when it finally came true, you experienced a sense of happy overwhelm? That happened to me during a hike this week just miles away from my desert home. At first I saw:

Canyon waters and blue skies. Click to enlarge.

Sacred Datura. Despite its poisonous nature, this plant yields a gorgeous creamy flower. Click to enlarge.

Adorable spotted toad. Can you see me? Click to enlarge.

Evidence of blue herons. Can you see the slender toe marks preserved in the mud? Click to enlarge.

Summer tanager high up in a cottonwood. Click to enlarge.

As my mother pointed out when I shared the photos, “Nature is beautiful if you take the time to stop and look,” or — in my case — if you wish hard enough. About a mile away from the trailhead lot, heading home on the dirt roads, the wildlife dream I’ve longed to witness for years appeared along a steep cliff: desert bighorn sheep! (Please click the photos below to see greater detail).

Once plentiful in southern Arizona, desert bighorn sheep are now a rare sight due to years of disease, and loss of habitat and water sources. We counted eight total, including two kids of varying smallness. Do you see the babies in the photos below? (You may recall I saw a herd during my fortieth birthday helicopter ride a few years back, but this was as up-close and personal as I’ll probably ever get.)

For readers, writers, everyone: Here’s to wishing upon that dream and it coming true. What’s your dream? (Next on my list: a mountain lion sighting. Far enough away, of course).

26 Responses to “Wish I May…”

  • Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Melissa – Oh my gosh, these photographs are fantastic with vivid detail. THANK YOU so much for sharing them.

    Our dream? Relocate from the frigid cold of the midwest to a temperate climate.

    We moved 1,700 miles cross-country 2-weeks ago and have fallen head over heels in love. Our town is located in the east end of what’s known as Treasure Valley. Because it’s nestled in a basin, Boise Idaho experiences dry, rather mild, seasons.

    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    So glad you’re all settled in, Laurie! You know, given my geographic location (and my escape from Pennsylvania winters), that I’m all FOR dry climates and sunshine. I hope this dream yields positive results every day!

    Jessica Vealitzek Reply:

    Where in the Midwest were you from, Laurie? I’m near Chicago. And I have in-laws in Boise. (You don’t meet many people from Boise, so that stuck out. 🙂 I’m actually headed there in a couple weeks for an author event.

  • Cynthia Robertson Says:

    Oh beautiful, Melissa!

  • Kathy Becraft Says:

    WAHOO! Finally you got photos and they are great. Too many times it seems like that wish does come along and the camera is not working or some other reason you can’t capture your subject. It is great to see the family in tact and I wish them well. It has only taken 10 years so hopefully the next wish will come sooner. Of course since mountain lions prey on mountain goats hopefully you don’t see them close to each other. Thanks for sharing you made me smile…

    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    I was really hoping you’d see this post, Kathy! I’m honestly quite amazed that I got ANY photos. I was shooting right into the sun and I kept losing the buggers in the brush as I zoomed in. Fortunately, this was a patient family, willing to pose and not run away (the truck was even RUNNING while I took photos). Sure wish you were still here; I miss our hikes. And you know RIGHT where we were in that watery canyon! Miss you…

  • Jolina Petersheim Says:

    Love these pictures, Melissa! A bobcat was accidentally hit at the end of our road, and I forced Randy to pull over so I could see it up close. It was the most beautiful animal–with these tufted ears and paws and a white, furry belly. I am now hoping I can see one alive some day. That’s my nature wish for now. Oh, and also that I can have one for a pet. 😉

    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Oh NO… poor bobcat. I’m glad you were able to see it up-close, though, and admire its beauty. You’ve seen my bobcat videos, right? If not, I need to send you some links!

  • mary myers Says:

    Years ago I had a dream that I would find my “home base” land when I saw a gila monster. In 30 yrs in the desert I’d only seen two before.
    Within a month I saw a gila monster in the driveway of a property that was for sale. Within a year I had started to build my straw bale house on that land. Dreams, literally, do come true!

    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Oh, Mary, your story gives me goosebumps! I love it. I also am reminded of the time we saw a gila monster back in the wash during one of our hikes! Here’s to dreams coming true!

  • Jessica Vealitzek Says:

    What a treasure. I’m so glad you got to see them up close. I felt the same the first (and only) time I got to see a wild wolf, in Yellowstone. Beyond words.

    Jackie Cangro Reply:

    I can’t help but comment on your comment, Jessica. That is my dream — to see a wolf in Yellowstone! Did you happen upon the wolf, or did you have a guide who knew where to look?

    Jessica Vealitzek Reply:

    We happened upon it, but we were lucky because we went in May, before all the tourists. So any time we drove by a lookout and saw a few people, we knew it would be rangers or park photographers. This was in Lamar Valley. We pulled over and got to watch the wolf stalk first a buffalo calf (unsuccessful) and then an antelope (also unsuccessful). Finally, it laid down in the bushes and went to sleep. It was absolutely incredible.

    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    I know the feeling of seeing wolves in Yellowstone. Such a magnificent sight (even though, for us, they were REALLY far away). Isn’t Yellowstone just amazing?

    Jessica Vealitzek Reply:

    One of my favorite places. I would live there if I could. I’m so bummed, because the wolf actually wasn’t that far away, but in the pictures it looks like a black speck. I really should have invested in a better camera before we went. Next time!

    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    We had a similar experience at Yellowstone. Went in and saw a bald eagle immediately. Realized we had no binocs, drove 40 minutes back out to the small town and bought binocs, drove back in. SO worth it! Phew — Glad the baby bison got away. That would have been hard to watch. The antelope, too. But wolves have to eat, too.

  • Shary Says:

    What wonderful surprises! You have such a good eye for capturing these natural treasures and sharing them. Thank you!

    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    On this one, I have to admit it was pure luck. Just happened to look across at my friend and saw movement out of the corner of my eye! Glad you enjoyed, Shary.

  • Lisa Ahn Says:

    I’m glad you got your wish! Looking at your photos always gives me a sense of promise and the space to inhale. Thank you.

    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    “The space to inhale…” As always, Lisa, you pen poetic responses.

  • Jackie Cangro Says:

    I’m so excited for you to have seen these beautiful sheep. You’ll always have this wonderful memory to treasure. Thank you as always for sharing these photos. I love to get a glimpse of the desert life through your posts.

    Now that spring is here, the birds have returned. I can hear their sing-song chirps in the morning and it’s beautiful.

    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    Like you, I LOVE birdsong. I guess we’re spoiled out here in the desert in that we get to hear the chirp of birds all year long. Now that you mention it, I’m sure I’d miss it something fierce (esp. for as many months as you guys have been buried in winter weather). Enjoy it!

    I, too, saw wolves in Yellowstone. In our case, they were far away, but we were able to watch them through binoculars!

  • Linda Anselmi Says:

    Wow! Big Horned Sheep! You are soo lucky! I love the one where the Ram is lightly up the hill from the rest looking right at you. Awesome. The Sacred Datura is beautiful. Bold with the ohso delicate little curly folds.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Melissa Crytzer Fry Reply:

    I know! Talk about a pose :-). They were SO patient with me. I was shooting into the sun and half the time, lost them when I zoomed in. The last two shots were “point and hope I get something” shots. That THOSE were the shots with the tiny kid in them was just too much to hope for! Glad you’re as excited as I was :-).

  • Nina Says:

    That is SO cool! The pictures are incredible so I can only imagine seeing those guys in person.

    And yes–make sure you see that mountain lion from VERY far!

  • Annie Neugebauer Says:

    Wow wow wow! That is SO cool! I don’t live in a secluded enough area to see any animals that neat, but someday I would love to dive with sharks! (Hey you said a wish. A girl can dream.)