Last Friday I left work a whole 5 minutes early (after zero customers all day) to head to the city. REI was having a sale and I had coupons and gift cards. It's silly but I needed more hiking socks and ended up getting one of those chargers that will charge a phone lickety split. When I go hiking I've got the GPS on, fitbit is recording, I'm taking pictures and I'm playing an audiobook. A hike of any length chews up a fully charged battery pretty fast. Of course, what *just* dawned on me was that that was the case with my old phone - maybe the new phone with the better battery won't be such a problem. Oh well, never hurts to be prepared.
Next I went to JoAnns - more coupons for Memorial Day where I stocked up on 505 spray. I had plans to baste quilts over the weekend but that didn't happen.
On the way home I also picked up a new backpack and hydration pack. I've had a Camelback for years; purchased it when I was doing lighthouse tours in the Miami heat and sun. Unfortunately it doesn't have any storage for more than the water and a snack - I would like to carry extra items with me and I now have plenty of room for all kinds of things. In fact I worry it has too many pockets and I'll never find what I packed. LOL.
I didn't get home and to bed until 11:30 but I was crazy enough to get up at 5am to try to see the 6am launch for the balloon rally at Letchworth State Park. The last rally I attended was ran a bit different than this. In Miami when they said it was a 6am launch that meant the balloons were inflated and ready to launch at 6. Not so here. They decide at 6am if they will be launching and then inflate. Dang. I could have had another 30 minutes of sleep! Well, really I could have had hours more sleep because they cancelled the launch due to the weather. I was already up so I hiked in the park for an hour. Gotta break in those new hiking boots that I didn't get to use while Mr Cranky Ankle healed.
This is the new arched train bridge across the Genesee River. The old bridge was built in the 1800s and was quite the marvel for it's time but it was much too slow a crossing for modern trains so they have spent the last 2 years building this bridge and removing the old one. You can just barely see the last cement foundation in the water to the right. The park road and parking lot near the bridge are supposed to be completed in the fall so that the Genesee Falls park entrance can finally be reopened.
Next I drove to Arcade to buy the Grunge fabrics for my next temp quilt. While driving randomly, waiting on the store to open, I realized how close I was to Hawk Creek Wildlife Refuge. Close is relative as I was still 30 minutes away but it's an hour from home so why not. The Refuge is only open to the public for special events and they were having a plant sale to benefit the refuge along with a $5 entry fee.
Hawk Creek is home to owls, eagles, medium sized wild cats, porcupines and a few other mammals. Be sure to check out the link above for much better pictures of all the animals.
In the lobby I was greeted by Onxy, a 4 week old Verreaux Eagle. When he's full grown he will be black.
I had never been to the refuge but I've enjoyed watching the pictures on their facebook page. The cats are in cages that are in wedges around a central building.
The Geoffrey's Cat was my favorite. It's a horrible picture but she wouldn't get closer to pose, instead pacing around. They are a small cat, smaller even than my own cat, and she often jumped into her wheel. One of the volunteers told me she is probably trying to work off her baby belly. I didn't get to see the little ones as they are given to other refuges and zoos to expand the species.
It was a little creepy that every time a small child walked by most of the cats would perk up to say "hey look - dinner has arrived". Eek!!
This is an African Serval and has to be the strangest shape for a cat I've seen. It's head and body just seemed too small for it's large body.
My favorite owl is the Barred owl - and that's probably only because I can "talk" to them while camping. This owl wasn't chatty (it was daylight and HOT) but I did learn the difference between the male/female calls for future chats.
This is the Egyptian Vulture - again a bad photo through the fencing but the head and beak on this bird was quite interesting.
And with that it was time to head home and check on my own wild animal!
After 200+ miles in less than 24 hours, I was more than happy to be a homebody the rest of the weekend! Nap time!!