The timing was perfect. We planned the visit to coincide with one of the driest months of the year and the new moon. The plan was for Wooly to photograph the Milky Way in some of the darkest skies in the continental U.S. But there was one thing we had no control over. If you guessed Mother Nature you are right. Mother Nature can be a real ‘Mother’ sometimes which may be part of the reason for the term.
In the Southwest U.S. there is a summer phenomenon called the ‘monsoon’ season. By definition a monsoon is characterized by a southerly flow of moist air marking a change in season. In late June through early September weather patterns change and moist air is pumped up from Mexico into Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and sometimes reaching to Southern California and Nevada.
As luck would have it, the monsoonal flow started the day we arrived at Natural Bridges National Monument. While it was not enough to rain, it was enough for clouds to gather over the tops of mesas which of course Natural Bridges is on. With our plans in danger of being washed out we made the best of it and hiked down to one of the bridges just after sunset in the hopes that the clouds would clear after sunset.
As the bats started coming out we thought we would be treated to a nice show of the bats flying after bugs in the air. However there was one bat who was more interested in us than bugs. After several persistent dives at us we figured it may be prudent to leave just in case there was something wrong (rabies?) with the bat. So much for planning… again…
So Wooly and Raeski huffed and puffed their way back to Miss Mini after being evicted by the bat and cautiously drove back to the hotel keeping a watch out for cows on the road.