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A Day in the Wild West End
lavish with color and action

"Take me out to the West End; take me out to the Wild." The notes of the old baseball song ran through my head as I sorted through the photos taken on April 24 while on a "Photo Safari" with two friends. We left Avalon at 5 a.m. and made it to the other side of Two Harbors for sunrise - a spectacular one that only got better and better as the morning progressed.

After a good rainy season, which apparently is not quite done, the West End was lavish with color and action. Wildflowers abounded, attracting myriad insects, all playing their roles in pollination, predation and herbivory. Butterflies fought in the sunlight (Yes! They chased each other mercilessly, driven by ancient mating and competition drives.) vying for the best spots among the flowers. Squirrels dashed across the roads in frantic attempts to mate, oblivious to passing vehicles. A fox stood in the middle of the road for a few minutes looking at us with unconcerned curiosity. Even an old bison paused in his constant grazing to take a side glance at us, resuming his chewing with apparent indifference.

By the end of the day, we were exhausted, a bit sunburned, legs sore from hiking and digital cameras filled with photographs. This gallery details some of the most memorable encounters, with a hearty dose of thanks to Jeanie and Kellie Shelton for a great day of exploration and companionship.

Click here and join us in reliving a colorful, wonderfully interesting and exciting Day in the Wild West End.

Text and photos by Carlos de la Rosa (unless otherwise noted)
Chief Conservation and Education Officer Additional photos by Jeanie and Kellie Shelton