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Amazing Adaptations - On the Pacific Crest Trail

Pacific Crest Trail Progress:

Total Distance Traveled: 700 Miles

Total Time on Trail: 45 Days

Trail Tales

The final 200 miles of the desert hiking are finally over! They included a 25 mile stretch of the Mojave Desert through several large windfarms that was some of the hottest and most difficult we’ve experienced. In order to avoid the heat we woke up at 1 in the morning and started hiking across the desert floor in the dark. Along the trail we saw lots of little eyes glowing in the light of our headlamps and realized that there were bouncing kangaroo rats. You can learn more about out fellow night hikers and the interesting pupfish below! Next week we’ll be reporting from the mountains of the High Sierra!

          – Wampus Cat and Zen

Wild Things of the PCT

Photo by John N. Rinne

DESERT PUPFISH (Cyprinodon macularius)

  • A playful species closely related to the guppy, desert pupfish are found in pools and streams of Arizona, California and Mexico
  • Can tolerate water with temperatures exceeding 110 degrees, and that’s more than twice as salty as the ocean
  • As livestock grazing and water diversions threaten habitat, desert pupfish struggle to compete with nonnative species to survive

Rockin’  Rodents

Ord’s Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys ordii)
Photo courtesy of Todd Green

KANGAROO RAT (Dipodomys spp.)

  • Named for it’s kangaroo-like way of moving around, hopping on its two large hind feet, using its tail for balance and quick changes in direction
  • Kangaroo rats are nocturnal (active at night), and do not hibernate during winter months
  • Feeds on a variety of seeds, which the critter picks off the plant or the ground. The kangaroo rat stuffs the seeds into its cheek pouches, and transports them to the burrowing system for storage
  • Does not require any free standing water, but rather uses water created by its body as a byproduct of digestion
  • So efficient at using water, the kangaroo rat often does not urinate fluid but rather “urine pellets”

Next Week’s Adventure

Join Wampus Cat and Zen as they travel further along the Pacific Crest Trail. Next week, they will be out of the desert and hiking through the mountains of Central California.

Check out next week’s “Wild Things”, featuring “General Sherman,” the world’s largest tree (by volume), and learn more about California’s famous giant sequoias.

Trail Thoughts

Have you ever had any experiences in a desert environment? Describe what the temperature was like, and what you did to cope with the conditions.

What do you think are the advantages to being able to hop around like the kangaroo rat? Disadvantages?

More, Please!

Are you curious about what it’s like to hike along the Pacific Crest Trail? Would you like to know more about the different plants and animals they encounter? Feel free post any comments or questions about today’s post!

“Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Lectures and Biographical Sketches”


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