Many Archaic firepits. Circles of black soil on yellow sand, red heaps of burned rock. The mesa ridges were wind-scoured, not a grain of loose sand, streaks and gullies gouged by the wind.
A bear’s footprints, round sole, four fat round toes. We followed them; the bear had broken branches from a juniper to eat the ripe berries. Suddenly Jan said, “There!”
It took a moment to spot it, about five hundred yards away: black, big, ambling and then running away from us, its loose skin every which way, shining in the autumn sun.
More millipedes, six inches long and shiny as mahogany fiddles. They look like little trains, like the Coast Starlight trucking along. Many wide holes of what Jan calls “evening ants.” If you poke in a stick and bring an ant up into the sun, instantly it dies. Each hole is surrounded by a spread of tiny discarded juniper twigs.
Clear bear tracks in the damp sand of the water chute.
Best of all, near the end of the long day and worn out: four adults lying on their bellies on the sandstone, watching a millipede poop.