Canyon Tree Frogs

This is an old draft I had saved without ever publishing, so I added more (it was only a paragraph or two)

Plants choose the right time to reproduce in the desert and often live ephemeral, fleeting lives.  Amphibians are similar but in a different way.  Amphibians are often patient, hibernating in the ground or hiding in cracks during the hot parts of the day or year.

Erin and I went looking for canyon tree frogs (Hyla arenicolor) in rough canyon, going at night and hoping to find them active, loud and looking to mate.  We’ve had a lot of rain recently and it seemed like the perfect time to look for desert frogs to come out.  We didn’t find Canyon Tree Frogs that night.

I remember in high school going to Colorado National Monument on a night time (and optional) field trip with an environmental science class, obviously quite a while ago.  We heard the delicate cries of the frogs everywhere and scrambled up canyons pooled with water in the dark.  Perhaps we were too loud or too many.  Perhaps our lights were too bright.  Whatever the reason, we didn’t see Canyon Tree Frogs that night either.

Late in the summer this year, Erin and I scrambled down a boulder strewn chute of a trail to the bottom of a canyon in Bear’s Ears National Monument.  After a night sleeping on sand next to sandstone, I awoke beneath a cotton wood.  Groggily I made my way towards the babbling stream next to our campsite.  A small grayish frog with delicate red spots looked at me and quickly splashed into the stream.  I was dumbfounded.  I’d found a Canyon Tree Frog!  It was the first sighting of several over the next few days in a place where frogs out numbered people.  And I didn’t even bring my camera.

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