Three Lizards along the Cassidy Arch Trail
Capitol Reef National Park
June 2003


Characterizing this year's vacation at Capitol Reef was the enormous number of lizards to be seen - and, consequently, photographed. Also, Capitol Reef National Park (in south central Utah) is so vast and so diverse and has so many different wonderful and unique aspects, it is difficult to know how to begin to describe it.

I thought I'd begin with its lizards, especially since lizards are distinctly uncommon on Long Island, where I live. And I thought I'd organize my lizard photos by the park's hiking trails, this one being the Cassidy Arch trail.

What made this first particular lizard different from the others encounted that day is that after we first saw one another, he advanced straight toward me. Normally the northern plateau lizard runs away or hides. He did a few pushups to demonstrate what a fine, strong fellow he was, and I continued on my way.

A northern plateau lizard, along the top of the trail

The following northern plateau lizard was enormous - as far as the desert lizards went that day. Including his tail, he was between 10 and 12 inches long. Unlike the combative lizard at the top of the trail, he preferred to dodge around different sides of his shade boulder.
A large northern plateau lizard, toward the bottom of the trail

And then there are some who within a very brief span of time can demonstrate personality. I decided to call the following side-blotched lizard "Butch," since this was the Cassidy Arch trail after all.

Not unlike an outlaw, Butch kind of popped up while Sue and I were sitting in the shade on the return, about halfway along the trail. I had the leisure to take a few different shots as he assumed various poses, and he stayed within the minimum focus distance of the lens I had.

A tiny side-blotched lizard

With the sound of another person approaching, Butch retreated and hid next to the trunk of a nearby juniper. After the person left (a ranger checking the trail), Butch came out again. Eventually he settled on a rock and stared at us until we left the resting place.
The stare of a side-blotched lizard

Photography note: The photos were taken with a Pentax LX and the SMC 400-600mm reflex lens. The latter lens has a natural macro capability, allowing the capture of an object at half life size on a 35mm negative or slide.  

A marmot at Capitol Reef   |   Fossilized Puzzle at Capitol Reef

Lizards of Kodachrome Basin

Brycian trees   |   chipmunk   |   Bryce Point

Zion National Park   |   Petrified Forest National Park

Dinosaur National Monument   |   Contact

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