Travel, yellowstone national park

Yellowstone: July 9th, 2013

Day two of the Shoshone catchment. This is the day we surveyed the rest of the sites in this wetland complex. Site 13 was way too remote from the rest of the wetlands to survey all in one fell swoop so it was broken up into two days and two vastly different experiences. It’s been three or four days since Andrew and I surveyed this site and I’ve already blocked it out. I can’t really even give you the details of this experience other than…

* it was extremely low-quality amphibian habitat
* it took about 2.5 to 3 hours (each way) to get from the wetlands to the car
* the terrain was brutal: non-stop mountainous terrain with steep valleys, plus mature downed trees with thick re-growth that will gladly stab and puncture you with every painful step
*Andrew ran out of water near the end and was near insanity
* it was blazing hot (95 degrees)
* the insects were awful
* my left hip was completely rubbing and nearly out of socket–bone on bone
* my left knee was strained so I had a badass limp happening

It was basically twelve hours of climbing mountains, climbing over or under logs, getting stabbed and sliced, being devoured by insects, sweating profusely, getting fried to a crisp by the sun, and being completely unprepared for extreme thirst…all to find a handful of tadpoles with no decent breeding habitat to speak of. It was a stark contrast from the day before. We returned back to the dorm near death. Instead of washing our gear and prepping for the next day, we both made a B-line towards any physical relief we could find. I laid on the couch and Andrew sat next to me in the chair and we immediately passed out. We only woke up because my snoring scared the crap out of the both of us. Eventually, I was able to scrape myself off the couch to call Deb and tell her we made it back in semi one piece. Her day of surveying was equally trying with the exception of seeing two white wolves. One of the wolves was so surprised to see Deb that it dropped what it had in its mouth and ran away. Upon inspection, the item dropped was a deer head. How freakin cool is that?! Andrew and I never see cool crap! I almost didn’t have the heart to tell Andrew about it because he’s been dying to see a wolf. Yellowstone will be a letdown if he doesn’t see at least one. Hopefully, we can make it back in time tomorrow to go out to Hayden Valley with the wolf men. Since they’re studying the Lamar and Hayden Valley wolf packs, they’re the guys to go with for a guaranteed visual and they’ve invited us along. When my broken body finally laid down to sleep that night, I couldn’t find any relief, despite the copious amounts of Advil in my system. I kept dreaming I was stuck in Shoshone and couldn’t find my way out. I literally only slept for four hours that night and I haven’t slept well since.

Travel, yellowstone national park

Yellowstone: July 8th, 2013

DSCF2151I woke up and got right down to the business of catching up on my journal entries from the past week. I was so engrossed in writing that Andrew busted in and lit a fire under my ass. It was noon and I hadn’t even gotten out of bed and here he was, having just driven 5.5 hours from Casper, ready to survey site 13 of the Shoshone catchment with me. Yup, only one survey today because the hike in and out is going to be tricky. I hustled and we were on the road in no time. The off-trail hike was moderately strenuous and took about two hours each way. The wetland was well worth it. We found tons (okay, not literally tons…but close) of chorus frog tadpoles. And you know how I love them! My only complaint was the sheer number of mosquitoes and biting flies. Holy gawd! As soon as we got to the pond we were absolutely devoured. These blood thirsty suckers completely laugh at you when you frantically try to apply repellant. They laugh…you can hear them chuckling in your ear if you listen hard enough. Overall, it was a high-quality site to survey, despite the blood loss. After work I treated myself to a black bean burger with fries and a scoop of ice cream at the Fishing Bridge soda fountain. Yum! Sometimes running out of food can be a tasty dilemma. Then it was back to the dorm to goof off with my other dorm-mates for the rest of the night. All is well in my world.