Sunday, May 24, 2015

So plague-y, but so cute.

Lookit this little yellow-bellied marmot friend. Lookit! So what if he might carry the plague, he's freaking adorable. I've seen a few around here, but this is the smallest one I've ever seen (also, the least mangy).
Update kinda: I'm down in SE ID at the moment following sage-grouse and trying to learn all the vegetation out here for a couple months. YES! Getting out of the office has restored my sanity greatly, even though I am living with mice. So I'm either going to get the plague from this marmot, or hantavirus from the mice. Let's go with neither, yeah?

Friday, May 8, 2015

Sage-grouse Strut

Finally had a chance to see a greater-sage grouse lek (and a sharp-tailed lek, too!) last week. It's nearing the end of lekking season, but there were still about 45 males (and a few females showed up) strutting their stuff. The first day I went out there were 40 mph winds and I couldn't even hear them (which is part of the experience!) so I decided to try again the next morning. I got there super early before most of the males arrived, and was lucky enough to have one guy close enough for some decent photos.  Pretty cool stuff! Here's a long series of his love dance :)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Daily Dose of Moooose

Hey lookit this guy! This is from a couple months ago when we attempted to go birding at Turnbull NWR in Eastern Washington. I think we saw a painfully disappointing 8 species, which was pretty ridiculous. However, this moose friend was a huge bonus, especially since I haven't seen these guys since 2007 or 2008. Moooose! This guy looked like he had recently shed his antlers. In other notes, I've been in civilization way too long and it's breaking me. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Winds

It's a good thing I'm still so behind on blog stuff since I don't have much exciting to report these days, mmhmm. So let's go back to the Wind Rivers (from August). Okay! Yes, let's, please!  We didn't have a ton of time, so we just did a quick 3 day trip. Would have been cool to do a longer loop (next time), but we still got in some good miles and got away from all the people. Love the Winds. 
We were lucky to have beautiful weather and our weird water/bacteria borne mystery illness wasn't kicking us as hard as it had been. Great trip with some gnarly climbs and views. Gimme more.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Daily Dose of Cute

Because there is no such thing as too many pikas or too many pika photos, here's another. Happy weekend!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Here, there, and everywhere.

Whoa. Hey there, strangers. Two months was the last time I updated this - unacceptable! But not my fault, I promise! I haven't been on an actual computer until a few days ago and things have been a little chaotic. I spent most of December in New Mexico with family (yay!) and then all the sudden moved to Northern Idaho. Whaatat?  This involved an absolutely brutal drive from Albuquerque --- Las Cruces (nothing traumatic on that leg of the trip) --- El Paso,TX (70 mph winds. Rock in the windshield. Scrap metal flying out of a pickup truck into the semi in front of me that almost swerved into my car) --- Fort Stockton, TX (took an extra 5 hours because of an ice storm and tons of terrible accidents. Watched way too many cars and trucks go off the road. Terrifying) --- College Station, TX (more icy roads and miles and miles of standstill traffic, 4 extra hours. Lots of fishtailing. Crazy rain/sleet and my wipers stopped working. Not cool). (Above: Sandhill crane and American Kestrel at Bosque Del Apache NWR; Below: One-eyed ice machine monster. A month later and I still can't stop laughing about this thing)
I met Ant (who drove down from WI with my catboys) at our storage unit and we loaded all of our long lost material possessions in the pouring rain on New Year's Day and then started the crazy drive to Northern Idaho.  This ended up taking 3 extra days because of the gnarly weather. (Remind me not to drive cross-country in the winter. ever. again). (Below: Don't worry. We don't have that much stuff, but Uhaul was out of the truck size we needed. Also- Go Ant for getting this beast safely to Idaho. Sketchy McSketchster driving conditions were NOT U-haul friendly. Glad I was driving a Tacoma.)
College Station, TX --- Texas Panhandle tiny town (unplowed roads with 3+inches of snow. We got thwarted.) --- somewhere in central CO (Had plans of making it to Boulder but got stuck in a pretty hefty snowstorm on mountain roads) --- Boulder (only a little black ice on that drive) --- Laramie, WY (pathetic! only got 2 hours in because the interstate totally shut down because of 80 mph wind!! Cats were happy though to get out of the truck for a day) --- Northern Utah (first half was a semi/trailer graveyard. Rather upsetting. Up to 30 trailers and semis overturned from the insane wind.  Completely disturbing.) --- rest of the drive was less nail-biting, except for a few hours of ridiculous zero visibility fog. (Below: Sandhills at Bosque Del Apache NWR)
So there's that boring account of the drive. I'm sure that was thrilling for all of you. Made it Idaho safely though, which I am really grateful for because honestly, that drive was completely terrifying and I'm pretty sure I've got arthritis now from gripping the steering wheel so hard for 9 days straight. (Below: Kimmo's part of the family now. Bosque Del Apache NWR covered in snow geese)
Ah hah! I am no longer wheel-less by the way. And with that comes another MONSTER THANK YOU to all of you wonderfuls who helped me out on my gofundme site!! His name is Kimmo (I'm sticking with Nashville Predators players from the early 2000's. It's a thing). Kimmo is no Vladimir but I still love him.  So there you have it. My excuse for not blogging it up lately. I am pretty stable at the moment but may be in and out of the field (I freaking hope) for really small spurts.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Grand Gulch Primitive Area

Oh. Well I thought I had already blogged it up about this backpacking trip to Grand Gulch Primitive Area in Southern Utah, but apparently, nope. So here you go, just a few months later. Canyonlands (one of my favorite places ever) was the top choice, but it was time to try something a little different. Grand Gulch was pretty badass, I was glad to switch it up.
Ruins! RUINS! Everywhere. Really, everywhere. And this is one of the places you are able to actually climb up there and check those bad boys out. Pretty cool, guys. Grand Gulch is a series of canyons and mesas and good stuff like that. In addition to tons of ruins (Ancestral Puebloan- 700-2,000 years ago), there are tons of petroglyphs and rock art wherever you look. (If you're observant, that is). Overwhelming, honestly. Our mileage wasn't too high because there was so much to check out and so many places to explore. Not a bad thing.
There were a ridiculous amount of side canyons to explore and even with 5 days there, it didn't cut it. It's great that it's legal and even encouraged to check out the ruins at Grand Gulch, and considering that fact, they are in pretty decent shape- but still, there are those assholes who feel the need to take artifacts, pottery, etc. Vandalism isn't cool, guys. I've got quite a few more photos so rest your pretty head on this for right now, yup? Oh yeah - in case I forget-cryptobiotic crust! It's everywhere in Southern Utah. Pay respect and don't crunch it - it's full of communities of itty bitty living organisms! Ecologically very important!  (seen below near the cactus)