Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Solstice!

I just wanted to wish the planet a happy summer solstice, and especially send some good vibes to those helping protect and restore the Gulf Coast. National Park Service personnel are being enlisted to assist in the BP oil spill cleanup and all of my crew has signed up for the job. We're not sure where or when folks will be deployed, but this will certainly impact our restoration efforts this season at Mesa Verde.

Here's a photo of the beautiful mountains just north of us at Lizard Head pass. We saw lots of waterfalls and mountains the past two weeks. The alpine meadows are starting to thaw and light up with amazing wildflowers.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cheapers the Gosling

Hi World, I'd like for you to meet Cheapers, the Cute Canadian Gosling. We found him in the middle of the road, trying to keep up with Mama Goose and her other 3 chicks. Cheapers was having a hard time walking, so we tried to help. A long-tailed weasel scampered nearby, so we didnt want to leave the scene until Mama came back. She never did, instead leaving Cheapers behind as she went far away. We decided to adopt Cheapers and take him to a rehabilitation center (why dont I donate more to them?!?!?). He was having convulsions and died a few minutes later. Poor Cheapers, I'm sorry you never had the chance to fly, honk at the full moon, and eat delicious pond scum.

I felt bad for depriving the weasel of what he probably considered his job in nature, so we brought the chick back and laid him on the log I saw the weasel scamper upon. Then we went on our not-as-merry way.

Since summer kicked it in with a vengeance, we wanted to see some waterfalls whilst the streams are all running full bore with snowmelt. We were not disappointed. We had a wonderful hike along Four-mile Falls trail and saw a pair of stunning waterfalls. I was hoping we could keep hiking upstream to a lake and hot spring, but there was still too much snow in the trail to be safe.

Denied a hot-spring soak, we stopped in Pagosa Springs to try one of their hot springs. ZOWEEEE! It was so hot I could only stay in for a few minutes before turning lobster red.

Work at Mesa Verde is in full swing too, with us spraying gobs of Musk Thistle, and chasing the Hound's Tounge from under the oaks. From what my boss has noticed from last year is that these treatments make a huge difference. Wahoo! This coming week we are to begin work on Seeps and Springs monitoring.

Monday, June 7, 2010


What a difference a week makes. After just one week of spring-like temps, suddenly it feels like summer! The snow had completed melted off Sleeping Ute, which is the locals indicator for when planting should begin. Then we hit several bright, sunny days reaching into the 90's and snow in the nearby La Platas began melting fast. All the rivers are running full bore, even though it hasn't rained in weeks.

At work, a long time employee of Mesa Verde National Park gave us an excellent field trip to learn the plants of the area. She was extremely knowledgeable, and not only knew the life cycle of many plants, but also the various indigenous uses of them.

Afeared the canyons might become too hot to handle, we forayed into Utah to see some ancient sites along the enigmatic Comb Ridge. We saw the Petroglyph Procession panel, Monarch Cave, and Fishmouth Cave. The last two caves were very interesting sites, with sherds all about the ruins, and even dried corn husks here and there among the ruins. We also saw mountain lion paw prints in the dried mud of a tinaja. Alas, the gnats proved too annoying, so we retreated to the Abajo mountains to camp in the cool conifers.

The next day we toured Arches National Park. It is full of majestic sandstone sculptures, and a photographers paradise. Being Memorial Day weekend, the park was very busy too, especially at such iconic sites as Delicate Arch. However even on one of the busiest days, we could find solitude just a few miles from the campground, such as Tapestry and Navajo Arches. We explored the parks until dark, grabbed grub in Moab, pondered the Polygamy Porter, and blazed on back home. Time flies!