As November approaches and my crew enters into month eight with the BLM in Grants Pass our field work is also coming to a close. We have weathered many conditions, survived dehydration, exhaustion, and sometimes repetitive mindnumbing tasks in the outdoors. We have spent countless hours in the car listening to music, podcasts, finding the best coffee shops to fuel our energy, nearly getting stuck navigating BLM “roads,” and figuring out how to turn our big red truck (clifford) around on such roads. We have learned many new plants, and forgotten some of them. We have gotten to know each other through the many hours we spend together, learning our lunch preferences, our guilty snacks, artist preferences, podcast opinions, significant other troubles, and of course we have figured out our goals, hopes and dreams. We have bonded over poison oak rashes, naps in the sun, office day boredom, and the frustrations of our Junos. We still have a few more weeks tying up loose ends and entering data, but I am grateful for the many months we spent outdoors exploring and learning.
Shout out to clifford, our big red truck monarch cocoon found when collecting asclepias fascicularis
Fall work days
Finished my first month at the Grants Pass BLM. Finally got computer access this week! It only took lots of meetings and running in circles trying to find the right person to talk to, but finally got my USAccess card to finally work. Also finally got poison oak for the first time in my life! The heat has picked up just as our field work has too, but I cannot complain. Most of our days are spent hiking (up very steep hills) searching for the endangered Fritillaria gentneri. We have been very lucky to find a lot of good views and a lot of blooming Frittilaria. However, there have also been some difficulties when it comes to access issues -because of the checkerboard pattern with private land ownership we sometimes struggle to get to the sites we need to, however when we do it’s well worth it. Other days are focused in invasive management, which usually involves hacking at Dyers Wode on gravel bars by the Rogue River and occasionally spraying herbicide.
Some of the amazing views we get:
Week one in Grants Pass, Oregon. Compared to my fellow crew who traveled from New York and Texas I drove a mere 6 hours from Truckee, CA to get here so I cannot quite say my travels were great, but they were beautiful.
A few things I have learned this week:
- Highway 5 is very fast. People are crazy fast drivers and truckers pass each other in the emergency lane. When you are driving the federal vehicles, you really have to pay attention to your speed because the flow of traffic is ridiculous!
- You can find a little piece of home everywhere you go. My first day here I decided to venture to Mount Ashland and find the snow! Unfortunately I cannot share pictures because I do not have service/wifi where I am staying (Smullin Visitor Center).
- You do not need service/wifi if you are living on the Rogue River. Too beautiful.
- All the answers are in the CLM guidelines.
- Friends make anything enjoyable. The week has been full of trainings, but we intermix story telling and getting to know each other and its been a jolly ol’ time.
- Fred Meyer is an awesome grocery store.
- Still not used to not pumping my own gas.
- REI and Trader Joes are right next to each other. Dangerous.
Well, I will continue to learn the area and meet people. In the mean time I am stoked on my crew and excited to get out in the field!