End of Season Wrap-Up

Last month on the job was melancholy (in the best way). Since the last blog post, I have had quite the odd work schedule since I needed to readjust my time to extend my end date.

To start off, I got to hang out with Dan and Levi one last time at the rose garden before their season ended! I’m so grateful that this job connected us, and we made some great memories this summer! Good luck on your next adventures!!

Next, I went on a trip with my dad to Winnemucca to see the total solar eclipse! It was spectacular, and we got to catch up with family. It was a wonderful but short trip!

I then immediately went with Marguerite, Bebe, and Nyika back down to Reno to monitor the common gardens and do some weeding. We put in some good work on the garden, and got through a lot of weeding. We also spent time after work exploring Reno (since I’ve never been there), and we also visited Lake Tahoe right at sunset, which was spectacular. This was my last trip with the RMRS crew (minus Joe), and I’m so glad that I got to spend the season working with such tough, inspiring, and hilarious coworkers. Thank you guys for such an amazing season and I can’t wait to see what you all accomplish!

Then, both Elric and I extended our season to go to Wilderness First Aid training (thank you Jessica!). Elric and I drove down to Bend, Oregon on Halloween to get ready for the training. We had some great food, hung out and learned a lot about wilderness first aid scenarios. I’m thankful that we were able to get this training since it may come in handy someday!

Thank you Elric for such a wonderful season. I had such a great time with you on all of our adventures together, and I’m so thankful that this job connected us. I look forward to seeing what you do next!

This season was so successful and busy, and I am so thankful for everyone that I met from this job. Thank you Jessica for being such a wonderful mentor and pushing me to try new things, meet new people, and give me so many wonderful opportunities throughout this season. I appreciate you! Thank you to the RMRS crew for helping us with seed collection and having a great time being in the field. You all taught me so much and I am forever grateful that I met all of you! Thank you Monica and Chris for all of your help in the preseason and during this season, you both are amazing and I appreciate you both!

This was such an amazing season! RMRS Crew 2023!!

RMRS Office

Busy, yet somehow slow September!

September has flown by, and it was my last full month at the RMRS in Boise. It has gone by so fast!

September was busy for the RMRS, yet slow at the same time. We started off the month by checking on the hornworms, and they were progressing beautifully!

Hornworm cocoon

I went on a trip to the Ruby Mountains in Nevada for fun with my friend Matt, and we hiked around the area and found some ERUM (despite being off the clock we still checked out the population!)

After I got back from Nevada, I immediately went back with my Forest Service coworker Bebe. We drove down to Ely to check on 3 ERUM populations, and all 3 were still not seeding! In September, we were not expecting them to still be flowering/developing seeds. The phenology this year was so interesting due to how wet the year has been. So, we decided to stop by Great Basin National Park to look around the area for ERUM while corresponding with our boss back in Boise. We found a gorgeous alpine lake, and hiked around outside the park in search of ERUM.

When we received a final set of coordinates to go check out, we headed towards the area. We pre-download maps before heading into scouting areas, and normally these maps with satellite imagery are great. Bebe and I were 15+ miles away from a main dirt road, and we were following satellite imagery to get to our location, when we found out that the satellite imagery must be pretty old. We were looking for roads that were completely overgrown with trees and brush, and with the sun quickly setting, we decided to keep trying to find an alternative route out of the area instead of retracing our steps. We struggled for two more hours trying to find real roads, but once we got out back onto the main dirt road, we were so relieved. The sky was dark, with no moon in sight, so the stars were incredible. As we were driving, hundreds of jackrabbits were running across the roads, as well as Kangaroo Rats (a lifelist animal for me to see!!). We got so see some up close, as they were pretty common on the road.

Later, I met my friend Matt again in Elko, and we went out looking for plants. We went to Angel Lake, and hiked up a fair ways to check out all of the amazing flora. Nevada has amazing diversity, and the alpine areas are stunning.

Elric, Marguerite and I then trekked out to Silver City, Idaho in search of ERUM. We were successful early on in our search, which is such a morale booster. We collected our ERUM and got to see a historic small mining town too!

Then, my time off began. I went to the Oregon Coast with my family, and my brother and I drove separately so we could visit Crater Lake National Park along the way. We accidentally went on what felt like the busiest day of the year there, called Ride the Rim day. Hundreds if not thousands of people come to bike around the entire rim of Crater Lake, which has incredible gain and loss on it. They close off 3/4 of the rim for bicyclists safety, so my brother and I only got to experience the west side of the park. It was still stunning! We decided to go hike to some waterfalls afterwards on the Waterfall Scenic Byway, which heads towards the Oregon Coast.

Then, we made it to the coast! It was nice to relax and spend time with my family, as well as see so much flora and fauna! We did another famous Oregon hike called The Trail of Ten Falls, which was absolutely stunning! It’s a seven mile round-trip hike that is worth every step!

Then, when we got home my parents surprised us with a puppy! His name is Mac, and he is an adorable addition to the family.

Unfortunately, after my trip I tested positive for Covid for the first time in my life. It was such a bummer, since I missed out on some of the last seed collection trips for the 2023 season. But, since I was home I was able to see my hornworm emerge!! If anyone knows the specific ID, let me know! I know it’s in the sphingidae family!

Overall, this month was so busy yet so slow. This summer has been jam-packed full of adventures, and I’m so sad that it’s coming to an end!

Steens to Nevada, exploring mountains for ERUM!

This month has gone by fast! The Rocky Mountain Research Station has been busy this month!

Since my last post, I have been busy traveling for seed scouting. One of the research station’s techs, Marguerite, joined me on a seed scouting trip. We are completely focused on Eriogonum umbellatum, and we went looking up by Council, Idaho. We went to this neat lookout with an amazing view.

While we were searching for ERUM, we came across something pretty cool! We left it alone, but it was a neat find!

Old shotgun and ERUM!

Then, Elric and I went out to Nevada with another one of the RMRS techs, Bebe! We had a great time searching for ERUM in northern Nevada. This was during the tropical storm warning, but we lucked out and never hit rain once. We found wonderful places to camp and explore, and we saw some gorgeous sunsets and stunning alpine lakes! We also collected one population of ERUM, and are going back in the future when the plants are seeding to collect from two more populations!

Elric and I went to explore South Mountain (in the Owyhees in Idaho) in search of ERUM. We found a ton of Eriogonum heracleoides, but unfortunately no ERUM. We stopped at a neat lookout and had a nice time exploring the area.

To end August, a forest service tech Joe and I went to explore Steen Mountains in Oregon! This trip was grand. Steen Mountains has a 60 mile loop road that is accessible for most cars (washboards but no potholes), and is 100% worth the trip. We found ERUM all over this range, and in the high elevation site it was still blooming! Joe and I had a nice time exploring the area, and we woke up one morning and realized it was in the 20s while we were sleeping (brr). After a successful seed collecting trip, we traveled back to Boise!

This was a great month of exploring and seed collecting! looking forward to next month with my team!

Hornworm Kisses to Alpine Hiking!

Another month down! This month has been packed with trips and projects for the Rocky Mountain Research Station.

First, Elric and I headed to Sun Valley to scout for some Eriogonum umbellatum and Lomatium dissectum. We hiked this scree covered mountain, and when we got to the top we found a small population of Lomatium! It was super windy up there, and as we were hiking some jets flew over our heads! We also took a beautiful hike in Antelope Valley, and found two varieties of Eriogonum umbellatum!

After that successful trip, I decided to go visit some other CLM Interns in Council, ID! Dan and Levi introduced me to their housemates, and we explored the beautiful area around Council. Dan knew a spot for (low) cliff jumping by a waterfall, and we camped on this huge rock.

Then, we had a busy week ahead of us! Our station went to the Botany 2023 Conference in Boise, ID. We got to interact with botanists from all around, go on rafting on the Payette and Boise rivers, go on hiking field trips, and sit in on talks about botany research! It was an amazing time to get to see what the world of botany is like, and meet many peers who love the field! Such a wonderful time with great people.

Right after the conference, Elric and I departed to Eastern Idaho to take part in the GLORIA (Global Observation Research Initiative in Alpine Environments) Project! We met up with Kat and Alex, who work in Idaho Falls (Alex is a CLM intern and Kat works in the Idaho Falls office as a Resource Assistant!) Our group hiked up to Sheep Mountain South and began alpine monitoring. Luckily, the weather was cooperative while we were there, with only one small sprinkle while we were on the peaks. Our group had 4 peaks to survey, and we split up during the day to cover more ground and set up our monitoring equipment. It was a great weekend and a nice change of pace working in alpine environments!

Overall, it’s been an exciting and busy month! I look forward to what the rest of August holds!

Fantastic Foray to Stuck Truck

The Rocky Mountain Research Station in Boise, Idaho is incredibly busy! I started off my internship by travelling with some forest service coworkers to a Botanical Foray at the Desert Experimental Range (DER) in Utah. Marguerite, Bebe, Anna and I met some amazing botanists who are passionate about the Great Basin. We hiked up Tunnel Springs Mountains, I collected and pressed some cool cacti (and made my first ever voucher!!), and we socialized with like minded botanists. We filled some of our free time with campfire stories, hunting for scorpions, going to Great Basin National Park to scout for rare plants, and seeing some beautiful scenery.

DER Camp
Desert Mojave Cactus
Pressing a Cactus

In the middle of June, I helped assist a BSU project in Bruneau, Idaho. We camped at Bruneau Dunes State Park. We identified species in blocks for a master student’s data.

Jessica – Bruneau
BSU Students + Archie

My last big trip of the month was to the Modoc Plateau in Oregon, California, and Nevada. Elric and I went with Joe, a forest service seasonal employee to scout for plants in predetermined wetland sites for a follow up survey of an AIM season. Hiking in the Great Basin is so unique, one minute you are in sagebrush steppe or desert, the next you are in small wetland areas.

First Night Sunset
Birthday Sunset

We found some amazing plants that weren’t on our species list- like this huge puffball!

Puffball- size of my hand!
IRMI- Target Species
Obsidian Fragment

Then… we hit a little speed bump in our trip. We got stuck in some mud, and ended up having to call for a rescue from Boise. We were about 6.5 hours away, but Jessica and Anna came to our rescue! Elric, Joe and I camped out for about 40 hours waiting for help to arrive, since we got stuck in the late day/early evening on Wednesday 6/28.

Stuck Truck
Rescue Truck
Elric’s Celebration

After long hours of working on the truck’s escape from the mud, we finally got it! We had a celebratory spaghetti dinner, and then we camped close by for the night. We were able to finish out assignment in the Modoc Plateau! We got back late Friday (6/30), and we are so relieved to be back home.

Overall, this has been such a thrilling first month to my internship! I can’t wait to see what the rest of this season holds with these amazing people!