Five months. Five months in Southwestern Utah and this is my last day of my CLM internship. 48 hours from now I’ll once again have my life crammed back into my little blue Saturn ready to make the cross-country trek back home. I knew when I accepted this internship that I could expect great things, that my life would somehow be better for having done this. Never in a million years would I have guessed how much it would change my life.
Before I came to Utah…. I’d never seen the mountains. Never watched the sun rise over miles of open sagebrush. Never hiked a slot canyon. Never spent 40 hours a week, every week outside in the sunshine. Never saw it snow before Halloween. Never saw a cow crossing sign. Never electro-shocked or used a river seine. Never heard the constant static and long awaited beeps from a telemetry receiver. Never used a Trimble or an E-trex to navigate. Never had any experience with back road 4×4 driving. Never stood out in the middle of an open valley at one in the morning listening for the sounds of Nightjars. Never saw Aspens as they start to change colors in fall. Never had the “pleasure” of digging cheatgrass out of my socks at the end of the day. Never stood in the middle of a prairie dog colony. Never saw a Pronghorn, a Mule Deer, a Golden Eagle or a Sage Grouse.
Five months, 20 weeks. That’s all it took for me to experience all of those things. Five beautiful summer months that I wouldn’t trade for the world.I feel so lucky to have been given this opportunity. It’s helped me grow as a biologist and more importantly, as a person. I will never ever forget the people I met or the things I saw.
So for everyone out there, may you be as blessed as I have. May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back…