I have been pleasantly busy these last few weeks traveling for work and leisure. In late June, one of my roommate and I went to Bend, OR to attend a Grass ID workshop hosted by the Carex Working Group. During this two day workshop, I learned about grass morphology in order to better identify grasses! In addition, we were supplied with a comprehensive grass key of Oregon and Washington, which has been much desired by my fellow interns and me during our vegetation surveys.
Moreover, I have made several trips for work to a ranger cabin that is located two hours away in Fields, Oregon- a town that has a population of 8 people. However, Fields has world-famous milkshake, so, naturally, I love going there. We have continued our ES&R (emergency stabilization and rehabilitation) vegetation monitoring on fire rehab sites in Fields. A lot of the trend sites are inaccessible via a rig, necessitating the use of a UTV, which is a blast to ride on. Even though I have been here for over two months, I am still astonished by the vastness of open land.
The Fourth of July weekend I went backpacking for my first time! A group of friends and I went to the Strawberry Mountains and did a two day, 18 mile loop up and down the mountain. It was the most beautiful hike I had ever been on! The landscape alternated between conifer forests and rocky alpine hillsides covered with wildflowers, many of which I could identify! We even hiked past snow! I’m not really used to camping yet, but I’m getting the hang of it.
The weekend after we made a trip to the Oregon Country Fair in Eugene, OR- a town that is known for its wackiness. Never before had I seen so many different flavors of people and forms of expression. The fair was nestled in a forest on a winding path, and it was set up almost like a craft fair, with rows upon rows of booths of handmade, sustainable items. Afterwards, we traveled to the coast of Oregon. The beaches there are unlike any that I had ever been to; cold, windy, cloudy, sea-salt mist choking the air, conifer forests running adjacent to the white sand beaches, and dark, cold water. It was hauntingly beautiful! We went at high tide to see the famous landmark: Thor’s Well. At low tide we went back to check out all of the tide pools. I felt like a child as I ran from pool to pool, squealing at all of the sea organisms. I feverously tickled every lime green sea anemone I could find, watching them curl up in anticipation of food. In addition, there were royal purple sea urchins, hermit crabs, regular crabs, chitins, barnacles, mussels, limpets, and snails. My favorite was all of the starfish, which ranged in colors (from deep pink to pale yellow to orange) and sizes.
I’m excited for what is in store for the rest of my stay in Burns! We anticipate starting our riparian monitoring within the next month, which I am entirely enthused about!
Until next time,
Burns, OR BLM