What a week!

This week has really been the best week that I have had so far in Southern Oregon. The weather has been somewhat cooperating and has made it awesome for weekend activities.

Last weekend I went to Crater Lake National Park. I went with the intent to do two short hikes and enjoy lunch on the rim over looking the lake. I however was not aware that there was going to be over 20 feet of snow covering most of the roads in the park.

Well the best thing you can do in a situation like that is to adapt and to overcome. So naturally in the spirit of fun and adventure, when the park ranger offered up snow shoes to rent, I did a 5 mile snow shoe trek around the rim of Crater Lake. And let me tell you the views were incredible, the sun burn afterwards not so fun.

The next day was Earth Day and there was an event in Ashland, OR that the BLM had a booth and their salmon tent set up at. So I volunteered to help out with it. Having kids come up and play for hours in the costumes, and wait in line to go into the salmon tent to have a story read to them is such a great way to spend the day. It was a super rewarding way to have fun and interact with the local community.

Then this week allowed me to have a pretty incredible random experience………….. I got to meet elephants. That’s right. Elephants. I got to feed elephants. I got to pet elephants. I got to shake trunks with elephants. It was the most incredible chance encounter ever.

I had to cross private land in order to reach a rare plant survey plot that I needed to get done that day. So I called up the resident and he was more than happy to let me come and park my car and walk across his land to get there. When I arrive at his property, he tells me he runs an exotic animal farm so not to be alarmed if I heard any elephants. And naturally I was very confused and I’m pretty sure my mouth dropped to the floor. He laughed and invited me to meet his two elephants. Honestly what amazing creatures to have in your backyard.

And that has easily been the best week so far.

Sierra Sampson

Medford, Oregon BLM

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