Driving away from Humboldt county on highway 299 towards my new home in the Oregon high desert, I tried to appreciate the shade that would soon be rapidly fading. As the sun started to steadily creep over my left arm throughout the drive all I could think of was “Ahh crap I should have brought a sunscreen with an SPF higher than 15…”. Sun protection just isn’t something one thinks about when living under a forest canopy so thick that when it hits 72 degrees in July everyone screams “SUMMER!”, and boy am I excited to experience some real weather.
Upon arrival, I was introduced to my co-inten who has some familiarity with this areas flora. Immediately this comforted me, knowing that we wouldn’t be out there keying everything for the first week or so from square one (which we still have been doing anyways, for every genera you know there are 5 species you didn’t even know existed ). Its rapidly coming to my attention that this internship is going to be such a learning experience, more so than other field jobs I’ve taken in the past. Only two weeks in and I’m sad that are only 800 more hours to go.
Ill end with describing two beautiful sites we’ve visited thus far.
1.The Lost Forest –
A relic of what used to be, the lost forest is a research natural area preserved by the Bureau of Land Management. It is a stand of ponderosa pines and western junipers that have been isolated by over forty miles of desert from their contiguous counterparts. The real mystery is how these trees are still surviving, given the lack of surrounding surface water. This stand is also being encroached upon by the Christmas valley dunes, which were formed when Mt. Mazama erupted to give way to Crater Lake. Its a crazy ecosystem to see in person.
2. Hart Mt. and the Pronghorn Antelope Refuge
Sure this place is teeming with wildlife including pronghorn antelope and bighorn sheep, many rare plants, and boasts a great view of the warner wetlands down below but the hands down coolest part were the outdoor hot springs. I cannot think of anything more awesome than being able to take a 15 minute break from field work to dip your toes into the smelly sulphur healing waters on top of a mountain in the sagebrush desert.
BLM Lakeview OR