Yellowstone: June 26th, 2013

 

Lewis Lake has been my favorite catchment thus far. The view alone makes it a 5 star catchment. The trail is beautifully groomed making it easy to hike and takes you through all different types of terrains, from riverside to forested to open meadow to beach. The views of Lewis Lake from the trail were breathtaking. It looks like you’re in Alaska with an enormous white-capped sea of a lake in front of you, with towering snow-covered mountains in the background. Ugh! It’s so freakin gorgeous! There are some beachy areas along the way where you can just relax and take in the view. We decided to survey the closest wetlands today and save the furthest away for tomorrow. It was an hour hike to our forested wetlands. The first one we surveyed was an “accident” or I like to think of it as a warm-up.  Andrew, who had the GPS at the time, thought that it was our first sight so we took the half-hour to survey it. We found tons of chorus frog metamorphs jumping along the wetland edge–which I guess is unheard of this early on in the year because the snow just melted in that location. Plus we found lots of chorus frog tadpoles in various stages of maturity and spotted frog tadpoles. When we finished and walked towards our next site, Andrew realized that we had surveyed the entirely wrong site. The one we had just surveyed was just outside the catchment boundary and the real Site 1 was in fact 60 meters away, safely within the catchment boundary. So we like to loving refer to that wetland as our warm-up. The real Site 1 was almost the size of a lake and took us each almost an hour to survey. Ironically, the real site didn’t come even close to having the abundance of tadpoles that our fake one had. To make matters worse, there were so many downed trees along the edge that it was like constantly doing hurdles. Going up and over, dipping your net, going up and over, dipping your net…this went on for an hour. Since my waders were still wet from the day before, I didn’t even bother taking them. Luckily, when I fell on my ass in the wetlands, of course,  I didn’t have waders to worry about. The rest of the catchment was easy and the one-hour walk back to the car was sooooooo nice.

When we arrived back at the dorm, the Germans had cooked us a vegetable & cheese casserole (one meat version and one veggie for me) in celebration of their last night in Yellowstone. They’re headed back to Germany to process their site samples and begin the tedious work of data analysis and writing it all up. All three of them are working on different projects and for different degrees. Their cooking was much appreciated, especially because it was downright delicious! Two home cooked meals in a row–things are looking up! I will say, the Germans certainly do love their sour cream. My system just doesn’t know what to do with that much dairy, but I devoured it all the same. To heck with the consequences, I was hungry! Most of us stayed up late, telling stories and making each other laugh. I will miss zee Germans. Such nice people. I’m lucky to have made their acquaintance.

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