Yellowstone: July 11th, 2013

2013-07-11 14.09.222013-07-11 14.09.462013-07-11 14.09.532013-07-11 14.10.35Oh Craig Pass…why? WHY!? Once again, we had another doozie of a catchment. Previous teams had set up seven navigation points to get us, the easiest way possible, to the wetlands. Well, Andrew and I both want to tell those people off. The navigation points led us through the worst forest known to man. Painful hours later, when we finally made it to our first site, it was a large lake. The entire day was one large lake after the next with a few dried up wet meadows containing a few adult frog hot tubs thrown in there for good measure. Surveys of that size are a lot of work but we hustled. This has been a two-day catchment in all years but one but Andrew and I both agreed that there is no way in heck we were doing this another day. So we blazed through as best we could. Overall, the breeding habitat was actually pretty spectacular and we found chorus frog tadpoles, one spotted frog tadpole and by glorious god we saw lots of neotenic spotted salamanders. Yes! They’re so cool! Their gills look like big frilly clown collars and they swim so fast. The way out was much easier because we completely ignored the terribly misleading navigation points and instead chose to follow the stream bed. It was relatively smooth sailing once we decided to buck the trend. I fell a few times, of course; I was poked so hard by a fallen log that it split my skin; surefooted Andrew even fell; he split his walking stick right up the middle; Andrew’s forehead was so badly eaten by mosquitoes (even through his hat) that it was inflamed and lumpy for the rest of the night; and both my hips and knees were shot. Basically, it was the status quo for the week. On the bright side, it was much cooler and not as sunny so we weren’t desiccated husks (we often net the desiccated husks of damselflies and dragonflies and wonder how cool it would be if humans left behind perfect little husks like that). As fate would have it, that was the only day that Andrew carried enough water with him. Now he probably doesn’t think he’ll need to carry as much next time since he still had some leftover this time. Ahh…I see a vicious circle forming. While we were still in the forest, I exclaimed that I could see the road peeking through the trees. Andrew all of a sudden sings “Let’s go there. Let’s make our escape.” like Scott Stapp of Creed so we entertained each other by doing our best Scott Stapp impressions until we reached the car. Then it was no-holds-barred Creed’s greatest hits on full blast. If our neck’s weren’t hurting before, they certainly were after our one-hour extravaganza of head banging, dashboard drumming and air-guitaring. I’m so glad he’s my field partner. He’s funny and happy even during our worst moments out in the field. Our styles are perfectly balanced: in the mornings he has a positive outlook on the day whereas I’m poo-pooing everything and by the end of the day he’s wanting to die and I’m telling him that things are looking up. Hah! When things get tough, we both turn inwards and get quiet but eventually the jokes always start back up. Even better, he’s equally out of shape so I never feel like I’m lagging behind. I don’t think the gal who was supposed to be with me would be anywhere near as much fun. Sometimes we try to imagine what she would be like. She would be a snobby, extremely fit aerobics teacher and she would make me survey every wet meadow, even if it was dry that year.

3 responses to Yellowstone: July 11th, 2013

  1. Jess says:

    Despite it all I still think you were doing a cool job. 🙂 But definitely having a entertaining partner makes all the difference!

    • Jaime Lee Hazard says:

      It certainly was a cool gig. I can’t wait to do it again next year! Andrew might be my partner again if he can swing it but Cody might apply too which would be awesome as well. Next year might be full of backpacking trips so my blog might be a lot of me crying like a baby. We’ll see…

  2. Jaime Lee Hazard says:

    Wow, there’s a lot of “mights” happening in my last reply. Jeepers! I need to be more certain when I write something.

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