Posts filed under Adventure Tuesday

Death Canyon

Adventure Tuesday 

Hiking in the Tetons

    We went hiking in Death Canyon in the Tetons during our time there. As with all places you have to get there early, to beat the crowd. I am one of those too, one of those who get up early to try to get some views of the nature. I think many people have bears, bison, wolves or any other mammal on their list to see. I have seen a fair amount of bears and bison, less wolves but many coyotes. I would be very happy if I saw a large mammal, from a great distance, but if I don't I am still really happy. I love being outside, I love being able to see views, views of the mountains, views of the deep forest and views of all the tiny little flowers, or the texture of a rock.

Death Canyon Trail

    The Death Canyon trail is about 10.5 miles. This day we weren't aiming for a far or fast hike, we just wanted to be out and about.  W's mom and our friend's parents were with us too, and we enjoyed walking slowly and talking about ecology and geology as we continued towards phelps lake. Once we got to the lake we had lunch, just some sandwiches we brought, but we enjoyed the downtime in the shadows. It was once again a pretty hot day, and the mosquites were all around us of course. We never ventured into the canyons themselves, but we enjoyed looking at these magnificents mountains and the stories they silently tell. 

Magical Landscape of Christmas Trees

    The Rocky Mountain forest is so beautiful. The trees are a lot different from the typical black spruce you see in Alaska. They are in the same family, but belong to different genera. The Douglas fir stands tall in the forest, tall and green, and beautiful. A typical christmas tree. Depending on what elevation you are hiking at in the Rocky Mountains, you will see different species, Douglas fir in the lower elevation and whitebark pine at the higher elevations. Sometimes you even see an Engelmann spruce or lodgepole pine, but mostly in between (in elevation)  whitebark pine and Engelmann spruce. 

Fieldwork in Yellowstone part 2

Adventure Tuesday

My life choices and interest

    Often times I stop to think about my life choices, where I started, what paths I took and how I ended up over here, here in the US. There is no doubt that I am living a life that I love, I get to do all those things that are of big interest to me. Sure, I get the boring parts too, but even the boring parts can be enjoyable, which in some sense proves that I actually do love what I am doing. This summer I got to do fieldwork in two different areas, not my own fieldwork for once. I went to Puerto Rico with my job, and helped out with some fieldwork there. A few weeks later I flew into Jackson Wyoming, W picked me up and we drove into the Grand Teton National Park. The following week we spent most of our time in both the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park. The fieldwork itself was in Yellowstone during this trip.

A tale of several fires

    Both W and I study fires for our PhDs, I study how wildfires affect the stream water chemistry and the connection between the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems up in Alaska. Our work is based on climate change and its effect on wildfires, we are trying to understand how a shift in climate might affect the future ecosystems in Alaska, and in the rocky mountains. W studies how changing wildfire regimes and climate affects tree seedling establishment after fires in sub alpine and boreal forest. Alaska with its boreal forests and the Rockies with coniferous and sub alpine flora are two very different ecosystems, but with many similarities. One really important similarity is that changing fire regimes likely mean profoundly different ecosystems in the future. 

Getting dirty

    We share the passion, the passion for our nature. I usually get tangled up int the small details while W tries to understand the bigger picture. We spent most of the fieldwork on all fours, counting seedlings, stumps, trees, charred vegetation, cones, ghost logs and logs. Temperatures were in the 90s and we were basically in a black forest. Mosquitos were not necessarily a big issue, but they were there. By the end of each day we were all black, tired and hungry. We camped at a campground outside the park and swam in the river most evenings. I had the time of my life.

    Did you go on any adventures this summer?

Holly Lake

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The Tetons

    This summer I flew out to Jackson, WY, to help W and his field crew with some ecology work, mainly in Yellowstone. We stayed at a lodge in the Grand Teton National Park, just about an hour or so south of where we were doing most of the fieldwork.

Hiking

    I had just arrived in Jackson a few days earlier when we decided to go on this hike. Originally we wanted to backpack and spend the night at a campsite or alike, somewhere in the mountains, but with all the logistics we figured that a day hike was a lot easier and maybe more doable given the circumstances. I always want to see some grand views during my hikes, and if you can fit in some forest, streams and alpine tundra into that mix I am all for it. A couple of other friends had done this hike the day before and said it was amazing, so we also went on that same hike. 

2900 Feet and 13 Miles

    As I said, we got forest, streams and mountains, right of the bat. We would have to earn the view of the alpine ecosystem of course, some total elevation gain of 2000 feet or so... The deep forest, consisting of spruce and pine does remind me about the Swedish forest to some extent. It reminds me that I have to go back there and get some hiking in. As always we marvel on this landscape, and the ecology behind it. We are both ecologists/biologists, so even the tiniest things matter to us. 

Holly Lake

    The end point of our hike was an alpine lake, Holly Lake. A beautiful lake at an elevation of 9450 feet. Originally W wanted us to continue after the lake, up on the ridge, before heading back, but that did not happen. We were satisfied with the lake being the end point of this hike. I for one was happy about this, because I was pretty beat after that approach. The last few miles before the actual lake we were treading through snowfields that were starting to melt. But what a view once we got there. I am always so blown away by these landscapes. I have to pinch myself in the arm to make sure it's for real. We took a nap at the lake after a quick lunch and then started the descend.

Heading Back

    Most often I am not a fan of out and back trails, with the exception of hikes that includes a view, which seem to be the norm nowadays. Usually when you hike up you keep looking back at the landscape behind you, and you get treated by that landscape all right in front of you when you walk down. Every single view of this hike was absolutely spectacular! Have you done any hiking this year that blew your mind away?

Let's Camp Again

Memorial Day Weekend

Camping

Adventure Tuesday

Memorial Day

    Memorial Day is a big day here in the states, it is a federal holiday to honor and remember the people who have served in the united states armed forces.  Back in Alaska we always went camping or went out for a small adventure, but I haven't really done that in a while so we decided it was time for another trip! A lot of people go camping or hiking during this weekend, or have large family gatherings and BBQ festivities. We took the opportunity to go on a camping trip in the North Woods. 

North Woods

    We drove almost 5 hours north (about 279 miles, or 450km) until we arrived to the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. Don't ask me to pronounce that name because its literally impossible and it sounds very funny when I try to. Memorial day weekend mean that a lot of people are on the road, driving towards their final destination. There were quite a lot of people on the roads during the first few hours but then the traffic decreased significantly and almost disappeared as we got closer and closer to the North Woods.

Camping

A lot of people on the road also mean that the campsites might all be full. There are quite a few campgrounds in and around Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. You can book some of these campsites at certain campgrounds, but the one I had looked at you had to book several days in advanced, you literally could not book it online 2 days before?!? which is ridicoulous...anyway, there were plenty of first come first serve options, but, as the name entails, first come first serve. The final camping option is dispersed camping, which is allowed in National Forests, as long as you aren't close to anyones property, or close to a real campground. However, we realized that finding dispersed camping in Wisconsin might be a lot harder compared to Montana. Either way, we got a late start and figured, worst case scenario we just sleep in the car. 

Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest

    We arrived at one of the campgrounds that I have looked at during the drive, and we decided to take a left and go through one of the loops, and voila, right by the lake was one open spot at 5pm on a Saturday! W went on a short mountain bike ride, and I set up the tent!

Ticks!!!

   The temperature this weekend was so high, but that mixed with frequent rain showers made for a  very humid climate. While I was setting up the tent I discovered an insect I haven't seen for years, because we don't have them in Alaska (well they are extremely rare), I killed it as best as I could and saved it so I could get a confirmation from W. Well, W came back and I showed him and he said yup, totally, a tick! And then we started going through W who had been biking through bushes on the trail and, we found several more ticks on W, and the coming days we found countless of ticks, I seriously think we removed about 50 or so... We did get a wonderful weekend though, filled with good food and mountain biking!

    Have you been camping yet this year?