Thursday, July 9, 2009

Damn technology...

First and foremost, let me apologize for the long absence in my blog writing. I'm confident that your powers of deduction told you that I've been really busy.

On another note, I'm really annoyed at the moment because I spent a couple of hours a few nights ago collaborating all the photos I was to post on here, only to discover when I got to the computer this evening that my USB is not compatible with the work computer. So I can't access any of those photos. Instead, I will post the few I have from work and some I managed to steal from Kate, Michela and Hilary.
So, a month has passed since my last entry. I have played with a lot of fish in that time, and done a bit of hiking (currently past the 100-mile goal). This past week of work has been AWESOME. We collected OVER 1,000 fish in two days, and sent the bulk of that number via helicopter to High Lake of Northwest Yellowstone. These fish, caught through the electrofishing method, are transported to High Lake to increase cutthroat numbers.
There's the helicopter carrying the bucket (more commonly used to drop water over fires) to hold fish.

Since the helitack crew has to abide by all of these safety rules, Kate and I couldn't be the ones standing directly under the copter to drop the fish. These two guys transferred the fish from one of our buckets into the big yellow one. The guy on the right is holding the net of fish.
Just another day at the office. Not a bad place to work, huh? I'm the third from the left. Here's our crew hiking to the spot where the fish were held in live cars.Drumroll please! ...And here's the star(s) of the show! All the little cutthroats, wishing they weren't stuck in a wire cage.And that's how it's done. Kate's holding the probe, which sends an electrical current throughout the water. The rest of us are carrying dipnets to catch fish.
Beyond work, I've been having a blast hiking in and around the park. For the Fourth of July weekend, Kate, several of my dormmates and I camped in Grand Teton National Park and spent a couple of days in Jackson. Unfortunately, since I don't have my photos, I can't share the absolutely stunning sights we witnessed on one of our hikes. Kate, Hilary and I made a 10-mile trek up 18 switchbacks and 4,000 feet of elevation to be rewarded with a breathtaking view of two alpine lakes surrounded by towering snow-capped mountains. We were somewhere below 10,000 ft - the highest I've hiked yet. And for all those football fans out there - we also happened across the path of Peyton Manning on our way up to the first lake. During the chance meeting, Kate and Hilary were exchanging excited glances while I stood in confusion - until they revealed at a more appropriate time that Manning is apparently a very good (HOT!) player in a family of awesome football players. The things you learn on the trail, seriously.
Below is our tent city. Our campsite provided a beautiful view of Jenny lake just beyond the trees.
The group of us in front of the Tetons. From left: the foreigners Michela (Italian) and Agnes (French), then Kate, the two Hilarys, Derek, me, and Andrea (the other Italian). What a great group.

Agnes and Michela. What more is there to say?
The most epic spin-around playground event ever. I'm pretty sure we had 9 people spinning at one point. Kate, Michela and I just flew off. The rest were still hanging on. On the afternoon of the fourth, all of us met some people we knew at a park in Jackson and had a BBQ. Some unmitigated buffoonery might have occurred.The fireworks! This was probably the longest, best firework show I have ever experienced. Being in Jackson with awesome people might also have something to do with it. Oh, for all of those wondering: sadly, I did not get to go in a hot air balloon. For the slight chance we might have had, the group of us would have had to wake up at the ungodly hour of 3 AM to do it. I was all for it, but I think the rest appreciated their beauty sleep a bit more.

The next string of photos are from various hikes I've done the past month. The photos below are from Pine Creek trail. This hike was a hardy 12 miles long that lead up through the Absaroka mountain range to a valley between two peaks, where a glacial lake lay. This hike was outside the park, closer to Bozeman.

Kate, being the BAMF that she really is, me, and Hilary in front of the trailhead. Take special note of the status of our clothing.

Kate in front of the falls. After about 2-3 miles, the hike leads you to these gorgeous falls. Most people hike to this point and then go on their merry way back to their cars. The four of us (or at least I did) huffed and puffed our way on.After hiking through miles of snow, constantly in the search of a marked trail, we came to this talus slope, knowing we had just a bit further to go before reaching the lake. After about 20 minutes of switchbacking and scrambling, a blinding flash of light pierced the sky. Right in the middle of saying "you" in my question to Kate, "Did you take a picture?" a deafening BOOM! shook us (literally) and continued rumbling down the mountains. That sound was a quick ticket out of there. The four of us quickly rushed down to lower ground to avoid being electrified. The mountains that were so clear and bright minutes before became shrouded in a mist of sleet. This was not the first time I had been hailed on while hiking.

Note the stark change between the first photo? Still in happy spirits, though!

The next hike was a 5-mile stroll that ended at Lonestar Geyser. The group of us were lucky enough to catch it erupting.

A closeup of me and Kate, and a better view of the geyser. I got this great photo of it from the other side revealing all of these vivid greens and oranges, but sadly, like I said, I don't have my photos with me.After hiking Lonestar, we all walked a couple of the boardwalks in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone. The one below is of Sapphire Pool. The blue was unreal.This photo, compliments of Kate Olsen, is of one of the vista points seen from the trail leading to Bunsen Peak. This mountain is just behind my dorm. I think one of the photos from a previous entry gives you a good view of it. If not, I'll have to post a photo of it later. In the valley below this view lays the town of Mammoth.You know, doing the usual on top of a mountain. What an incredible view of Swan Lake Flats and the surrounding Gallatin mountain range. We could also see the Tetons far off in the distance.

Well, those are all the photos I managed to steal for now. Next time, I'll be more prepared. Rodeo photos are a guarantee.