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"It is the journey which makes up your life."

Friday, July 28, 2006

Many Mountains

Hey there! I've been keepin' myself buisy. There are two more weeks left for me to finish my research project, so I've spent most of my time in the lab these last few weeks. The deal is this: Coal mines are bad for aquatic ecosystems. Why? you ask. Well.. coal used to be ancient wetlands, and it accumulated all kinds of toxic stuff, like wetlands do. Dig it up and dump tons of sediments in the river and bring lots of people and machinery into a place... you cover gravel beds with muck, you load the rivers with too many nutrients, change the species assemblages and you poison things with bioaccumulating toxins. "Prove it!" says Canada. "Fine," sez me. So I got a bunch of algae samples from Canada - on the North Fork of the Flathead river (which is incredible! Hundreds of miles, no people, no dams, roads that tried to eat my car - saw lots of moose... even a wolf, and was twenty yards from a bear, in ten days.) And then I sampled in the Elk river, which drains the other side of the mountain where they want to build the mine. There are already five big mines in the drainage, so you can see what it's done already. The algae is only a piece of the picture.. but I think it's worthwhile and pretty cool. Thus, I've been slaving away in the lab recently taking biomass and chlorophyll measurements and trying to identify diatoms. I have been running and going swimming in the lake in the evening, though. Lots of sunsets.

Weekends, of course, are sacred. That's adventure time. There are already too many stories to tell, so mostly I will just add more pictures and let you make up stories for yourselves. I have spent them, in this order, like so:
1)Backpack to lake. Damn it's wet. You heard about that one.
2)Monster truck rally.. cowboy bar.. Glacier.
3)Backpacking in the swan range - climb a mountain, lose trail twice and end up going 19 miles in a day and hiking till midnight. Loved it.
4)Bluegrass Festival in the biterroot valley. Music and beer.

5)Canada. Campfires.. moose. Standing in the river in evening watching all the mayflies hatching. There's this creek that goes through the road and I hope we don't get stuck! Sunday we are hassled at the border and listen to Freebird eight times on the drive home.
6)Last weekend... hiking again. We found a ridge trail into the Bob Marshall wilderness and were going to visit a lake, but between high 90s heat and hangovers we only make it five miles. This turned out to be a good idea. We camped on top of a point with an amazing 360 view. Probably the most beautiful night I have ever spent.

Evil plans..
This awsome guy gave me his old Schwinn. I must fix it. And there is a cute rafting guide who works in the lab.. I will probably go floating with him and make some pathetic attempts at learning to fly fish.

If I didn't love Portland so much I would never leave this place.


Blogger Kat said...

What are those things in your eeeaaarsss?

2:27 AM


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