I expected the sun to be blazing down on us as we surveyed last week, especially as we drove through scorching one-hundred degree Redding, CA. However, the thick blanket of clouds most of the week kept the hot rays from reaching us. Regardless of the chilly weather (with a few exceptions (we took advantage of one sunny day after work and swam in a gorgeous bedrock pool), it was a week well spent working off of the Northfork Hayfork.
The watershed offered a variety of ‘creeks’ for us to survey, some better than others. We had two sites on the mainstem which were pretty nice— in them we found quite a few frogs, and even a turtle! There were a few sites with mellow cascades and more large wood than the others. And then there were two dry sites—offering not too much in the way of excitement (although the second dry site we surveyed had about thirty cows wandering around in the channel and on the road next to it. I don’t imagine they’re helping improve the quality of the stream).
This year I’ve been trying to utilize the plant press that our program provides. My first pressing attempt turned out quite well, although I was disappointed to realize that the process of drying the plant takes most of the color away. I first pressed Arctic Lupine which I found along the road at our last watershed. Tiger Lily, Red Columbine, and another unknown lily-looking flower are being pressed now—I’ll see how they turn out in a few weeks!
One highlight of the week was the amount of wildlife we saw in our watershed. Though they weren’t too spectacular individually (we didn’t see any bears), the diversity of little critters was exciting. There were quite a few yellow-legged frogs, squirrels, and cows, some horses, and tree frogs, a hummingbird, a few types of snakes, a tiny bounding fawn, and I even found a little scorpion under my tent as I was packing it up on the last day! Another highlight of the trip was the spectacular view we got of Mt. Shasta. On the way south to our watershed we has a perfectly clear view of the mountain in all of its glory, and on the way home it looked just as stunning, this time hugged by a donut shape cloud around its center.
I’m currently spending my week off back home in Washington with lovely family and friends. I had a wonderful time celebrating my birthday with my loving mother, and have spent the past few days either relaxing at home with my pets or catching up with old friends who are still around for the summer.
This next stint will be spent near Brookings, OR, I’m looking forward to seeing a whole new area!