July 9, 2014
By Kassandra Arts (Northland College)
We have climbed mountains before, but now we are climbing them for science. As one of the few Midwestern flatlanders in the program, I saw this as an interesting change. This past week was the beginning of our group’s experience with many of the research projects that we will be taking part in this summer. We changed our first batch of temperature loggers at our Nival and Treeline summits for Round River’s GLORIA project, and we have conducted multiple hoary marmot surveys, finding latrines, scat, along with seeing many of them in the flesh. We have also filled two of our nights with common nighthawk surveys, where we have had success and had the chance to see some more wildlife, such as great horned owls, porcupines and black bears. The late night sunsets aren’t that bad either, especially at midnight.
With and without the science, the fellowship is growing ever closer as we spend more and more time experiencing and learning together. Although we come from many different walks of life, this only lends to the many interesting discussions we have with each other. On the many adventures we go on, we always have a friendly face to turn to. Soon we will be leaving for ournext adventure to the Nakina River, following the traditional Tlingit trail. After meeting a few elders and learning about the cultural and spiritual importance of this area, it sounds like it is going to be a pretty exciting trip. We all look forward toward meeting many of the people of this place and to experience just one aspect of what they love about the area. Long walks, talks, and multiple adventures await us, and I can’t wait.