In the last week, my life has taken a turn that I never imagined for myself this year. I mean, it was something that I dearly hoped and prayed for, but I didn’t really expect. The statistics were just stacked against it. But the clouds parted and the sun shone down on my little heart like a miracle.
I interviewed for, and was offered, a position for this summer at Rocky Mountain National Park. Next month, I’ll be packing up my cabin here in Denali and heading down to Colorado.
Today, a coworker looked at me and asked if this course was, perhaps, bittersweet. Sort of. This landscape up here is amazing and life takes on a whole new meaning. I won’t soon forget falling asleep to the simultaneous calling of both loons and wolves last summer at Wonder Lake and waking up to see that huge peak guarding over the low country.
But on the other end of this journey is Rocky. Regardless of the actual job duties, I’ll be able to sit on Trail Ridge once again and watch the sunset.
It is that time again…..
The big, western National Parks have started their road plowing efforts for the 2012 season, getting ready for the millions of summer visitors that will travel these well-loved routes.
To that end, Denali started working on our park road on March 12. With only a couple of days needed to replow after spring snows, the crew is working on Polychrome Mountain this week. The picture is from around Mile 44-46, roughly. Note that drop-off to the left side of the screen is not just a typical hill – it’s hundreds of feet. 😉
Parks like Rocky Mountain, Glacier, Yellowstone, Mount Rainier and Yosemite all go through the spring plowing ritual. If you’re visiting one of these gems this summer, stop and look at the road you’re traveling on. Chances are, it took a lot to get that road ready for you! Besides the man hours and resources, it takes a bit of understanding and respect for the land itself. These efforts are only possible when Mother Nature lets us have our way.
Another new app in testing…
How does a bear know when it’s time to hibernate? Why do April showers bring May flowers? Plants and animals don’t have calendars or watches, but many of them take cues from the changing seasons. Changes in weather with the seasons, such as temperature and precipitation, signal many organisms to enter new phases of their lives. For example, buds form on plants as temperatures warm in the spring. As temperatures cool in the fall, deciduous trees and shrubs lose their leaves and become dormant. The study of the timing of these changes is called phenology.
—Project Budburst, 2012, http://neoninc.org/budburst/phenology_defined.php
Considering checking out this free app for Android devices and help us gather data to understand what plants are doing when and why!