33 years ago Mount St. Helens busted her gut, and in two weeks I get to go back to getting paid to tell everyone how amazing it was!
Add glad as I will be to get out of here in two weeks, some days I do have a pretty awesome job.
The sister came down to Stevenson for a night. We camped out in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and this morning I took her out on the ziplines. Also she gave me a book on natural history of the Pacific Northwest. She is super duper awesome.
Why yes, I am.
(He’s pretty awesome too.)
Oh hey, guys! This is where I live these days!
(And working 15-hour days with no breaks and going crazy and stressing the hell out but I only have three weeks left and I’m trying to ignore all that and soak up the awesomeness of the desert before I make like a tree and get the hell out of here and go back to the mountains where there are actually real trees, not sad splintery excuses for them.)
I need to go to sleep now.
My home for the evening.
Took a solo trip today to Newberry National Volcanic Monument, and when I asked about good dispersed camping spots, the ranger told me about the frequent cougar sightings in the area. So yes, I’m being a pansy and sleeping in the car.
Adventures that culminated in my friend driving away with his camera before giving me the pictures from the trip… or else I would share some.
Suffice it to say that there’s some really sweet geology around this area.
Bucks County’s largest bat population has met a grim fate. Scientists have confirmed that nearly all of the 10,000 bats that have hibernated in an abandoned iron ore mine in Upper Bucks for generations have died. When Pennsylvania Game Commission Biologist Greg Turner recently visited the Durham mine for the first time in two years, he found total devastation.
The Durham bat mine was once the second largest known bat habitat in Pennsylvania, but this winter only 23 were found alive. Of those, half had clear signs of infection.
Bucks County’s bats were wiped out by a disease that has been killing bat colonies across the Northeast at an alarming rate in the past four years. White nose syndrome causes a white fungus to form around the nose of infected bats. They lose the body fat needed to survive hibernation and ultimately the mammals starve to death during the winter months.
During his visit to Durham’s mine on Feb. 21, Turner found three different species of cave bats. Eighteen of the 23 bats were little brown bats. Of those, half of them were crowding at the entrance to the cave or had fungus on their muzzles; both are tell-tale signs of the fatal infection….
In Pennsylvania, 98 percent of cave-hibernating bats have died, said Turner.
Terrible. White nose syndrome has wiped out populations across the northeast, too. Since bats regulate populations, expect an explosion of bugs in the coming years. And with rising temperatures from climate change, more bugs will be moving north, and their natural seasonal cycles will last longer.
You can help prevent White Nose Syndrome’s spread! If you plan on entering a cave or hibernaculum in the western half of the US (where the disease hasn’t reached yet, be sure you’re not bringing in gear (boots, clothes, even a camera) that has been in a cave back east in the last few years, as it may still carry the spores of the White Nose fungus which could infect local populations. Even thorough washing may not be enough to get rid of the spores, so better to play it safe and not risk our bats even further!
The desert has been an excellent learning experience and inspiring in many ways, but all in all it hasn’t been the best fit for me. I’m thrilled to be cutting the season short in June to head back to the cozy forests of the wet side and the mountain I’ve come to love, and to step back into uniform for the completely fulfilling work of being an interpretive forest ranger.
I plan to spend my little free time during my last month out here on the dry side appreciating the landscape and soaking in as much as possible. After that, I will once again be Sarah on the Mountain!