Tuesday, August 21, 2012

being a bum pays off

As professional bums, we have to find a purpose to give some meaning to our aimless wondering. Eric and I volunteered to do some citizen science along the trip for the fledgling organization Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation. ASC links adventurers and outdoor athletes with scientists who don't venture to the areas they need to collect data from. We hopped on board for a pika study, as the furry little critters are early indicators of climate change in alpine environments. We hadn't been able to contribute any data until a recent backpacking trip to Glacier National Park, where we finally saw some pikas. Fortunately, along with the data submission, my words and some of our photos are now featured on the ASC blog. Very exciting! Check the link below and find out more about this excellent organization.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

idaho, idaho

Idaho is known to outsiders for its potatoes. Hell, the license plate even says it. 'Famous Potatoes' Why a state with so much natural beauty and one of the most scenic drives in the country relies on a lumpy starch ball that grows underground for its fame is beyond me. Perhaps the scheming minds behind the slogan were attempting to keep throngs of sightseers out of the mountains in a flicker of brilliance. Whatever the reason, the potatoes are the last thing we now conjure up when we think of Idaho.

The lyricist Josh Ritter, a native of Moscow, Idaho, wrote a gem of a song about his home state. Eric and I have listened to it since day one of the ropetrip, and daily plays of the tune snowballed the excitement to cross the border. The song is a beautiful tune with loads of imagery about his pining to be in Idaho. It sounds a Capella, but a light plucking of a guitar can be heard faintly in the background. Give it a listen:


We discovered the wolves, cedar trees and dusty gravel roads Ritter refers to in the song while gazing at its mountainsides. Our time in Idaho included meeting some friendly characters at the Java coffeehouse in Twin Falls who hooked us up with some tasty beverages on the house, a trip to climb on the oldest exposed rock on the continent (2.5 billion years old) in City of Rocks, and a wonderful drive through the Sawtooth and Salmon River scenic byways. We stopped to splash around in some natural hot springs on the Salmon before popping out of the lush forest and hitting the northern high desert prior to the Montana border. Be sure to check out the photos Eric put up on the blog by clicking the links on the sidebar.

Frank Church, an environmentally-minded Idaho senator from the 60's and 70's once stated, "I never knew anyone who felt self-important after spending the night in the open on an Idaho mountainside under a star-studded summer sky." Well played, Mr. Church.

glacier national park mt