With the 2018 orientation season behind us the 2018
MeadoWatch season has officially arrived! Last Thursday-Friday I
embarked on my first "solo" field work excursion, accompanied
by Kianna Dieudonné of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars
Program. We drove to the park on Thursday morning and hiked
the beautiful Glacier Basin Trail. Conditions were perfect; clear
blue skies and comfortable temperatures made for a wonderful
outing. The Glacier Basin Trail is now completely melted out and survey markers have been placed at each of
our plots! For the Glacier Basin hikers, you should have no trouble navigating this trail the rest of the season.
After a decent night's rest we woke up early Friday morning brewed some coffee and set off for the
Reflection Lakes Trail. Clear skies and cool weather made for another gorgeous and enjoyable hike, even
if the trail provided challenges at some points. As those of you who have already hiked this trail know, much
of it is still covered in snow. The snow doesn't make the hike itself mechanically difficult (I do suggest bringing
poles and/or microspikes), but it does make the trail very tough to find in some spots. We were aided by our
GPS, but for those of you that don't have one I would exercise caution while hiking this trail at the moment.
Also of note, because there is still a lot of snow on the trail, most of the plots are still without survey markers
(if you're ever curious about the status of the trails/presence of absence of survey markers at our plots check
out this link: http://www.meadowatch.org/our-hikes.html). Despite the conditions, we were able to complete
the hike and were rewarded for doing so in the form of breathtaking views and wildlife companionship; the
wildlife companions being a fearless marmot in search of food (he taste-tested my microspikes and a
keychain on Kianna's pack) and a supportive hiking guide in grouse form (he literally helped guide us along a
section of the trail on our descent).
Overall, solo field work week number 1 was a success and I can't wait to get back at it this week. I wish you all
happy hiking; and hopefully I'll get to see some of you on the trails!
All the Best,
Joshua and Your MeadoWatch Team