Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm going to miss the Tetons.... and hopefully I won't be away too long.

So, I know it's been forever since I put up a post here, but I thought I'd put one more up before I leave. The last few weeks have been a little crazy at work trying to finish everything up and leave what I've been owrking on in some sense of order, in addition to freaking out about my thesis project. The other thing I've also been doing is realizing how much I haven't been able to do while I've been here... hikes, climbs, bars... So, this past weekend my fantastic friend Robyn and her fiance Justin came to visit and we took a trip up into Paintbrush Canyon. We camped at Holly Lake and well..... there was no snow when we got there and this is what we woke up to. It was 28 degrees when I left my cabin this morning, so up there it must have been in the teens. I FROZE in my bag rated for 20 degrees. I think I spent the entire night rubbing my legs to keep them warm and fell asleep for about an hour from the exhaustion.

It was FANTASTIC though the next morning. The most amazing sunrise ever... What an amazing thing to see before I leave. What a change it's going to be to come back to the humidity of Charleston. I'm a little worried about hopping off that plane into the heat. Anyway, I'm going to miss Jackson and Grand Teton so much and I am so not ready to leave yet. For those of you who I haven't talked to recently, I'm seriously considering the move out here after graduation. It's such a wonderful place full of friendly people that love to spend time in the outdoors. Until then, I'll be in school and working at Half-Moon - yay!

See you all soon! I'll be flying into Charleston on the 22nd because I have a wonderful mother and she's agreed to fly out here and drive my car home so that I can stay out here for another week. Love you, mom. :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

I made it to the top of the Grand Teton!


I'm never taking a camera to Glacier again....

(This was written a while ago before the trip up the Grand and should have been posted earlier, but I'm a little off with the blogging right now.)

So, it has been a while and I apologize…  I lost my blogging stride a little after going off to Glacier for the Fourth of July.  We had quite a blast and it completely wore me out.

So, one my favorite new things about the park service is their policy on holidays.  They’ll never screw you out of a holiday if it falls on your day off (colleges should think about instituting this…)  Basically, the Fourth fell on a Saturday and I’m normally off on Fridays (I work 4 – 10 hour days) so I got of Thursday.  YAY for a three day week, while getting paid for four! 

Anyway, so Anna and I left for Glacier!  Alex, her fellow intern, and his roommate Matt joined us as well.  The drive wasn’t too bad, around eight hours in the green rolling hills of Idaho and Montana.  Saw a few interesting things on the way…  First, for some reason all bales of hay in Idaho are square.  Kinda looks like a farmer’s version of modern art.  And, apparently, there’s nothing else to do out in the middle of nowhere…. Sad.

On the first night in we stopped at Charlie’s Bar in Babb, MT on the eastern side of the park… the local bar on the res.  It was a very interesting outlook on local Indian/Park relations.  Definitely a decent amount of animosity between the two, especially concerning the most recent fire out there that originated in the park and spread to the reservation.  And the place was carpeted…. Eeeww.  (But, all together, totally worth going.  Plus, Babb is the coolest town ever.  Had to get a Babb T-shirt.)  Ended up camping in St. Mary’s in the park.  Okay campground, but not fabulous, campsites were WAY.

Second day was our day in Glacier …  The plan was to do the Highline trail but we had heard that it wasn’t open yet.  We ended up going to Iceberg Lake and then up the scree field to where the Shangri La Trail is but ended up sliding on our butts all the way back down.  Tons of fun, but hard on the knees.  Made our way across the park on the Going-To-The-Sun Road (just as awesome as last year!) and anna and i jumped in the flathead on the side of the road.  CRAZY COLD.  But super fun.  

And the culmination of the trip.......  POLEBRIDGE.  My first ever hippie commune.  Living off the grid at its finest.  (And, the mercantile is on the National Register of Historic Places, so it was totally educational.)   

Frisbee and beer games and music all day long.  Met tons of awesomely hilarious people camped on the banks of the river with a huge bonfire....  If only I hadn't lost my camera somewhere in that crazy town.  :(

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

So, on Sunday, David (one of the other interns) and I took a hike up to Jackson Peak, the highest peak in the Gros Ventre range at 10,715 feet in elevation. Basically it gives an awesome 360 degree view of the Grand and the Gros Ventre. So, unfortunately this will be another short post... Anna and I and Alex (her fellow intern) and his roommate and her friend Chris are all going to Glacier National Park for the fourth of July weekend. Tonight is grocery shopping and depositing my pay check! Work is going well, it's still a lot of paper work, but I'm actually putting those interior design skills to work... putting together a furniture plan for White Grass Ranch - the one that the WCHP is restoring to use as a training center for preservation skills.

Otherwise, I'm still at a loss with what to do for my thesis.... if anyone out there has any ideas or inspiration, I'm desperate!

Goodwin Lake

Plenty of snow to travel over... that's for sure... Jackson Peak is right at the top there.

View from halfway up to the peak...

More views... and David!

Hello from halfway to the peak!

View from the top! OKAY, so the coolest part about this picture. The Grand Teton is the tallest peak in this photo. Go two peaks to the left and then straight down to the first thin long patch of lighter green color. I live on the far right side of that. Pretty sweet. Now, doesn't that make you want to come and visit???

More views from the top...

Cute, huh?

Until they start chewing no your stuff because of the salt...

Monday, June 29, 2009

okay, so not to get political....

but it's a little crazy that the Green Heron made national news.... stupid scum Sanford.
more pictures tomorrow... On Sunday David and I climbed Jackson Peak. 10, 715 feet in elevation. Yay for snow!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

We'll see if this works... Video from right below our campsite...

Snow Days

Hello from Moose again! So today should have some fun pictures. On Friday, Anna and David and I left to make the loop up Open Canyon Trail and back down Granite Canyon Trail in the southern end of the park. But don't let "southern" fool you... the snow was definitely there and definitely changed the course of our trip. Started out early on Friday so as to get as far as possible before the snow started softening and before any afternoon rain. First things first, we had the most AMAZING weather. That might be because it's rained straight for the past three weeks, but it did not rain at all on Friday and that was a very good thing. We probably got a good seven miles or so and lost the trail probably close to directly north of the Mount Hunt Divede because the snow was so deep. We decided we'd try the up and out method and try to figure out where we were so we climbed about 1000 ft in elevation up a bunch of snow fields to the south and realized we should have continued west some more before turning up. So... at that point, it was what the heck, we find some place to camp here with an amazing view at about 9500 feet in elevation, or we go back down and look for the trail and hopefully make it to our camping zone on the other side of the divide at who knows what time. We definitely chose the former... you should have seen the view... a little bit different than the lowcountry.

(Note: These signs are usually around waist high...)
We definitely pulled out the ice axes and crampons and used them. Tons of fun, but, man, my toes did get cold. Time to re-waterproof my boots.Sun - out + Exhausted - after zig zagging up those actually really steep snowfields = Naptime on the ground in the sun for two hours. GLORIOUS.

So, then for dinner, actually made some delicious camp food with noodles, a creamy pesto sauce, peas, s & p, garlic powder, parmesan cheese and chicken out of a bag (that smelled a little like tuna on first sniff but actually tasted pretty good once cooked). Oh, and chocolate for dessert. Can't forget the chocolate. Slept okay, but the site was a little sloped so Anna and I ended up a little squished. But, the worst part was the sleeping pad, the damn thing must have a hole, but I can't find it. Anyone want to contribute to the fund for a thermarest z-lite that won't deflate?

We slept in the next morning (temps had definitely dropped over night) and made some hot tea and breakfast and got the heck out of the there. (The weather was definitely set to turn bad in the afternoon.) This led glissading down numerous snowfields and otherwise sliding down on our butts in the snow... The snow also got really soft on the way back because of the sun the day before ,so quite a few times I ended up up to my hips in snow. We were lucky that we got as far as we did the day before, because we definitely lost the trail on the way back as well (and found it again) but we did sort of do some creative trailblazing along the river...

So, safe and soundly back, we splurged showers at the cabin and pizza at Mountain High Pizza Pie (SO worth it.). All in all a fantastic trip even though we didn't make it all the way around the loop. Probably a good thing we ended up off course anyway.... we forgot the permit at the cabin.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

YouTube Links!

My driveway....

Anna going across a tree...  don't have a video of me, but this is what we do while not at work.

The jets have overheated.....

Okay, so today's a quick post....  and the photos are totally out of order, but I thought I'd put up something...  So going from the bottom of the photos...  Anna and I went for a hike up death canyon trail...  started out climbing rocks and ended in the snow...  

as for internship fun...  Al (one of the preservation crew) and I went to do a condition assessment on a backcountry cabin on Lower Berry Creek.  Ended up wading through two feet of icy lake water after a forty minute boat ride.  Actually was a blast.  And then the ride back.................  well, the smoke explains it all pretty much.  We didn't make the park significant rescue events for the next day's report, but we did have to get picked up by the park's boston whaler rescue boat.  AH, that reminds me....  I do need to tell the story of how we DID make the park's dispatch report the next day the night of our potluck party.  that story's for next time.  I'll have to take the time to write that one out before hand.

Anyway, miss you all and love you all!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

GIS is my new volunteering outlet...

Okay, so I wrote the last post just the other day and posted it today, so their just now both going up.  

Anyway, just a few more pictures...  I'm currently having a margarita down at Dornan's uploading this stuff and then I'm back to the cabin.  Last night we had a potluck out at the ranch and i think about fifteen people ended up coming....  Amazing food was brought by all.  I made gumbo (I didn't fall asleep this time while cooking it, and it turned out much better), eggplant vegetable lasagna, curried korma beef tips, and a ton of other things...  including some awesome Duvall cookies from John.  

So, other very cool things going on with the internship... I'm volunteering on my friday's off with the GIS department.  Very fun work out in the field.  My roommate's in that department and the other day we headed out to Elk Ranch to record the locations of the historic irrigation system out in the fields.   

Anna and David and Steve and I went for a hike today in Targhee National Forest.  Tons of gorgeous flowers....  And time for me to get in better shape, we've been hiking a few times a week now, time to up the ante so I'll be ready to do Grand Teton in July.

Anyway, I miss everyone so much and I hope that all of my girls' & Chris'! internships are starting out well....  Again, please send me your number and addresses so I can give you a call and say hello! (and send postcards!)

I peeled a log!

So, finally a little bit about my internship!  So, I’m up here living in this crazy little wood cabin in the middle of nowhere in Grand Teton…. 

At work we’ve been working a lot on getting caught up on the 106 Compliance Reports that have to be done for almost all of the preservation projects within the park.  The major ones have to go through the state SHPO office while regular maintenance gets to skip that process through the Programmatic Agreement among the National Park Service, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and the National Conference on State Historic Preservation Officers for Compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.  I’ve also been writing some completion reports that have to be done when projects are completed.  So, tons of paperwork…  but it’s not that bad.

Now, fun stuff…  the center is rehabilitating an old dude ranch to use as their training center in the future and right now they are in the process of stabilizing the main cabin, Hammond Cabin.  Today, Lauren, the other intern from last year, and I stripped a log that was then installed at the base of the wall where the previous one had deteriorated too much to be saved.  Very cool, but my back’s going to kill me tomorrow.  I did the whole left hand side of the log!

Anyway, miss you all…  This weekend is potluck night at Sky and I’m making gumbo.  Should be about twenty of us sitting around drinking beer, listening to people play music  and watching the elk graze….

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My internet access is as scarce as the bears...

So, my internet is extremely limited....  right now, though I'm sitting down at Dornan's, the local waterhole in Moose, and using their free internet.  And no bears yet, but I did go out with my roommate Anna (who is awesome) who works in the GIS department (also awesome, I want to volunteer with them to learn GIS) and we saw bear prints.  (The third photo is also of bison that we saw that day while out taking GIS coordinates.

So far everything is pretty amazing...  I live in an amazing cabin in the woods.  It's super secluded and has an incredible view of the mountains.  Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the cabin.  I have been so busy that I haven't been able to keep up with the photo taking.  I have gone hiking a few times with some people that we've met. (The second and fourth photos.) There's been too much snow to really do any camping yet.  Sorry this is so short but I don't have every much time.  I MISS ALL OF YOU SOOOOO much.  I'm really hoping that a few of you MSHP girls could pass on a message for me to people that might not see the blog.  --  I had to get ANOTHER new phone after I got a new phone, so could someone maybe copy and email me the phone numbers of everyone.  I have wanted to call so many times, but the only numbers I managed to write done were Becky's and Bridget's before the first one died.  I've started to paint postcards too so please keep on sending the address!!

Miss you all!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Okay, so if I happen to make it out of Moose at the end of the summer, there's a possibility I won't make it past Denver...

Denver is definitely one of my new favorite places.  There are SO many things to do in this city. 

This morning I got up early and drove out to the Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs.  Very impressive....  the rocks and the guys climbing them.  Colorado Springs was also very pretty.  Imagine being able to wake up and look out your window to see a snowy Pike's Peak. 

I also reallly wanted to stop and take a tour of the Air Force Academy Chapel, but I left my cell phone in Denver and was worried that the people from the internship would call.  
I'm moving in tomorrow at the ranch...   Cross your fingers that all goes well!  I have a long drive tomorrow before I get there too.  

SO, as for super cool things about Denver:

First, the REI store is incredible.  I may be biased, but it's definitely one of my favorite adaptive reuse projects ever.  The interior is just INCREDIBLE.  Sadly, I didn't get to take any pictures inside, but I will be back.  No doubt about that.  This is from the architect's website:

"REI’s Denver Flagship store responds to the historical industrial nature of its building and site –for more than 50 years, furnaces in the building burned coal to generate electricity for Denver’s streetcar system. Much of the landmark’s structure was left intact, requiring restoration of nearly 75,000 square feet of the building’s brick walls, and utilizing its steel structure to support floors inserted within the building shell. Existing interior elements were kept as artifacts. The design team restored original wood windows and created historic replicas for pieces that had deteriorated. A landscaped courtyard and store entry extends a public park system, creating adjacencies to major bike routes and a whitewater kayak course where shoppers can test paddling products."

Second, I have fallen in love with a part of town here called Highlands.  Very cute, very tiny homes.  Many of them brick and in Craftsman style.  Google "Highlands Denver Real Estate."  

Third, I have managed to somewhat figure out my way around the city.  We all know that my sense of direction is not the greatest.  

Well, last night in Denver and I'm off to bed.  Having breakfast with a family friend in Laramie, WY and then on to the ranch!!

So hello to everyone back home and please send me addresses!!!  I just got some watercolor postcards to paint, so if I get an address you get a mini painting!  Miss you all so much!