Friday, May 29, 2009

Fotolog

There have been a few new developments here. The first news is that Brandon bought a zoom lens for his camera. Now the quality of our fotorecord in the field is supreme. The other news is that we have found the fabled great basin spadefoot toads. There bury themselves underground for almost the whole year until the choicest of climatic occurrences lure them above ground. There they squack like geese (some say they snore) to attract mates to ephemeral pools, puddles and ditches after rain has flooded grassy meadows. Their offspring metamorphose and mature over the course of a few weeks. That is lightning fast for amphibians. Almost as soon as they emerged, the spadefoot re-submerges and sleeps for the large part of a year until it is time to go at it again. We found them!


The black thing on its foot is the fingernail-like "spade" for digging.


We also spent much of the past week in Red Desert, which was largely unsuccessful as far as amphibian-hunting is concerned, but we did see plenty of wild horses and even the elusive desert elk. We encountered some very unfavorable mud, and some bizarre landscapes as well. The follow pictures are a mix-up of days and places, some in Red Desert, and other from around Dad and Baggs.



Ground salt.



Long-eared owlet! Mom was watching nearby. There were a three babies in different trees acting weird.
Watching us. Made me uncomfortable.
Owlet flopped in the water.
These ladies posed for us.
The front horse is the dad and master.

I was pissed.
Deep, sticky, and heavy.
It seemed like miles, and my quads were killing me already that day. The mud sent me over the edge. I think I am swearing about having to turn back from the lake in this shot. It was too hard to keep going.
Send that mud flyin'!
Giant crawdad. We later saw two dead crawdads that were honestly 10 inches long head to tail, not including claws or antennae.



Stampede


Desert ElkScorpio.
Wolf tracks. They are big.

Monday, May 25, 2009

KillMore Trout (Please)


Diners,

so the food of Wyoming tends to lack goodness and is largely indigestible (except for the strangely stellar Anong's Thai restaurant here in Rawlins). It is also expensive because this is an inland island.

Of course, we cook most everything, as is the Bachelor Diner's way. As forewarned, the abundance of wild creatures here has led to their inclusion in my diet. Recently we ate up a big old rainbow trout that Brandon caught while working with the Fisheries scientists. So delicious. We just pan fried the whole guy (gutted of course). So delicious. So delicious.


Mule deer from the hunting exploits of my other roommate, Brad, has entered my stomach on a number of occasions as well. It is quite good, and I'm not a red-meat fan by any stretch of the imagination. I love the prongho's too, but one of our supervisors has promised us cheddar and garlic prongho bratwurst that is supposed to be stellar. Can't say no to stellar. There are a lot of prongho's anyway - you have no idea.

So far we have counted 23 frogs - 19 of them Leopard frogs at one site and the other 4 boreal chorus frogs under some logs near another pond. Things aren't going well on that front.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fotos

Brandon's Pictures

The Rattler in the fossils:

Horned Lizard:


Hell:



Keep on dinin'!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bachelor Subaru Ichiban



This weekend we went to Casper, home of the Dick Cheney, and the Dick Cheney Federal Building to visit some of my roommate Brad's friends and check out the city and its wonders. It was way nicer than Rawlins, that's for sure. Probably thanks to Dick's clever manipulation of all things.

On the way we stopped at Independence rock, which was a landmark on the Oregon, California, and Mormon trails. Many pioneers celebrated here for having overcome the BORING eastern plains starting out the new next leg of the trip across the mountains. Many carved their names into this mega rock. We climbed it!



What was cooler were some limestone fossil beds at Alcova Lake. Brad stopped by to show us some Pterodactyl tracks!
It was cool, but you can't really see them in the photo. The stones has mud ripples from the beach they used to be, and one layer was composed entirely of shellfish. It was rad. Apparently there is a rhino bone in the rock nearby, but it was on private land and hidden. We saw our first rattler too. Clearly, Brandon got the better shot.

Today I bought a car! A 2000 Subaru Outback for $2500. Whoa! What a deal! I am going to change the brakes, get new tires, and change the oil and then I'll have a wagon for some Wyoming adventuring. Time to start spending some money...


I am also including some pictures of my apartment, in case you care at all. The good stuff in all of the pictures belongs to Brad. My room is the empty and cold one full of muddy pants, and the mule deer skulls are really old.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Skull Creek


Hello Diners,

Much has happened by Wyoming standards: Two other fine gentlemen from the barracks have acquired an apartment with me. We have internet and things are good!

We have been spending a lot of time around Dad and Baggs. We found our first amphibians as well! Boreal Chorus frogs, to be precise - the most common frog in Wyoming. They are essentially like our spring peepers, another type of incessantly chirpy tree-frog. We also obtained a sage brush lizard and a horned lizard! I will provide horned lizard photos as well as a picture of chorus frog amplexus someday soon.



Today we ventured out farther west of Baggs toward Kinney Rim. Our destination was a place called Skull Creek. The route was appropriately perilous. About 50 miles of offroad along a rocky rocky ridge. I bottomed out temporarily twice along the way as we traversed washouts. The view was amazing, and we made it to a crazy canyon with nothing but badlands in the background. Apparently, there is a petrified forest in those badlands and fossils galore. I found obsidian.

When we finally reached the end of our trek, about 5 miles from Colorado we found that there were no amphibians. But there were wild horses. About one score, in multiple small herds, running away from our truck. Their epicenter were the sandy hills surrounding a ghost ranch and reservoir. Mega cool. These mustangs raised sand when we drove within 200 yards, and then watched us from a safe distance. They were BIG horses too.



The abandoned ranch was really strange, with buildings seeming to have originated from various periods. The only residents now are cottontails and a mean old great horned owl. It was probably abandoned in the 70's or 80's because we found plastic big wheel tricycle parts from the ranch children, and the sagebrush growing around the troughs and barns were very tall. There were some mule deer bones and a jackrabbit ribcage. The sofas were exploding with rot and the old cans were plentiful. It was in such an isolated place, and the surroundings so barren and desolate, that it wasn't hard to see why no one lived there now. Judging by the landscape, the ranchers totally mismanaged their herd. It seemed like they had built that reservoir the horses liked, expected everything to be jolly, and then let their cattle graze down the grass to nothing but the sand beneath. Nothing grew back, the rain never came, and their frontier dream ended.

Things are crazy here!

Addie is coming on JULY 17th!!!

Thanks for reading, diners. You're the best!