Long way back to Ottawa

On Wednesday (July 23rd) when we left RMBL, we drove through Cottonwood Pass trying to get to Arapaho National Forest where Mertensia perplexa is found.  Unfortunately, we didn't make the correct turn past Taylor Park Reservoir and wasted at least an hour going the wrong direction.

Taylor Park Reservoir
Taylor Park Reservoir


Daily life in Colorado - Part 8 (final)

This is the last series of photos I took one day before I depart from RMBL as I went for a short hike and thanked the land for allowing me to conduct my research there.

Gothic Mountain
Goodbye, Gothic Mountain.

Salamandering at Mexican Cut Preserve

Last Sunday, I wrapped up my field season by collecting the last nutlets from remaining plants.  The following day, I volunteered to help out with Tiger salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum nebulosum) research in Dr. Howard Whiteman's lab.

The salamander research conducted here at RMBL is fascinating because it takes place at Mexican Cut Preserve, which is one of the highest areas (11,200 feet) in the world where salamanders are found and also the highest land in the world protected by Nature Conservancy.  The alpine ponds on Galena Mountain that house these salamanders were carved by glaciers a long time ago.

Mexican Cut Preserve

Daily life in Colorado - Part 7

I departed RMBL last Wednesday and arrived back in Ottawa past midnight today.  Along the way, I made a couple of detours to visit Mertensia species that are important to another component of my project in the coming field seasons.

Before I share photos from the road-trip, I want to first post some of the photos I took on my last few days at RMBL.

Wild strawberries

Wild strawberries that are still too small to eat.  Sadly, I won't be around to feast on them.


Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in Gothic

There is a family of Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) residing here in Gothic.  There have been observations and photos of them (for example), but I have not yet seen or gotten photos of them yet.  One hour ago, as I was leaving the laboratory, I saw two foxes playing in the field behind the Gothic Research Center.  I quickly ran back to my cabin to grab my camera.  There was only one playing by the time I got there, but I managed to get these photos.

Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)
Looking to catch an insect in the air.

Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)

Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)

I really hope to see them a few more times before I leave.  What a beautiful creature!


Hiking to my 2nd tallest mountain so far - Gothic Mountain (3,850 m)

Today, my labmate and I hiked to the top of the mountain that towers over our cabin (and Gothic) - Gothic Mountain. Its height is 3,850 m, which is just four metres short of Avery Peak that I climbed last week.

Quick picture of Gothic Mountain before we left.  To get to the top, we followed the trail descriptions in this website, which we found to be accurate and useful.

Daily life in Colorado - Part 6

My work here in Colorado is coming to an end as my plants are producing nutlets and ready to be collected.  Technically, we will leave this coming Saturday, but we may stay for an extra couple of days to tidy up all the loose ends.


Each Mertensia flower has four ovules and thus can produce up to four nutlets per flower.


Daily life in Colorado - Part 5

Random photos taken from last week.

Morning lupines
On the way to work one day, I saw the soft morning sun shining through the lupines.

Hiking to my tallest mountain so far - Avery Peak (3,854 m)

Yesterday, I hiked from RMBL at 2,891 m to the tallest place I have ever been to on Earth - Avery Peak (3,854 m).  It was quite fun (and tiring) hiking up/down a steep mountain side, but the view at the top was worth it!

Gothic Mountain
View of the Gothic Mountain from the other side.  Gothic Mountain is 3,850 m and definitely another mountain I want to hike to before I go back to Canada.


White-lined Sphinx Moth visiting Delphinium

While I was working yesterday, I saw this beautiful White-lined Sphinx Moth (Hyles lineata) visiting Delphinium nuttallianum flowers.  I quickly dropped everything and started taking pictures of it.  The moth was quite co-operative and let me got closer and closer until it was less than a metre away.  What a treat!  I have been compiling blog posts of my fauna and flora photos until the end of the field season, but I just can't wait to share these ones first.  Hope you will enjoy these images as much I did photographing this beautiful creature.

White-lined Sphinx Moth (Hyles lineata) visiting Delphinium nuttallianum
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