TSS on Wyoming Public Radio

A few weeks ago we had a reporter and photographer from Wyoming Public Radio come out to visit our banding station. They were gathering material for a few different pieces, both about bird banding and also about Teton Science Schools education programs. There might be something more about banding coming out in the future, but for now here’s a radio segment they did about one of the summer camps. You can listen to (or read) the radio segment here: Continue reading

City of Rocks, Idaho

A while ago I went to City of Rocks to climb some rocks (I’m a bit behind in blog posts, too busy doing things outside. Sorry. Sorta. But not too much). It was awesome. I’m pretty sure I kept saying that about every five minutes, how cool it was.

Because it was really cool.

Really.

Except it was actually pretty hot, as being out in the scrub in July generally is. Continue reading

Hiking Up Sleeping Indian

A few weekends ago I hiked up Sheep Mountain, more commonly known as Sleeping Indian. I’ve never heard anyone call it Sheep Mountain, actually. According to Wikipedia, Sleeping Indian is 11, 239 feet above sea level, and is located in the state of Wyoming. It is in the Gros Ventre Range, which is in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, which is the 3rd largest national forest outside of Alaska, which I think is cool. Continue reading

A Hike to Taggart Lake

On Sunday last week I decided to go for a short hike.

First though, I slept in til 8 a.m. (that’s super late for a bird bander, we normally wake up around 4 a.m.), then spent a leisurely morning over my coffee and Annie Proulx’s book Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2.

Annie Proulx

 

“They made a trip out to scout around. Mitchell was stunned by the beauty of the place, not the overphotographed jagsof  the Grand Tetons but the high prairie and the luminous yellow distance, which peased his sense of spatial arrangement. He felt as though he had stumbled into a landscape never before seen on the earth and at the same time that h had been transported to the ur-landscape before human beginnings. The mountains crouched at every horizon like dark sleeping animals, their backs whitened by snow. He trod on wildflowers, glistening quartz crystals, on agate and jade, brilliant lichens. The unfamiliar grasses vibrated with light, their incandescent stalks lighting the huge ground. Distance reduced a herd of cattle to a handful of tossed cloves. HIs heart squeezed in, and he wished for a celestial eraser to remove the fences, the crude houses, the one he bought included, from this place. Even the sinewy, braided currents of the wind, which made Eugenie irritable, pleased him.”

 

Man Crawling Out of Trees, in Bad Dirt by Annie Proulx

 (I apologize for the massive paragraph, but that’s how it was written in the book.)

 

After my coffee and reading, I headed out to Grand Teton National Park and the Taggart Lake Trailhead.

 

At first, the trail looked like this:

 

Grand Teton National Park Taggart Lake trail

Blue skies, sunny warm day, trail meandering through the aspens along a babbling stream, birds singing… eh, I guess it was okay.

 

I wore my usual hiking shoes:

 

Wyoming Grand Teton National Park

My trusty orange Crocs haven’t failed me yet!

 

I saw some flowers:

 

Grand Teton National Park Wyoming

 

Then, the trail looked like this:

 

Grand Teton National Park Wyoming

 

And then I was there:

 

Grand Teton National Park Wyoming

 

Taggart Lake Grand Teton National Park Wyoming

Taggart Lake, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

 

It was such a nice day, I decided to hike on the mile and a half to Bradley Lake.

On the way, I saw a pine cone and some moss:

 

Grand Teton National Park Wyoming

I might have taken a number of moss/pine cone pictures. I also might have taken a number of fungi pictures, but unfortunately they didn’t end up looking nearly as cool on my computer as they did in real life. So if anyone wants a bad picture of a cool fungi on a tree, let me know. 

 

And I saw another pretty flower:

 

Grand Teton National Park Wyoming

 

However, after a short while the trail started to look like this:

 

Grand Teton National Park Wyoming

 

Good thing I wore my postholing Crocs:

 

Grand Teton National Park Wyoming Crocs

 

The view through the trees of Bradley Lake looked like this:

Wyoming Grand Teton National Park

 

I wasn’t that impressed, and the trail was knee-deep in snow in some places, so I turned around.

And then I saw a marmot:

 

Grand Teton National Park marmot

I actually almost stepped on the marmot, who was about 2 inches off the trail. He/she/it was not at all concerned.

 

After the marmot excitement, I braved my way back through the snow to Taggart Lake, where I could kick back, snack on some carrots, and take in the view.

 

Grand Teton National Park Wyoming

 

It was a pretty good day.

 

Jackson Wyoming

To commemorate the day, I took a selfie in front of this giant log. Definitely wasn’t trying to get the mountains in the background. Because who wants a picture in front of the Tetons when you can take your picture with this awesome log?

 

 

Sign Spotting: Part 2– Canadian Signage

For some reason, it seems like a lot of my sign picture collection comes from Canada. Maybe I just paid more attention to signs because I was traveling alone, and I had the freedom to take the time to stop and take pictures. But I also think that there was a greater number of interesting signage.

Whatever the reason, here are a few more signs for your sign-spotting enjoyment.



 

 

On the ferry to Grand Manan Island

safety sign on Grand Manan Island

What does this mean?

I think it has to do with emergency procedures, in the event that the ferry has technical difficulties and starts sinking or otherwise becomes unusable.

As far as I can tell, this sign is instructing you to do the following:

  • Gather in a group, small children in front. You will change from a small power-walking person into either a large white-bodied person, or a small or medium-sized green-bodied person.
  • Hanging lifeboat. (How is this an instruction? Do you gather at the hanging lifeboat? If so, it shouldn’t be in it’s own seperate square on the sign. Or is this just informative, to let you know that there is a hanging lifeboat?)
  • Run towards the white rectangle (I’m guessing this is the door). Question: is this the door out to the deck? Also, it’s a good thing that stick-figure is hunched over, because he definitely would hit his head if he wasn’t.

I’m confused by the order. Gather and then run? Shouldn’t you maybe run outside and gather at the lifeboat? The gathering of people and the lifeboat are seperate pictures, hence the confusion with the order. And aren’t you not supposed to run in case of emergency? Don’t they always tell you to calmly walk to the nearest exit? And in that running picture, are you running inside or outside? Though you can’t tell from this picture, the way out to the deck was actually to the right, not the left, as the arrow is indicating.

Confusion.

Anyway, here is where I believe you are meant to gather, in case of an event necessitating such measures:

 

Grand Manan Island ferry

At one of these fun-looking lifeboat pods. Well, I’m assuming that these are lifeboat pods, based on the pictures on them. To me they look like giant barrels, but apparently they open up into lifeboats.

Which, if you follow these instructions, turn into life boats. Not sure how that happens, but I guess it works.

Somehow this goes from being a white barrel to a giant orange lifeboat (See steps 5 to 6, 3rd row down). I guess when you pull the cord magic transformation happens.

Grand Manan Island ferry lifeboat

These seem to make more sense than that first sign at least. However, I’m not sure where you go to get the green suit which all the people in the diagram are wearing.

Luckily, we didn’t have to test this on either of my trips on the ferry.


 

Riverside Albert

One last picture, also from Canada, a tiny town outside of Fundy National Park, in New Brunswick.

sign for Riverside Albert Canada

The sign reads:

Welcome to Riverside Albert

Home Of

Heritage Buildings * Old Bank Museum

Crooked Creek Trail/ Park & Lookout

NB Trail System * Free Email

 

Free email?!?!?! Whaaaaat? No way!

I’m definitely stopping there!

(note: I didn’t stop there. Other than to take this picture. I didn’t want to be the one to them that you can get free email from anywhere with an internet connection.)



There’s a few more pictures yet to come, so stay tuned!

 

 

 

I’m the Paperblog Blogger of the Day!


Paperblog

Paperblog made me their Blogger of the Day!

Paperblog Blogger of the Day

Look, there’s my face! And my hand, holding an owl. And most of the rest of my upper torso. That would be awkward, if it was just my face and my hand and nothing in between.

 

Since you may be wondering “What is Paperblog?!?!”, I pulled this from their website for your edification (and edited it a little).

You’re welcome.


What is Paperblog? 

Paperblog helps you find quality articles from the blogosphere, providing a participatory media site where talented experts and enthusiasts can share their knowledge and experience.

The best and most relevant articles are not easy to find amongst all the blogs online. Paperblog identified the need to find the best blogs around, offering quality articles to a growing readership.

In the first trimester of 2011, Paperblog International received 10 million regular visitors from throughout the world.

How do we do this?

We call on the skills and collaboration of internet users [like the fabulous Lauren Smith], whose efforts are supported by our editorial team. Using certain criteria, we select great articles and organise them by theme. Through navigation and actions (votes, ranking, key-words) Paperblog users then help us with initial selections and classifications.

The Paperblog editorial team then moderates and carries out a further classification in order to showcase certain articles and select Editor’s Picks. Certain Paperbloggers can also request moderator status and participate more actively in selections. We also establish partnerships with Press Groups and other publishers in order to publish the largest possible amount of articles and achieve our objective of providing quality articles to an increasing audience.

In the future, we even hope to produce this content in print!

In the meantime, we hope to offer the best service possible, and will endeavour to make Paperblog your indispensable source of the best articles from around the web!


Oh, and you can read Paperblog in Brazilian, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish. Which is cool.

If you ever want to check out Paperblog but don’t remember how, there is a button on the bottom of every page on my blog. It’s the one with blue lettering, that says Paperblog, and looks like this:

Paperblog

 

Check it out! Happy reading!

A Postcard from Cambodia

I got this in the mail the other day:

postcard from Cambodia

“An elderly Cambodian woman puffs locally grown tobacco.” 

This is what the back says:

back of postcard from Max (Copy)

 

Smithy,

How’s Boulder? Cambodia and Vietnam are HOT! but the trips have been good. Seems like we got a good bunch of guests on this one (you never know what you’ll get). I’d write more… but I’m too lazy. I’ll think I’ll play some more Plants vs. Zombies 🙂 

Max

 

To summarize:

My friend Max, who works as a naturalist and photograph guide on tours around the world (this trip was up the Mekong River, stopping in Vietnam and Cambodia) sent me a postcard with an old woman smoking on the front to tell me he’s playing a game on his phone.

He always sends the nicest postcards.

At least one of the stamps has a cool bird on it…

Sign spotting: Part 1- Personal Safety

My little brother loves the Signspotting books. He owns them all. I know this, because he has shown them all to me. Repeatedly.

He typically goes through phases where he is fairly obsessed with one particular set of reading and/or movie materials (sometimes there is a clear connection between the reading materials and DVDs in his stack, other times not). He’s really into series of things, like, say, all of the Star Wars movies, or Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers, or a stack of Cleveland Cavs paraphernalia and Media Guides from the past five years, from which he will regale us with various statistical tidbits, staring intently at me over his glasses, and talking as if I know anyone other than LeBron on the team– wait, he left, right? Haha, just kidding. That’s a terrible joke. I’m sorry).

Anyway, the Signspotting books are on regular rotation. Over the years, I’ve seen most of them. Repeatedly, as I may have mentioned. So I started taking my own sign-spotting pictures as I traveled. And here they are.

To make it even more fun, they’re going to be spread out across a few posts. Then you have to come back and read my blog for more. Though I’m sure you come back regularly and read it anyway. (Thanks Grandma, I love you 🙂 )

 

So here we go:

Lauren’s Sign Spotting: Part 1- Personal Safety


 

Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, Canada

Grand Manan Island New Brunswick

Caution: if you run enthusiastically off the cliff, popcorn will fall out of your feet.


 

Somewhere in Florida, USA

no fireworks at gas station

“No fireworks discharge within 300 feet.”

 

This is a gas station, somewhere in Florida, that sells fireworks. And gasoline. One stop shopping. Because I generally want to buy fireworks and diesel fuel at the same time. Doesn’t everyone?

But at least there is a fire extinguisher handy. Just in case you don’t pace out those 300 feet quite right.

I took this picture a few years ago, as I was driving back to Ohio from Titusville, Florida, where I had an internship at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.

I am alarmed that this needs to be put up as a warning on a gas station. And why only 300 feet? I’m fairly certain I don’t want someone shooting off fireworks 400 feet from where I’m pumping gas, let alone 300. And does that 300 feet start from the door, or from the furthest gas pump?

 


 

Phi Phi Island, Thailand

phiphi island thailand

 

Remember, our body is not a life buoy. Because we, collectively, only have one body, and apparently it doesn’t float all that well.

Also, getting run over by a boat is bad.


 

Prince Edward Island, Canada

The signPrince Edward Island lighthouse sign

Interpretation: It is unstable to stand on a tilty platform on the edge of a kite, because you might fall on the floating rocks.

Honestly, that picture doesn’t make the bank look all that steep. That’s barely one body length. In real life, the drop is much, much, much steeper. Also, in real life you can’t even get to the edge because they put up a fence. Probably because all the tourists accidentally drive their cars off or something.

This is next to the East Point Lighthouse on PEI, which is on the northeastern tip of the island. It’s all open and exposed around the lighthouse (which I was too cheap to pay to climb, because as I visited on a rainy day, I suspected the view would be similar to the one from the ground– foggy).

If they’re so concerned about erosion, then they probably shouldn’t put unsecured platforms on the cliff edge. Or lighthouses, for that matter.

Conclusion: They are very concerned about you falling off the edges of things in Canada (see first sign).

 


 

Thác Datanla, Dalat, Vietnam

dalat vietnam waterfall

This sign was posted along the edge of the waterfall, either because the slippery rocks are dangerous and they don’t want you to fall and get hurt, or because it’s poisonous. Slightly different things. If you read neither English nor Vietnamese, I would think you’d be a little confused. Though I’m sure that if you drank the water in the waterfall you’d probably get sick, so maybe that’s what they meant.

Oh, and this was the waterfall where a man dressed in an elaborate red monkey costume stuck his finger in my ear. He almost got an elbow in the jugular (since I’m taller than most Asian men, the elbow meant for his gut would have hit a bit higher), which would have definitely knocked him into the “poisonous” area behind the sign. Because where I come from, we don’t do that. I do realize that I’m a visitor to your country, and that Ohioans can be a strange breed sometimes, but there are a few core values that I refuse to compromise. Such as having foreign objects and appendages stuck in my ears. That would be a no-no.

As my sister would say:

False. You will not be doing that. 


 

And there we have it. Look for part 2 coming soon!

For more entertainment until then, you should read more about Eric in this blog post:

Things My Brother Says 

It makes me giggle every time I read it.