Half way through field camp

The field camp students are back in Durango. Three weeks done, three weeks to go. So far they’ve been near Silverton with David Gonzales, in Utah with Ray Kenny, and in the mountains above Vallecito Creek with me (Kim Hannula). Here are some pictures from last week:

Our field area was on Middle Mountain, between the Vallecito and Pine River valleys. We backpacked for about four miles and camped in the headwaters of Second Creek, at about 11,800 feet, near tree line. The field area extended north for about a mile and a half from our camping site, and was a mixture of forest, rock, and high altitude lakes.

Northern part of field area

The snow is mostly gone, and the skies were perfectly clear. The nearly full moon made it bright enough that we could have mapped all night. (But we didn’t.)

Moon over Middle Mountain

It was warm, too. Temperatures in Durango were apparently in the 90s. Ours were in the 70s, which would have been beautiful, except that the little lakes and warm temperatures combined for the most vicious crop of mosquitoes I’ve ever experienced (and I’ve worked in Alaska).

Here’s a sample from my field notebook:

Mosquitoes

I swear the clouds of mosquitoes were going to carry some of the students away. Fortunately, they didn’t, and the students are safe to continue to northern New Mexico, where they will be working with Lauren for three weeks.

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