Hot Springs of Oregon

•July 25, 2015 • Leave a Comment

There are fewer hot springs than there are hikes (see previous post) and I would like to dip my toes in all of them at least once if it’s possible. This is extra-credit for the hiking list, as most hot springs don’t require a hike. These are the hot springs I have been able to visit:

  1. Bagby
  2. Belknap
  3. Deer Creek
  4. Crystal Crane
  5. Wall Creek
  6. McCredie
  7. Ritter

Kudos to these folks for the great map and list, which made me realize that I have been to very few of them. Of all of them, I’ve always preferred Belknap simply because the setup is so great. There’s no waiting, it’s never crowded, the river frontage is gorgeous, and the mixing is perfect- much better than getting repeatedly burnt and/or freezing as at McCredie. But Bagby runs a close second, even though it’s been years since we moved out of the area. And Crystal Crane at sunrise is simply amazing.


A new challenge, 50 hikes before 50.

•July 25, 2015 • Leave a Comment

My husband and I love hiking, but we need to be able to make time to get out more. In recognition of the fact that I’ll be turning 50 in roughly a decade, and that there is still a huge list of places we’d like to hike/ camp at/ poke around in just in the state of Oregon alone, I present the list:

  1. Silver Falls (done!)
  2. Shellburg Falls
  3. Browder Ridge
  4. Iron Mountain
  5. McDowell Creek Falls (done!)
  6. Patjens Lakes
  7. Black Butte (done!)
  8. Boyd Lava Cave– I think I did this one as a little kid, but I don’t remember, so adding it again.
  9. Paulina Creek Falls
  10. Paulina Peak- done!
  11. Proxy Falls-done!
  12. Horse Rock Ridge- done and one of my favorites, hope to do it again and again. 
  13. Obsidian Trail
  14. Horse Lake
  15. Doris and Cliff Lakes
  16. Tamolitch (aka Blue) pool- done!
  17. Sahalie/Koosah Falls loop, yeah, I know, most everyone has done this one, but us…
  18. Clearlake Loop
  19. Castle Rock
  20. North Fork of the Middle Fork
  21. Spencer Butte-done
  22. Ridgeline Trail- done, all sections individually, but not together in one day. 
  23. Mt. Pisgah-done
  24. Mt. June, done
  25. Larison Creek
  26. Lillian Falls
  27. Rosary Lakes
  28. Salt Creek Falls (the longer trail, or alternatively, sliding to the bottom and clambering back up, which seems unwise)
  29. Lake Harriett
  30. Umpqua Hot Springs and Toketee Falls- this one keeps morphing into longer sections of the North Umpqua trail in my mind.
  31. Paulina Lake Loop trail (with a stop at the hot springs)
  32. Upper Alsea Falls-done!
  33. Humbug Mountain-done!
  34. Cape Perpetua-done!
  35. Tillicum Wilderness trail
  36. Rogue River Trail
  37. Cascadia State Park waterfall trail-done!
  38. Willamette River Kayak Trail, ok, technically not a hike, but….
  39. Mary’s Peak-done!
  40. NeahKahnie Mountain
  41. Finley NWR megaloop
  42. And I’m leaving room for more as we discover them. Also parts of the PCT would be great, along with more eastern Oregon hikes as we get over there.

16 out of 41 completed as of today. I’ll put hot springs and campgrounds in separate lists.

Post Graduate Life

•January 8, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Well, I have survived graduate school only to be back in the medical lab. It offers great pay and fun coworkers. It is definitely Not What I Went To School For. I am feeding the natural resources side of my brain by volunteering with the Long Tom Watershed Council, who is surveying cutthroat trout (Onchorhynchus clarkii– were they named after Clark of Lewis & Clark?) The work is often cold, but generally pretty exciting in a nature-nerd sort of way, and I have learned to PIT tag fish. Compared to what certain other naturalists have had to go through this is pretty much cake. It’s nothing like Alfred Russell Wallace went through in the Malaccas 120 years ago, and it’s not as bad as chasing wolverines around in 4 ft deep snowbanks.

I’m also trying to keep my head in the game by continuing to learn to work with R better and keeping up on recently published work. And applying for every natural resources summer job that comes up. It is interesting to get back to structured, commercial science, though. The differences are huge. But that is another post.

Googling oneself

•February 8, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Well, Google tells me that there are 17 Ariana Whites in the US- (but sadly there is no Google Maps distribution of names!). Judging by the pictures I am either the one that takes the fewest selfies or the one with the shortest hair. I didn’t find the professional dominatrix from New York this year– she came up when one of my previous supervisors googled all of us “for fun”, contributing to lasting paranoia around being Googled and making this a yearly exercise, because, as I would like to make crystal clear, I am not her. Though I wish her the best.

What I did find, which is nice, are a few professional accolades I’ve racked up through the years.

The APCG President’s Award was a nice one to see. Thanks, Project Muse!

My previous workplace has a writeup of the coffee cup contest, which is still in effect. And the university’s Undergraduate Symposium, which I took part in as a senior, has a nice blurb about the presentation I did there on Morkill Lake. That work will form a major part of the thesis I’m writing.

Now, I’m not a perfect person by any stretch but I do work hard for what I want, when I can. The public record in the form of the Internet reflects that ethic of integrity and most of that work was done when I was an undergrad working 40 hours a week for the State of Oregon. Not too shabby and good to know.😀

News from the pollen mines

•November 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment

This morning I got to spend time at the microscope for the first time in a while. Here are some of the oddballs:
I need to confirm ID’s on them, but one (the soccer-ball looking one) I haven’t seen before. I think the other one is Taxus spp. and possibly, though it would be weird, a Tsuga mertensiana, which doesn’t grow there now. This specimen dates to about 3685 years before present– that’s 1672 BCE in human calendar years.

It’s been a good day. Pollen counting is a really great, meditative activity for me and a nice way to wake up. I’m hoping to continue on to doctoral studies that involve this technique, though it’s exceedingly rare to make a living doing that one thing. Gotta have a lot of tools to get hired these days, and this is just one of my favorites.

Composite key to North American spruces

•November 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

See below for source citations🙂 I’m putting this together for my own use, but if it’s useful to you, please feel free to share. I’m working from the University of Oregon and P. Rubra is not anywhere near me.

Key to western North American Picea species:
1. Leaves almost flat; near the west coast………….Picea sitchensis (Bong.) (Sitka spruce)
“Needles almost flat on upper surface, nearly twice as broad as thick, lower surface either green and without stomata or the 2 stripes of stomata much narrower than those on upper surface; massive tree up to 70 m x 4-5 m near base; AK to northern CA, from coast to West side of Cascades.” (PNW Flora)
1. Leaves square in cross section; not near west coast.
2. East of Lake Superior…………………………………………3
2. West of Lake Superior…………………………………………5
3. Twigs completely hairless……………………………………………Picea glauca (Moench.)(white spruce)
“Needles 4 angled, 4 sided, ca equally stomatiferous on 4 sides; east Cascades. Female cones mostly 2.5-3.5 cm, scales rounded to blunt at tip; needles mostly 12-20 mm; stunted and deformed to erect trees up to 25 m; lowland slopes to montane slopes; Alaska to S. BC, E to ME and Nef, se RM to E Mont and Wyoming. “(PNW Flora) “Seed-scales stiff, broadly rounded at apex and entire; cones 2.5-5 cm long; leaves mostly less than 1.5 cm long and sharp-pointed; twigs glabrous” (Flora of Alta)
3. Twigs fuzzy with short brown hairs (use a lens)
4. Cones long and narrow…………………………………………………..Red (Picea rubra, eastern only; need good description.)
4. Cones short, almost spherical……………………………………….Picea mariana (Mill.) (Black spruce)
“Seed-cones persisting for several years, usually less than 2.5 cm long, often purplish; twigs hairy and dull brown; leaves usually blunt at apex. ; A small tree, commonly reaching a height of 10 m, bark thin, scaly, greyish brown, the inner bark with a greenish tinge; twigs pubescent, leaves short and thickish, usually obtuse or emarginated, dark green, bluish green or glaucous; seed-cones ovoid or nearly globose, 2-3 cm long. The most common tree of muskegs in Alta, also found on drier soils northward and in the mountains. “ (Fl Alta).
5. Leaves short, twigs hairy……………………………………………………..P. mariana, above
5. Leaves longer (about 3 cm)…………………………………………….6
6. Leaves acid-tasting when chewed……………………………………….Picea pungens(Engelm.)
“Female cones gen at least 4 cm, scales +/-pointed and roughly rhomboidal in shape; needles often >2.5 cm.” “Cones gen at least 6 cm; needles rigid and strongly pungent; app our area in Wyo and SE Ida, common in S. RM; blue s.” (PNW Fl)
6. Leaves not acid-tasting………………………………7
7. Cone-scales smooth-edged, scarcely longer than seed wings……………………….Picea glauca (Moench) (White spruce)
“A common forest tree reaching a height of 40 m; bark ashy brown, sometimes reddish. At middle altitudes intergrades with P.engelmannii. “Seed scales stiff, broadly rounded at apex and entire; cones 2.5-5 cm long; leaves mostly less than 1.5 cm long and sharp pointed; twigs glabrous.” (Fl Alta) (See also above)
7. Cone-scales rough-edged, much longer than seed wings ………………………..Picea engelmannii(Parry)
“Large tree often 25-30m tall, sometimes much taller, the lower branches drooping; a depressed shrub at higher elevations; bark of older trees often cinnamon-red. A leading species to subalpine forest on the eastern slopes of the RM.” “Seed scales flexible, truncate to pointed at apex and erose; cones 3-8 cm long; leaves mostly over 1.5 cm long; the apex flattened and short-pointed; twigs minutely hairy. “ (Fl of Alta). “Cones 4-5 cm; needles neither particularly rigid or pungent; Eastern Oregon and WA to much of Montana” (PNW Fl).

Pielou, E. C. 1988. The world of northern evergreens. Ithaca: Comstock Pub. Associates.
Hitchcock, C. Leo, and Arthur Cronquist. 1973. Flora of the Pacific Northwest; an illustrated manual. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
Moss, E. H. 1959. Flora of Alberta; a manual of flowering plants, conifers, ferns, and fern allies found growing without cultivation in the Province of Alberta, Canada. [Toronto]: University of Toronto Press.

It’s been a great summer

•September 13, 2013 • Leave a Comment

This summer, I’ve had a slew of projects to manage and complete. I’ve been able to go on a perspective-changing trip to Yellowstone and camping on the Santiam. I’ve been the recipient of a University field work grant. And life has been pretty great. 

The first project has to do with an NSF grant in which my advisor was given money to create a field school for high school teachers in the state of Oregon. He and my labmate wrote curriculum for the teachers and we took them out to Triangle Lake for a day to core, so that they would have the experience and be able to explain it to their students. The resulting film and more about that project will soon be available on a webpage. 

The other project has to do with the labs for the introductory geography course that approximately 400-600 students a year take at the University of Oregon. I’m pretty close to finishing that up. 

In my own research, I have been able to collect every variety of spruce in the Pacific Northwest except for Sitka spruce, which fortunately is abundant in the Oregon Coast Range less than an hour away. I’ll get it next week. Then, all of these modern samples will have the pollen extracted in order to form a reference set, and all will be measured and subjected to statistical analysis. This builds on the great Linda Brubaker’s work as well as that of Mats Lindbladh. I hope to establish a framework by which the species of spruce that are present at a site can be determined by the pollen grains alone. 

In the lake core project, we are in a radiocarbon-date holding pattern, with results due to come in. Which is actually fine, because now is prime time to finish the other things I’m doing. 

The Yellowstone Moor Excursion was incredible and amazing, and I hope to be able to go to next year’s Excursion in northern Germany. There is no better way to understand a landscape than to go listen to the scientists who have researched it explain what they found, while you are all sitting there looking at the site. It was my first visit to Yellowstone, but it won’t be the last. I’m grateful to have received a University of Oregon grant which helped tremendously with the cost. I learned an immense amount. 

Once I got back, I was treated to a relaxed weekend camping on the Santiam with good friends. The water was low and the river ran through bedrock channels. The walls of the riverbed are mosaics of moss and ferns, with springlike seeps watering all the plants. Overall it is an enchanting place. I know that the Santiam runs violently in the winter rainy season, but during late summer it is a lazy, dreamlike experience to walk around and just be there. 

Yesterday, returning from Central Oregon to Eugene, we stopped at the top of the pass at the unimaginatively (and rather inaccurately) named Big Lake. The lake is ringed with subalpine fir, western hemlock, and lodgepole pine. Bear grass grows in large clumps. We saw a few birds including some sort of dipper or ouzel, a raven, and wrens. It was a lovely stop, though I don’t think I’d want to camp there. The entire area is an OHV park, and though it was quiet when we were there, I remember all too well the incessant motor noise that OHV areas generate from previous camping trips, and I try to avoid them. 

Two and a half more weeks of blissful, gentle unscheduled work, then back to nonstop busy-ness.