Another year of field work completed

On Friday, after a 9 hr drive and a two hour stop in Fort Collins, I returned to Logan from my summer field work in Arapahoe-Roosevelt National Forest. The field work went amazingly well but it was hard being gone for three weeks when I have so much data analysis to do this summer.  Doing “real work” after a day of field work was difficult and usually I spent my evenings making raw/paleo dessert with my field tech, reading the ” A Song of Ice and Fire” series, or trying to work on the sweater that I am knitting myself.  As my first post back, here is a pictorial summary of how I spent the past three weeks. Enjoy!

View from the Mt. Bierstadt trail

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Making my data collection irrelevant

Since my last post I have been in Colorado conducting field research in Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest.  The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forest units are located in the Colorado frontrange about an hour and a half from Denver. I am here because this particular forest unit contains two 14’ers (14,000ft + peaks) that are very easy to summit. One, Mt. Evans, you can drive to by taking the highest paved road in the United States and then hike up a very short, practically paved path to the summit at 14,265 feet (4,348 m).  The other 14’er is Mt. Bierstadt, 14,065 ft (4,287 m) , which can be reached by driving Guanella Pass (a scenic byway) and hiking a 3 mile trail to the top.

Due to the popularity of these two destinations and the forest units’ proximity to a large population center, I am here mapping recreation resource impacts such as informal trails, visitor-created sites, and areas of multiple trailing. I have always realized that my research represents a “snapshot” in time – one wet week and new social trails can be created, a very minimal visitor-created site can regrow in a year if left alone. However, this week, as I finished up mapping at the Mt. Bierstadt trail, I realized just how quickly the data that I collect can be made irrelevant.

My field tech, Annie, and me on the summit of Mt. Bierstadt

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