Five months later…

Well the time has come to leave the sagebrush expanse and be welcomed home to by the colors and smells of autumn in Pennsylvania.

Once upon a time I thought I couldn’t get anywhere without a GPS. Using maps was a long-forgotten memory… where my parents tried their best to plan our summer vacation, but there was always the sound of scrambling papers when we inevitably got lost. But out in no-service-land, maps were A MUST to navigate the Nevada wilderness. And now, with these brand new skills to navigate roadways, I remain biased and will never choose maps over a GPS (when there is a choice).

Shout out to Payton’s playlists and audiobooks. They have kept us sane when we spent an entire workday in the truck.

We usually saw Nevada wilderness through the windshield.

The Nevada wilderness conditions Payton and I have been exposed to makes me appreciate what we have taken for granted. I will never look at paved roads the same way, even with monstrous potholes. Once you’ve had to navigate narrow dirt roads sprinkled with sharp rocks and half-meter-deep channels overlooking a 200 foot drop, paved roads are a blessing. And let’s just say toilets with plumbing… toilets in general really are human’s greatest invention.

A shortcut through the Sillwater mountain range in central Nevada took us to anxiously high places.

I find it odd that I feel like I know western plant species more than I know eastern ones, and I shouldn’t resist this idea of change. I feel like this entire internship’s theme revolved around change. I’ve immersed myself into a new ecosystem, a new workplace, a new community and culture, and a new field experience. Adjusting to change has its benefits: I have a whole page of new skills to take me to my next job, internship, and future career.

Kalmia microphylla, western swamp laurel, is a reminder of home and PA’s state flower, mountain laurel.

Our work is only a small piece to the large puzzle, but progress is not made in leaps and bounds.I’m grateful to contribute to a program that promotes long-term restoration and conservation efforts.

It’s been fun!

Alyssa Hay



1 thought on “Five months later…

  1. ugh Kalmias are my favorite. We had these wonderful thickets of Kalmia latifolia all around where I grew up that made you feel like you were in Narnia in the winter

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