Despite the recent drop in temperature and the increase in snow on the ground, my winter has been very busy thus far. I am still amazed at the fact that I get to do field work during the most disagreeable months of the year. Luckily, the National Forest where I work includes land at high and low elevations. So, although our drive time is increased, we can still do out-plantings and rehabilitation work at restoration sites “down the hill” as we call it here (a.k.a 5,000 feet lower in elevation).
When I wake up in the morning in the mountains, temperatures range from 10 to 30 degrees. When we load the truck, we have to breathe hot air on the tool shed lock in order to unfreeze the dials that unlock it. If we need to fill up the water tank to water our transplants, we have to do so at a Forest Service Station at a lower elevation. Everything takes a lot longer with the inclement weather, but our team remains in good spirits. Once the first hole of the day is dug or the first fence post pounded, and the sun’s desert rays start to thaw our hands, our work seems that much more gratifying because of the morning cold we endured.
If I am not installing a restoration site, I can either be found in the office revising our restoration monitoring protocols or out on some Forest Service road monitoring already established sites with my coworkers. The days are filled with laughter, fun, and hard work, so needless to say I still love being a CLM intern!
Lizzy, San Bernardino National Forest