Hello from Needles! This month it’s finally reached into the 90s! Aside from the sweat that is now mingling with the dust and sand we find on ourselves every day, things are getting exciting! Many desert creatures are starting to make an appearance now, including desert tortoises and snakes.
This month has been full of interesting occurrences including unusual amounts of rain for this time of year, encounters with random desert dwellers (don’t worry, we kept our distance and were safe), and a hike with the Sierra Club!
Earlier this month we met with the Sierra Club at the Turtle Mountains. There is a campground here with a hiking trail through the stunning slopes, however the trail has become less distinguishable with time and even we got lost! The goal of that weekend was to mark out the trail and make it more visible for visitors. It was a great time learning hiking tips and tricks, survival skills in the desert, and lessons learned over the years by the Sierra Club members. Due to the unusual amount of rain and heavy winds we have been getting around here, we have had to re-assess our seed collecting calendar.
Many species are setting seed later or earlier than expected! At this point, we are having to constantly check on specific populations because we are not sure when they will be ready. This means a lot of scouting and driving around to various sites in the field office. During this time we practice our botanizing skills and key out plants along the way that we haven’t seen yet! We have made some seed and tissue collections,including Plantago ovata tissue, Ambrosia dumosa tissue, and seeds of Ambrosia salsola and Chaenactis fremontii, but the majority of this month has been scouting. We are excited that next week we will most likely have a lot of collecting to do! We are looking to collect Salvia columbariae seed, Chylismia brevipes seed, and tissue samples of Larrea tridentata and Ambrosia dumosa among others!
The next time you hear from me I will most likely have camped by then, because there are so many collections that need to be done in so little time, why waste time driving! 🙂
Until next time!