The days are still hot here in Salt Lake, but the nights and mornings are starting to get a tad cooler which makes me excited for fall. It will be so nice to eventually get a break from the desert heat!
August had Theresa and I scouting for seed, keying out plants, and checking them under the microscope once more. We were disappointed when we headed to the higher elevations in our field office in Rich County. The two of us had envisioned fields of wildflowers in the mountains. Silly SOS pipe dreams! We should know better by now that BLM land is typically not in the best shape and that it typically doesn’t contain the lush meadows of the mountains. We did find an abundance of Cordylanthus ramosus and tons of rabbitbrush, and while those aren’t the most exciting or showy or our target plants, the sheer numbers we found of them were quite impressive.
As one of our last big scouting/collecting trips together before Theresa leaves to begin the journey of grad school, we decided to head to the Deep Creeks. The Deep Creeks are a range of mountains on the border of Utah and Nevada that take quite a long time to drive to, thus camping or staying in the nearby field station is logical. We got a great recommendation of a camp spot from the aquatic AIM crew as well as other co-workers at the office, and it hands-down was the prettiest remote camp spot we’ve had all season. Gorgeous rocky canyon walls dotted with P/J, sweeping views of the valley and mountains in the distance, an epic sunrise, and no wind at night!
Unfortunately we realized that we missed out on some great native grass populations there due to our focus being elsewhere all season. We did find a surprise collection of Cleome lutea, one of our target species, though so that was pretty neat.
Other recent explorations throughout our field office have revealed Cleome serrulata populations that have tons of pollinators, our pygmy sage site finally flowering, surpassing our collection goals, and making a pit stop for the “famous” raspberry shakes near Bear Lake. As the field season slowly winds down, and more days are dedicated to data management and office-type activities, I feel beyond grateful to have seen so many places of remote Utah that not too many people get to see.
BLM Salt Lake Field Office