The Sky is Falling!



Not only do I have skylights in my tent, but now I have air conditioning too. We had the biggest hailstorm yesterday that I’ve ever seen out here. And a few pieces of hail managed to find their way through my roof. Nothing that can’t be fixed with a little duct tape though. It started off as an afternoon thundershower, which is still a bit earlier than usual, the monsoons don’t usually show up until the first week of July. The weather this year has been a bit different from the past two years, much wetter, which is great. But yesterday’s storm surprised us all. Gumball-sized hail fell for about an hour. And we had rain for a few hours before and after the major storm. A few tents got damaged, holes and flooding, and only one got truly flattened (its owners are doing fine). It was quite an afternoon for everyone, both in camp and out in the field. Some of the noise crew was out on ATVs and were completely soaked upon returning to camp. The lightning started a few new fires, but the amount of rain and hail helped to keep the smoke count low. Suddenly we’re all wearing layers and huddling around the campfire like it was April (Chuck got the Forest Service to declare our site an established campground, which means we get to have campfires again).

The other bit of excitement in the last few days is our guests. The VIPs have arrived! It’s a smaller contingent than in years past, but still has the ability to turn camp upside and give it a little shake. We spent a good deal of Monday cleaning up camp (but honestly, we’re camping, aren’t we supposed to be dirty?). The VIPs arrived yesterday, about twenty minutes before the hail began to fall. We blame them for bringing the weather from Virginia. Our VIPs this year are the Project Manager, her boss, and the Vice President of the Environmental portion of GMI. Ann, Chris, and I have been busting our butts and burning the midnight oil and all that jazz to get a presentation ready for them. Due to problems with computers, software, and Mother Nature, we ended up giving them a scaled-down version of our original elaborate plan. They seemed quite impressed. :)

And now, I get a few days off. I’m headed to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival tomorrow morning. A few carloads people from camp have left already and I’ll be meeting up with them tomorrow night. Of course, I haven’t been entirely without vacation out here, I managed to get a full week off at the end of May to go home. It was wonderful to be home and to relax. However, the work that had piled up the week I was gone took another week to catch up on when I got back. I guess that just means I’m needed out here. :)



I took a trip down the road to the Negrito Fire Tower (not in use) the other night to check out the nearby forest fires (not that nearby though). Beautiful sunset and even better moon rise. I could see the embers glowing in the distance. None of the forest fires are close to our camp or even in our study area, which is quite large. We’re keeping a constant vigil on the radios though to listen for any new developments. Our owls are doing well. Lots of owlets and a total of seventeen nests! We’ve lost a few owlets and a few nests too, but we still have so many. The nest count this year is more than we’ve had in the past three years combined! :)

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the start of summer.

Love and sunshine,
Stefanie ;)

P.S. The new Harry Potter comes out on Saturday!!

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