Hiking the CDT: Fire and wildlife

It was not a bad place to be looking for wildlife. There were deer, elk, and moose everywhere. Our best elk sighting was on the second to last day, when we came over a pass. Down in the valley we saw a group of about 50 elk, two bulls were fighting, their antlers clacking when they crashed together. From that exact spot at the top of the pass, we also saw a bull moose kneeling beside a lake, and four mountain goats along a ridge above him.

Hiking the CDT: Characters on the trail

Crash and Kiltsman stayed with us for the first day out of town. The year before they had done the Appalachian Trail and they kept telling us it was harder than this trail. Not so much in terms of length but in terms of elevation gain and loss. Kiltsman got his name for the Scottish kilt he wears, no matter the weather.

Adipose fins are meant to be

The NYC and Watersheds Trout in the Classroom virtual trout tank’s alevin are looking great and especially active today. At closer look we noticed that they have developed strong fins. Eight fins to be exact.   Why are these fins so important? Not only does every fin have a function and purpose, ichthyologists also rely on meristic characters, or countable structures, such as the numbers … Read more

Hiking the CDT: Cirque de Towers, trout and the desert

The next morning was the day of the Cirque de Towers, a much anticipated hike. We left the trail in the morning and began to climb up to the valley of walls that formed a fortress of cliffs. Apparently, the way into the beautiful valley is called Texas Pass. This climb is much harder than any climb I’ve ever done, and I hope I never have to do one like it again. The trail walks along several lakes as it shallowly climbs up a gorge. But the trail and the gorge both disappear and leave you to make your own short, steep switchbacks straight up to the pass. Over the top you enter the famous valley of Cirque de Towers and drop down all the way to a lake.