Journal archives for November 2016

November 25, 2016

Badlands of South Dakota

My October trip to the Badlands was most inspiring, with an incredible unfolding of spectacular scenes and natural features. Preservation of this remarkable part of the USA has been assured by the utter inability of Native Americans ,and European pioneers to farm this hostile soil. Thus a great victory for nature, yielding an array of endemic species that wouldnt be found elsewhere. From the big critters like free roaming buffalo to the lichens and mosses, pleasant surprises appear each minute.

The geological record is also amazing to view sea floors uplifted from tens of millions years past.
Besides the geological science, this uplifted stone presents an unrivaled backdrop for every photo. Perhaps the best element is the low human population density, with negligible resident population, and even low visitation numbers.



Posted on November 25, 2016 04:01 PM by c_michael_hogan c_michael_hogan | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 27, 2016

Lake Tahoe Basin

I expected this expedition to be depauperate of biota due to the snow and cold of the season, but i was pleasantly surprised to prove my prejudice wrong. A plethora of organisms greeted me, especially in niches other than the overrated forest habitat. The conifer forests are magnificent, but offer less biodiversity than the grasslands and shrublands that actually comprise about a quarter of the basin's cover. In searching for lichens, i found the best hunting grounds were the boulders exceeding two meters in height; apparently this is a reason able height for them to have access to the atmosphere even in moderately heavy snow. The firedot and wolf lichens were especially rewarding to see, and my better luck was climbing to higher elevation than the basin floor.

Another wondrous feature were the grass species, much more numerous than i expected, protruding from the snowpack. Even many herbs were identifiable, as they were present in their seed form, still showy above the snow level. Temperatures were lower than historic for my November trip, and i still saw numerous deer foraging in the snow. Trips like this are humbling, in that patience and looking carefully overcomes our human hubris, that our conventional wisdom can tell us when best to travel.

Posted on November 27, 2016 04:40 PM by c_michael_hogan c_michael_hogan | 5 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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