Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Operation: Destroy All Tamarisk (Day 2)

We were greeted by a gorgeous sunrise over the large mountains surrounding the valley Moab residents call home. After breakfast (eggs and potatoes, if you're curious), we drove about 30 minutes outside Moab to Potash, where we continued our work from yesterday in clearing the area of a highly unpopular invasive species in the Utah and Colorado region called Tamarisk. It is very fire prone, and spreads like a weed throughout the region, consequently preventing the growth of native plants. In addition to clearing Tamarisk, we prepared areas for replanting to ensure healthy and beneficial wildlife grows in place of the invasive shrub.

During environmental work like ours, its often hard to see the benefits of efforts immediately, since replanting is a long-term process, but I would be very excited to return 5 or 10 years later and see the huge change that's taken place.

After lunch, we resumed our replanting adventures for a couple hours, and then hiked over towards the Colorado river - our favorite part of the day!

On our drive back to Moab, Dave asked if we "want to see something cool." To digress, Dave is an energetic man with a friendly disposition, who could easily strike fear into the heart of Chuck Norris, if he felt so inclined. An ex-accountant, Dave now lives at the bottom of the Grand Canyon working as a medical biller (aka repo-man) while climbing mountains in his free time. His catch phrase, "git-r-done!" can invigorate Mounties and city-kids alike, and the liscence plate on his Jeep, "Hike Naked," raises more questions about the man than we could hope to answer in just a weeks time. Needless to say, Dave is awesome. So, when Dave asked "want to see something cool?" we said "Sure!"

After a 15 minute detour, we found ourselves near a hiking
trail on a large rock-face with Indian wall paintings and dinosaur tracks fossilized in the rocks. Ryan and Joe, our group ninjas, quickly scaled the rocky trail as the rest of us followed behind. From up high, we had an amazing view of the Colorado River and nearby mountains. Taking advantage of the Kodak Moment™, the seven of us pulled out cameras and began photographing everything in sight, like any good tourist would.

Ready for dinner, we returned to the Plateau Restoration home base, and later walked to Milts for milkshakes and banana splits in order to make up for all those pesky calories we'd burned throughout the day (we didn't want to be too healthy).

Overall, we had a very fun and interesting day. We have a great group, fun volunteer projects, and beautiful scenery, and are looking forward to the rest of the week!

The Reese's Debate

With all 3 student groups excited for day two, we began the day with pleasant chatting with Iowa and Colorado. At one point during our breakfast, I mentioned my distress at having dropped my Reese's Peanut Butter Cup last night on the not so pristine hostel floor. Having overheard my conversation, a girl from Iowa commented on my "weird" pronunciation of Reese's. I've always called them "ree-sieze", but the Iowans insisted it was "ree-cez." And so, the Great Reese's debate of 2010 commenced. We have decided to conduct a survey to settle the issue once and for all.

So far, we are at a stalemate, with Indiana, Georgia and Utah pronouncing it what I've deemed the "right way", and Colorado, Iowa, and New York pronouncing it the "wrong way."

Why Colorado is Awesome (according to Colorado)

Roughing it in tents, while we are warm and comfortable in our Hostel beds, Colorado and Iowa complained of waking up with ice on their sleeping bags this morning. This is the definition of "roughing it" according to Iowa, but not quite enough so for Colorado. To fully become one with nature, and all that involves, Colorado has decided not to shower...for 3 days so far. They're currently going strong, but we expect the smell to increase throughout the week. This should be interesting.

So, what will tomorrow have in store for us? What is the proper pronunciation of Reece's? Will Colorado ever shower? Stay tuned to find out!

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