Wednesday, January 27, 2010

High and, wait, Not dry

Then we  inched up into increasing whiteness  - a fog I had never even seen on the arctic tundra - which made the whole endeavor a lot mistier than I expected. Dominant vegetation - bunch grass. We picked up a couple of birwatchers who had been unsuccessfully scanning the indistinguishable sky since 6 AM. Fortunately, we had a half-empty bus and a captive audience, and so found out that they were actually biologists from Southern California - Stephanie White a marine biologist, and Rob Baty whoo had worked on the extensive effort to rehabilitate the California condor. Break out the snacks and let the stories begin.

The cool thing about snacks is that, with this kind of altitude, you have to eat sugar all the time. I decided to do it the local way, and bought a brick-sized hunk of brown sugar, panela,  for 50 cents, broke it up with the kitchen mallet intended for that purpose, and shared the wealth.

We would make one more stop on the way up, to a zonation populated only by cushion plants and lichen. And a bunch of nutshells hualed up there to prevent erosion. Lesson of the day- No, children, palm nuts are not found at 14, 000 feet . . .

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