Another great summer experience with Earth Camp in Wyoming. We just finished our week-long adventure and I’m incredibly proud of our group. They learned and accomplished more than I think any of them thought possible before this week. Here’s a recap!
Day 1 – Students headed down to the Hoback River area to take stream measurements to make stream profiles and calculate the discharge, took a dip in Granite Hot Springs (a natural warm spring that has been dammed to create a swimming pool in the mountains), then visited Camp Davis Field Station to hike Mt. Anne and learn about normal faulting in the region, as well as visit with faculty and current U-M students. Phew – busy Day 1!
Day 2 – We took off for Yellowstone National Park early in the morning to make it to Old Faithful before it got too crowded. Got to watch Old Faithful a few times, then toured the rest of the Geyer Basin while learning about past rhyolite flows and how hot springs and geysers are formed.
Day 3 – The whole group made it up Bunsen Peak – super proud of these guys. Saw the Huckleberry Ridge Tuff nonconformity along the hike, then lunched at the base of a cool outcrop of columnar basalt. Learned about the 3 different Yellowstone calderas at Tuff Cliff where they got to touch the tuff and feel the difference in its composition compared to the rhyolite they had been seeing around the rest of the time. A quick stop at Norris Geyser Basin and we called it a day!
Day 4 – Up early and in the vans at 4:30 am – off in search of wolves. We got unlucky this year – no wolves to be seen, but lots and lots of bison moms and their calves (we even got stuck on the road for 20+ minutes while one decided that would be a good place to nurse!), 4 coyotes, our first bear, and a fox. Ended the day at the “Grand Canyon” of Yellowstone, then back south to Jackson.
Day 5 – Drove to the Gros Ventre Slide area to look at the geology of aftermath of this landslide, as well as discuss the underlying causes behind it. Then into Grand Teton National Park for a hike to Phelps Lake – and a swim to cool off! Ended the day at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort – took the gondola up to a mountain-top restaurant where part of our group joined in with the live entertainment.
Day 6 – Saying goodbye to Wyoming. One group hiked up to Cascade Canyon and spent some time reflecting and starting college essays, while another decided to give it all they had an hike 16.1 miles round-trip to Lake Solitude where they were met with snow-covered ground and a chilly alpine lake. They pushed themselves hard and I’m so proud of them.