Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rock and Stump

Rock and Stump, originally uploaded by inyopfc.

Artist's Fungus

Artist's Fungus, originally uploaded by inyopfc.

so called because you can scratch things into the white part on the bottom.

Human-influenced Vermont Landscape

This is what Vermont used to look like, about a century ago. Over time, most of the farming/pasturing ended and the forests came back. There are some open areas like this left, and while they aren't natural, they are very pretty.

Vermont is Not California: Thoughts on Change

There are quite a few reasons I moved to Vermont but one of them was to break myself of the assumptions and mannerisms that had built up in me from being in the same place most of my life. The difference between people here and people in California is not as distinct as the difference between chaparral yucca and striped maple, but the differences are real and I run into them every day. My experiences here have been overwhelmingly positive - but they are also forcing me to change quickly. This is not a bad thing at all, but it can be a bit disconcerting and uncomfortable at times.'

Recently, I told one of my friends that my overly-emotional nature was something I couldn't change and that it was part of who I was. She challenged this and told me that she thought it was silly for me to just decide I couldn't get rid of a characteristic about myself that I didn't like. She told me she is making herself better too, and if she is able to, so am I. I thought about this while sitting in a fen, and I think she is right. There are definitely things I can change about myself that I just don't, because I haven't had to in the past, or because I am too stubborn.

The hard part is figuring out which things about me are the ones that make me special, unique, fun, good, and which things about me are not core to my personality or are detrimental to my enjoyment of life, and can be changed. That's a hard question and one that I don't know the answer to yet. However, I did recently notice one thing. People here as a general rule are much more sincere, open, and honest than they are in Malibu and Santa Barbara. I have acquired the habit of responding in a cynical, sarcastic way to people, and I've done that a few times here when people were actually being real and honest. (how much dislike of Californians is caused just by this?) Even worse, I sometimes overreact and become too emotional when people don't react the way I want. It's a bad habit and one I need to get rid of (and it sounds much worse reading it here than when it was in my head!). Why am I defensive and insecure when I am around such great people?

So, here's my goal for fall semester: to be a little bit less reactive, more soft spoken. To take people at face value rather than assuming they have negative intentions. To be open to new ways of thought and new activities that I would not be open to back in California. Most importantly, to decrease the magnitude of expression of negative or extraneous emotions, while at the same time retaining the excitement, happiness, artistic expression, and love of the neat stuff in the world world that make me special and fun, I think.

Wow, that's a lot. We'll see if it works. I'm excited about my life here and think whether I stay in the Northeast or go back to California in a few years, I'll come out much stronger and more effective and less walled off.

Whew! Next time I'll post pictures, I promise. I have some neat pictures of a mossy forest and a fen.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

13-Mile Canoe Trip

Yesterday I embarked on an approximately 13-mile canoe trip with three of my friends. Although my canoeing experience is rather limited, several of my friends were more experienced and I learned how to paddle with my body rather than just my arms. I am still sore despite this, but not nearly as much as expected. It was a great trip and we hope to take this one at least once more before it gets cold.

After a 'portage' where we carried a canoe through the streets of Burlington and Winooski, we 'put in' at the Winooski River just downstream from the waterfall and dam. The trip down the river was about 10 winding miles; the flow in this part of the river is quite slow so we mostly made progress by paddling rather than by the current. Once we arrived at the lake we paddled south for about three miles. The water was actually rather rough on the lake with swells of at least 1 foot and a bit of a headwind to paddle into. It was never dangerous but it made the ride more interesting. Eventually we landed at a beach north of Burlington, where we went for a swim and some of us took a nap in the sun.

Unfortunately, I did not bring my camera, because I didn't want it to get wet. However, we did get to see the following things:

-an osprey carrying a fish (or something it killed but they mostly eat fish)
-Other birds seen: green and great blue herons, snowy egret, kingfisher, turkey vultures, red tailed hawks (which look totally different here).
-a pileated woodpecker (heard but not seen)
-raccoon and skunk tracks (and smelled a skunk).
-mature floodplain forest with silver maples
-invasive plants
-goldenrod and jewelweed
-interesting species of wild cucumber, morning glory, and cocklebur that look somewhat similar to the species seen in California
-Mussel shells (possibly just invasive zebra mussles
-A great view of the Adirondacks
-watching the tiny canoe informally named 'The Tate Crate' brave fairly large swells and not capsize.

Things are going to get more busy now but I still hope to go canoeing one or two times before it gets too cold. Then, it will snow, and I'll try cross country skiing and snowboarding.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

FNEP 003

FNEP 003, originally uploaded by inyopfc.

2011 FNEP team (plus one additional grad student). Team name TBD (Allium?).

This is a station to gauge water flow and monitor nutrients flowing out of a watershed (not a gross culvert as it appears). It's the same place where this photo from the Ecological Planning website was taken.

Three Old Trees

Three Old Trees, originally uploaded by inyopfc.

From my notes

Morning Trails

Morning Trails, originally uploaded by inyopfc.

FNEP 'Reading The Landscape' week-long class.

On this wet morning, it was easy to tell who had left their tents to get breakfast.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Botanical sketch

IMG_6433.JPG, originally uploaded by inyopfc.

this was fun to draw! It's some late-summer leaves off of a tree near the Winooski River. I think it is in the elm family (see how the leaf base is asymmetrical? That's how it really looks, not just an error)

Around [New England], Part II

Last weekend I drove to Maine, as was mentioned in the earlier post, to visit my friends Alina and Kariann. I saw some neat stuff along the way.

Montpelier, the smallest capitol city in the nation.

House of Tang?

Another river. We went kayaking down a river, which was lots of fun, but it wasn't this river. There are about a million rivers out here.

Brake for moose! (I didn't see any)

Back in Burlington, watching a storm come across Lake Champlain.

Summer can be pretty wet here. However, August has apparently been much less wet than July with just a few scattered thunderstorms. The last few days been hot and rain-free (but a bit muggy).

I'll be traveling for much of next week for a school field trip. I may or may not have internet access but either way I will post about it when I can.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Around Vermont, Part I

So I'm here in Vermont now, and am moved into my new place. Not much is going on here until I start with school stuff next week. In the mean time I've been exploring Vermont and also took a weekend trip to Maine to visit my friends Alina and Kariann.

This is Church Street, the pedestrian street in Burlington where people go to shop and eat and such. It's a nice place to walk to and only a 10 minute walk or so from my place. However, like most tourist areas, most of the best restaurants and bars are at least a block or two off the main drag (you can't go far because burlington is pretty small).

This is Indian Pipe, a plant that is parasitic either on fungi or on another plant. There was TONS of it last week popping up in Centennial Woods, a little forest preserve owned by UVM.

I live right by Battery Park, a really neat park on a bluff overlooking Lake Champlain (I can almost see the lake from my house but not quite). Here's the view from Battery Park looking out at Burlington Harbor.

There is water EVERYWHERE! It is normally a very wet area, and this summer has been wetter than average, although there's only been one day since I got here when it rained more than an hour or so at a time. Anyway, this is on the trail to Camel's Hump. Camel's Hump is one of the taller mountains in Vermont, and Eli and I hiked up it before he went back to Atlanta.

Pond below Camel's Hump... the map says it is a beaver dam but we didn't see any lodges or dams or anything. That's Camel's Hump in the background.

This is Mt. Ethan Allen. When I first came to Vermont it seemed like there weren't really distinct vegetation communities like there are in California. But in some cases there are. If you look closely you can see dark green conifers - probably firs and spruces. This is an example of the boreal forest that covers a lot of Canada, but in Vermont is mostly at higher elevations or in the northeast corner of the state.

Alpine vegetation! Even though Camel's Hump is barely over 4000 feet, it supports a small (10 acre) area of true Alpine vegetation, just like that seen in the Arctic or at 12,000 feet in the Sierras. It was weird being in an alpine area and not being out of breath (due to altitude).

Lichens, alpine grass, and the tiniest (and probably only) 'alpine lake' in Vermont.

Me looking disheveled on the peak. The reason I look even more disheveled than usual is because the trail gains almost 3000 feet in around 3 miles, and most of it is in the last mile.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

small charlie, big chair

small charlie, big chair, originally uploaded by inyopfc.

Here's what I would look like if I were tiny!

Things are going well in Burlington, like all transitions, there are good moments and also some lonely moments, but the good moments dominate by far and I am excited for the future. More info and photos when I get time...

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Adirondacks

On Friday, Eli and I drove through the Adirondack Mountains in New York. It was rainy but quite beautiful.


A mossy creek.

Berries... some orchid-like plant, not sure what it is yet.

A weird fungi that Eli called 'dead mans fingers'.

Pretty overlapping leaves... perhaps yellow birch.

Lake Placid, a touristy town we mostly avoided.

This is Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain, a steep outcropping that we climbed - 1000 feet of elevation gain in 1 mile. It was steep!

The view up there was really nice, though! We didn't climb to the fire lookout area at the very top and instead hung out on these rocks.

Reindeer lichen.

Ausible Chasm

the ferry to Vermont!

Final stats!

Eli and I are safe in Vermont and have been here since Saturday. Eli;s flight is really early tomorrow morning, so he'll be back in Atlanta soon.

I'll post Vermont pics when I get time