As a sat at Spokes drinking a beer and eating fish tacos in Moab, I chatted up a couple next to me as we watch the Cavs game. I told them I was on a solo road trip and wanted suggestions on where to stop in the general direction of Vegas. The Chick wrote three things down on a napkin that I must see:
I made it to Goblin Valley early and walked along huge red hoodoos. I couldn't find anyone to tell me what Grand Swell actually was... and then drove to Capital Reef. I had no expectations for Capital Reef and when I entered the park my mouth dropped. To the left were some of the most colorful and structurally intriguing mountains I had ever seen followed by a beautifully clear winding river to the right.
As soon as I walked into the information center I caught wind of someone saying something about fishing. I immediately started asking a million questions to one of the rangers. She only knew some general information and directed me to another information center down the road. That gentle...
The first time I went to Florida was in 2008 for Spring Break in Key West. At that time fishing was totally not on my radar. In 2017 I went to Naples, FL in January to go fishing. The weather was a little rainy and for numerous reasons we did not get out on a boat. We made sure to fish all neighboring ponds for bass and sneak around docks at night to jig some surface lures for snook. Considering I was still in grad school at that time, I remembered very distinctly watching a documentary about the effect of anthropomorphic changes to The Everglades and Lake Okeechobee. It was the first time I heard of “Red Tide.” I could not see any obvious indicators of this when I spent a week in Naples.
This year I went to Captiva Island, FL in late February. The first morning we walked the 50 foot trip to the beach. There were dead mullet all over the beach. Red Tide was in the news. Later that afternoon we walked bayside to find more dead mullet.
I obviously did not go to Florida to catch those spook...
In May 2017, I found myself driving through Ruidoso, a small mountain town in New Mexico. At that time it became apparently inevitable that I needed to stop to go fishing. I was about 4,000 miles into a solo road trip and had never fished in New Mexico. I kept seeing signs for fishing but the only fly shop in town was indefinitely closed. With the spotty service I had, I pulled over and tried to call another fly shop. I ended up calling a fly fishing guide service by accident. A super nice lady answered the phone and set me up with a guide the next day further north in Santa Fe.
My guide called me as I was headed north to ask where I wanted to fish. He said the rivers were high and suggested two places: a little private spot with numerous stocked lakes or a more challenging tiny open trout steam located in an ancient volcano. My response was obviously the volcano...I can fish a stocked pond anytime!
Early the next morning, after checking out of Santa Fe's Motel 6, I met my guide at a...
One of the most exciting moments during my class time was the first morning at La Selva. We crossed the 40ft high suspension bridge in the light. From the swinging green bridge I could see Machaca fish swimming below me. I had read about these fish before. (or like my class liked to call them: "vegetarian piranha trout") I could not believe I was standing above hundreds of them. The highlight to everyday spent in La Selva was crossing The Stone Bridge and seeing the Machaca. My favorite Inquiry Project was also conducted on this very site, which included feeding these Machaca different types of native fruit to see which they preferred and which they struck first.
My last day spend in Costa Rica was in the capital city of San Jose. There are many museums to choose from and countless things to see. I chose to go to the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica, Museos Banco Central de Costa Rica and my favorite: Museo de Arte Costaticense!
One of my favorite activities while in Costa Rica was attending a lecture and in field experience at ProNativa. We learned all about native plants of Costa Rica and why planting non native and invasive plants can be bad for the natural ecosystem. That day we collected fruit for bats, created a new path lined with relocated rocks and much more.
It took about an hour but we finally made it to the continental divide outlook. As we hiked the last hundred feet down the spine of the continental divide you could see two different landscapes and feel two different climates. The Pacific side was cool and gave a beautiful view of the ocean. The Caribbean side was hot and filled with super green mountains for as long as the eye could see.
I was lucky enough to also spend my 28th birthday in Monteverde with my Earth Expeditions class. We took our first hike to the continental divide that day. And of course there was another awesome bridge to cross!
The very first night we arrived at La Selva we went for a night hike. Our guide Marco heard a special frog call and knew that the Red-Eyed Tree Frog was close. We encountered many of this species during the days spent at La Selva. During a group Inquiry Project, I learned how to tell the difference between four different species of native frog calls. Here are two of my favorite night time frog photographs.