Expedition: June 2013

We plant again, for the fifth year in a row

June 2013 Patriarch at dawnJune 2013 Girls around treeJune 2013 Working on cold frameJune 2013 Hiking towards PeakJune 2013 Girls on peakJune 2013 campfireJordan woke us up with a loud yell at 5:00 AM so we could drive up to the Patriarch Grove to see the sun rise. It’s rare for teenagers to wake up their elders at this hour, but as you can see from the photos it was worth it.

There are some new staff members at the White Mountain Research Station. It changed hands from U. C. San Diego to U.C.L.A. last year. But our old friend Tim Forsell is still the cook and caretaker at Crooked Creek.

We found the cold frame in pretty good shape, but a marmot had evidently broken into the left hand chamber and vandalized it. We fixed it and tested the electrical and irrigation systems. The battery voltage was +14.6 volts. That’s better than last year at this time! The pump still works, so it didn’t take us long to set everything up. We fertilized with some sheep manure, watered it, and planted carrots, radishes, arugula and herbs.

Chris Kopp, a Ph.D. student at U. C. San Diego, took us out into the field to show us his climate change experiment on alpine plants. We also talked about bristlecone and whitebark pines with University of Montana student Colin Maher and talked geology with professor Allan Glazner of the University of North Carolina.

George found a number of arrowheads in the meadows below Barcroft.


We found our old array of artificial hypoliths. Some of the tiles were out of position. We are getting used to this sort of thing from the rodents. Elena photographed the bottoms of 59 tiles. Several of the tiles have some green on them.

While some of us climbed 14,000′ White Mountain Peak, a few of us rested at Barcroft. Everyone who started up the peak made it to the summit, but it sure was strenuous.

Our work done, we enjoyed telling scary stories around the fire.

What we learned:

  • One of the benefits of coming here is learning from the graduate students and professors you meet,
  • All three of our projects here are maturing, and we don’t have as much work to do as we used to have in past years. The bristlecone pines spiral grain project has been submitted to an academic journal and we are waiting on that. The artificial hypoliths won’t need to be checked again for several years. The cold frame project is getting to be routine. If we want to keep coming here (and we do!) we need to think of some new projects.