Jeanette Reinhart celebrates 40 years at YBRA this year. There was a small get together with wine and cake on Jeanette's cabin deck with the kitchen crew and Jeanette's son and future mother of Jeanettes 1st grandbaby, Shawn and Chrissy.
SIU made an unplanned stay at YBRA after fires in Glacier National Park kept them from their last two days of field camp there. We had beds for most but others had the pleasure of camping at the picturesque point in camp. It was nice to see the group again.
July 12th was the annual council meeting. It was held in Red Lodge at the Red Lodge community foundation. The meeting was followed by one of Jeanette and company's great lunches! After the lunch, Marv Kauffman was presented with the Russ Dutcher award.
Dr. Ferre created another spectacular dinner for the YBRA staff. This year was marinated Mongolian beef strips which were cooked at the table on fine grained mafic rocks that were hand picked by Dr. Ferre from the Elk basin. A nice way to combine cooking with geology!
Last year at this time, I was just beginning one of the greatest experiences of my life- geology field camp with SIU Carbondale. I lived in the mountains of Montana (and Idaho and Wyoming) for six weeks. I studied and mapped fascinating geology and realized a life-long passion, and when I wasn't, I was hiking (more!) and enjoying the legendary wildness of the West. I spent every day with amazing people, some who have become life-long friends. I fell asleep with campfire smoke in my hair and the wild mountain air in my spirit. This was a time I will treasure for my whole life and feel very grateful to have had. Thank you, to everyone, to the land, to the great spirit of this place.
The wet month of May and now our warm June has started a mushroom boom, not to mention the wildflowers. We are having a great flowering of Lupines and the Black Morels are popping!
On June 1st students from the University of Houston and Montclair State University in New Jersey, arrived at YBRA. There are about 50 students and faculty. The weather had been great and everything is going smoothly.
We had a visit from a mountain lion on May 20th before students arrived. We have a wild life camera set up just behind the maintenance building and captured the pictures that way.
Our water source, Howell Gulch is much more than a trickle now. With most of May being rainy and snowy, we have a torrent of water coming down the Gulch.
As June progresses, we will have a little over 100 people in camp. This will surely put the kitchen crew to the test.
YBRA opening is going good. We are a little ahead of schedule despite the 6 inches of snow we had last week. We had some time to take a day trip to the Pryor mountains and see the petroglyph canyon. it's only a short 45 minute trip from YBRA. the scenery was beautiful, and the petroglyphs were a sight to see. They are dated back to around 850ad to 1150ad.
The reservoir is cleaned out and ready to be filled. There is not much water flowing into it as you can see from the pictures but we are still waiting for more warmer temperatures to start melt runoff. I will be back tomorrow to see what kind of progress there is and start filling the water tanks.
This week will start the opening of camp for 2015. The snow is gone and the early spring flowers are blooming. Winter was kind here this year, with the exception of some damaging winds. The snow pack seams a little low and Howell Gulch, our water source, is only a trickle. Water will be our first priority this week and we will see what the Gulch can do for us!
it may not look like it on the mountain but spring will be here soon and camp will be opening. The plan is to be up there by May 1st and start opening the cabins and starting the water system. There are numerous trees down along with the pump house that has to be rebuilt. The first school should be arriving during first week of June.
We are excited to again host our annual Industry Day on August 18, 2015 at 11am MT.
A fantastic agenda of keynote Industry speakers and nationally recognized researchers in geoscience and paleontology awaits. More to come...
Well the last two nights brought high wind warnings to the Red Lodge area. I thought we should come up to camp and check for any damage. To our surprise, with the warm weather, we were able to drive the entire way up to camp! Who would ever think that would be possible in February? It did take a few tries at a couple of drifts and 4 wheel drive in low. The first stop was the pump house. All the ropes and tie downs were still connected but the pump house had been up rooted and laying on its side! All the plumbing and electrical connections seem to be ok. Trees were down all through camp but not one cabin was damaged. One branch came down on some wires and broke them from the pole. An extension ladder and some connectors and it is as good as new. As for the pump house, it will have to wait till April!
To be continued...
The 2014 year at YBRA is shortly coming to a close. There were some great students and faculty here this season, we saw two sessions from the University of Houston, Penn State was here for a week, Southern Illinois University was here and Professor Eric Ferre made the YBRA staff a great French dinner call Boeuf Guardian, the wine wasn’t bad either! Also with the photography of Josh, SIU presented YBRA with a beautiful framed lightning photo, that he captured from the fire pit, to hang in the lodge. We had Ohio University here and Professor Doug Greene entertained with some awesome blues songs during our impromptu open mic night. New Jersey Museum was here for three weeks with different students weekly for the paleontology course. We had a new school this year from Rhode Island, Roger Williams University brought a class out to study the ecology of the Beartooths. Professor Lonnie Guralnick says they will definitely come back next year.
The end of the year saw Princeton faculty cabin get a new metal roof with Thom, Heroy and Butcher dorms getting a new roof in the spring of 2015. We had both water storage tank interiors sand blasted and refinished. The Foose faculty cabin had the deck replaced with new composite decking and new log railings, a BIG thank you to Terry Williams and Steve Foose, daughter and son to “Pete”and Dottie Foose. The deck would not have been possible without the 2 of them. They both were here to help with the installation. Ray has been working diligently on the road, as you know the road can be pretty rough at times but Ray has been keeping up with adding gravel and grading it at every chance he gets.
The early snow on September 11th allowed for most of the branch piles from cut trees to be burned early this year. Then the warm up right after to 80 degrees allowed for the Red Lodge Fire Department to come out and cut down close to 2 dozen dead trees throughout the camp. Their expertise was able to remove trees that were close to cabins and wires.
The rest of the plumbing should be shut down very soon and the YBRA gate will be locked for another winter and looking forward to next year!
YBRA received its first snowfall of 2014 on September 11th. A 6" total allowed Ray, Greg and Peggy to burn over 20 slash piles. The snow only lasted a couple days but transformed the camp into a winter wonder land!