Author: Tessa Snyder
CA: Mono Co: DeChambeau ponds- Bohler Canyon
Today we woke up to the delicious smell of hot chocolate chip pancakes that the Brick Squad prepared for us. After a fulfilling breakfast and an easy morning under the Aspen Grove, we headed out to meet with Ryan’s brother Nick Carle a.k.a. The Grub. The Grub works for the Forest Service and specifically manages the water levels and its distribution throughout the network of waterways leading to Mono Lake. We met up at Wilson’s Creek where we learned about the management strategies of diverting the creek’s water to various ponds such as DeChambeau pond. At DeChambeau pond we got to observe one of the largest colonies of yellow-headed blackbirds. We watched the territorial males stand tall on the marshy cat tails while the duller colored females expended energy catching aquatic insects. At DeChambeau pond we also saw swarms of California gulls, a pair of Cinnamon-Teal ducks, Gadwalls, an American Coot, a Black-crowned night heron, and more violet-green swallows. After our lovely morning birding with The Grub, we headed to Mill Creek to eat lunch under the cottonwoods and took a dip in the local swimming hole.
After lunch, we headed into the small town of Lee Vining where we stopped at the Mono Market for ice cream and to fill up the vans on gas. Some of us headed to the local bar for a quick celebration for Teagues 21st birthday! Apparently there was a Dr. V encounter at the gas station by Maryam and Joslyn. He had a white long flowing beard, a beer in hand, a Subaru Hatch back and he had said “Birthdays are meant to be celebrated, drinking and dancing under the stars.” Once we were fueled up on sugar and gasoline, we headed to a recently burned forest within Bohler Canyon. We were set free to explore the canyon at our own pace. Many of us who were on the hunt for the Black Backed woodpecker were disappointed to find none, but there were many mountain bluebird sightings and beautifully quilted-patchwork hills of wildflowers. It was so interesting to spine the wheel about the forest fires and the parallels of life and death represented by the new growth and decomposition of the burnt trees.
Back at Camp, we had filled up on spicy bowls of chili and gathered around the fire pit under the aspens for Nature Notes. Once it got dark, we joined as a tribe to have a dance party in the driveway for Teague’s birthday. We ended the night huddled in a clump in the meadow to star gaze as Profe (pronounced: pro-feh) taught us astronomy.