First Two Weeks at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory

After many delays getting to Colorado, I finally made it to the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory near Crested Butte, Colorado. If first impressions really mean anything, I know that I’m going to have a fantastic time here. So far, my first two weeks have been incredibly amazing!

An Amazing Setting

The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory is nestled in a small valley under the majestic Gothic Mountain. Until now, I’ve only ever seen the Rocky Mountains in pictures and videos. Nothing can compare to actually being here. This place is absolutely amazing. Every morning, I wake up to see Gothic Mountain outside my window. Everything about this place is amazing: the geology and geography, the flora and fauna, the people and their research and the night time stars. The scenery is breathtaking and the research being done is fascinating. This is truly a paradise for me!

Altitude Sickness

I was warned many times before coming that I would suffer altitude sickness. I’m pleased to report that the extent of my malaise was minimal. I did have a strong headache for the first tow days, but that was it. Another major issue with working here in RMBL is the risk of dehydration. It’s pretty dry here so it is super important to consume as much water as you can. It also goes without saying that being at a much higher elevation than normal results in shortness of breath. I’ll admit that hiking to some of our research sites has left me literally breathless. BUt after two weeks, I feel like I’m improving my fitness level.

Field Work

Field work has been a lot of fun. When I arrived, the graduate student I work for and I went scouting for sites to setup our experiments. We hiked a considerable distance: 16km the day after I arrived. Finding locations was a bit of a challenge as we had many criteria. Once our sites were selected, we set about with putting up the nesting blocks in which, we hope, Osmia sp. bees will nest. Since then, we’ve been monitoring the nesting blocks for occupancy as we wait to start our observations.
I have to say that I can’t complain about my job. It’s my job to hike around the Rocky Mountains and keep my eyes open for bees (which are super cool)! This is exactly the kind of work that I’ve always wanted to do. I’m doing what I love in a place that is gorgeous. Granted, some days are long and hard, but I couldn’t be happier!

Sunday Hike to Emerald Lake

I had the day off last Sunday and decided to hike up towards Emerald Lake. I went with Adam, the grad student I work for, and Camille, an coop student working with Dr Jessica Forrest. We hiked about 7km up the mountain trails towards the lake until we were hit by a snowstorm. We were high in the mountains and exposed, so we decided to turn back and head home. Although we did not make it to our destination, we had a fantastic time.

What’s Next

So that’s what I’ve been up to for the last two and a half weeks. It’s been a lot of fun, I’ve learned a great deal and I’m supper happy to be here working. Over the next week, we will continue to check for occupancy in the nesting blocks. Once we have enough Osmia in residence, we’ll start with data collection. It’s looking like this is going to be an amazing summer!