Hey, folks! Here we are, at the close of the penultimate hitch of our season! Only two weeks (one for some) to go before our time in Oklahoma is up! This has been a relatively quiet hitch, but we did a couple engaging service projects and visited some cool sites.
Our ﬁrst conservation project was run by the fabulous Chad Hanna at Eufaula Lake. Chad has been planning this vegetation survey since the beginning of the summer, but a few setbacks left it for nearly the end. We spent the morning in the ﬁeld, identifying what plants we could (some of us were better at this than others, with their Wildlife and Fisheries Degrees, or whatever) and collecting samples of what we couldn’t. We then headed back to the project oﬃce, where the ranger in charge of this endeavor scrounged up some plant identiﬁcation books and keys and set us to work identifying pictures and samples of plants. This is more diﬃcult than one would expect, because lots of green plants look incredibly similar to one another. But it was cool to actually identify the vegetation we’ve been seeing all summer. Thanks, Chad, for that intellectually stimulating conservation project!
Later in the week, we adopted a pet. An adorable puppy, whom we named Max, turned up on our doorstep. The little guy was a bundle of energy and fun! The neighbors set out some food for him and we put out some water. Unfortunately, our idea to actually adopt him was nixed, but we had fun playing with him. That is, until his real owners came home from vacation. Now we only see him every other weekend, with supervision…
8/9/2013 – Happy Birthday Chad!:
He tried to hide it from us, but we have our ways of ﬁnding out things… Hailey baked a (deliciously) adorable minion cake for him, and we proceeded to celebrate. What a lucky guy, getting to spend his birthday with the coolest people in Oklahoma!
Our second conservation day of the hitch was led by the extraordinary Hailey Baker! We woke up early in the morning for some awesome trail work at Tenkiller Ferry Lake! We covered a mile of trail starting at the overlook and ending at a nearby boys’ home. We covered that mile fairly quickly, with Ben making a serious dent with the weed whacker and the rest of us trailing behind to saw limbs of uncooperative saplings. And Chad ﬁnally got to pretend to be a lumberjack by carrying around an axe all day! About mid-trail, we found a little baby turtle in the middle of everything, which we proceeded to gush over for about 10 minutes. We love turtles, here in Oklahoma. We safely relocated him to a more appropriate home and bid farewell. We then started clearing another fork of the trail, but our plans were interrupted by a ﬂash of lightening and rolling thunder. We hiked out in the pouring rain and plan to return next week to ﬁnish our work.
The rest of the hitch consisted mostly of surveying. Unexpected, I know, but necessary. Chad and I had an epic rummy tournament, over which he, unfortunately, dominated. Ben and Mark got to see some exciting boat races at one of the sites. Josh, Mark, Ben, and I visited a Civil War museum. Much ﬁshing happened, but we have yet to dine on someone’s catch. It’s been a great hitch that I’ve had the privilege of overseeing, and we hope to ﬁnish out the summer strong. Oklahoma Strong. Peace out.