Wednesday, December 02, 2015

2016 : From Pupfish to Grizzly Bears

2016 is promising to be an extreme year, in an extremely good way!

In January and February S.D. and I will be volunteering at the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Southern Nevada. July and August we'll be at the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge in Tok, Alaska.

Ash Meadows is the home of the small, endangered and endemic pupfish, the cutest-named fish on the planet. Pupfish live in only a very specific environment and the crystal pools at the Refuge are one of them. When S.D. and I visited the Refuge back in September we took a walk down to the pools. We didn't catch a glimpse of the famous fish but we were amazed by the beauty, and diversity of the crystal clear water and shoreline. What's even more amazing is that the Meadow is less than an hour from Death Valley. That's only 60 miles from a barren salt flat to an oasis.

Tetlin has plants and fish too but it's more well known creatures are a bit furrier a bit larger, and cute only from a distance. We weren't able to stop by so all we know about the place is what we've read online and learned from talking with the supervisor, but we do know that there are bears, black, brown and grizzly. Our campsite will be at Deadman Lake, mile 1249.3 of the AlCan (Alaska Canada Highway), and it's remote. The nearest town/store is Tok, Alaska - 70 miles to the Northwest, and we won't have cell phone coverage or reliable internet. At the same time, there is plenty there to keep us busy.

All 560 National Wildlife Refuges throughout the United States are dedicated to... After traveling around for over half a year, S.D. and I are really looking forward to hanging out in two of these special places and getting to know these places, their animals,fish, fowl and plants in detail.

Except for the fact that we have to get from Nevada to Alaska, and then from Alaska back to the lower 48, all other stops and travel routes are still up in the air, that too promises to be a great adventure!