Some of you have been wondering what's become of me, as I have made relatively few appearances lately. Today is a rare day off for me, and it gives me a chance to tell you what I've been doing.
Since late July I have been roaming the Northwest, working on three different forest inventory projects. Most of that time I have camped near the forest I was working in. Now, with 20-degree mornings and long dark nights, I'm staying in rustic motels instead.
All of this year's jobs have paid on a production basis, rather than an hourly or daily rate. That gives me a strong incentive to work long hours and to take few days off. Add the fact that I saw no rain for two and a half months, and you have foresterbob hanging out in the woods instead of commenting on Daily Kos.
This morning, however, I awoke to a strange sound. In my not-quite-awake state, it took a few moments to realize what I was hearing: rain! Yesterday, by very good fortune, I completed a very isolated area accessed only by many miles of dirt roads. Today was a planned day off, giving me a chance to move 30 miles down the highway to a new location.
My "home" for the past two weeks has been the area around Cascade, Idaho, which is about 75 miles north of Boise. The area is largely forested, with small towns in the valleys next to lakes and rivers. Valley elevation is around 5,000 feet. Here's a broad view of my working area. Beyond the first hill, the land drops off towards the North Fork of the Payette River.
Below: Conifers on steep ground, in late afternoon sunlight. The light colored crowns are due to insect defoliation, most likely spruce budworm. Despite its name, budworm seems to prefer grand firs, and then goes after other species.
Below: Streams on isolated forest lands sparkle with clean water.