On May 25-27 I went on my last field trip of the quarter, to the Sierra Nevada Mountain ranges that border California on the eastern side. We basically drove a transect up and over the mountain range from the mixed conifer forest on the western side, up higher and higher in elevation to the alpine environment, and over to the drier eastern side of the mountain range, just south of Lake Tahoe. It was breathtaking.
Day 1: Calaveras Big Trees State Park
We spent the first day of the trip driving east through the Great Central Valley, through the oak woodland and foothills, and up to the lower montane forest zone of the Sierra Nevadas. We went on a hike to see the big trees (Sequioadendron giganteum) in Calaveras Big Trees State Park! We camped in the park for the night, which was great fun. We made pasta and salad for dinner, and the whole class gathered around the campfire afterward and told stories. It started with my professor telling Mark Twain's "The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" and then continued with other people telling stories and jokes, playing songs on the guitar, and singing. It was wonderfully kumbaya.
The open, park-like understory of the mixed conifer forest.
The cool "jigsaw" bark of the Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa)
Our campsite, that's my tent on the right, halfway out of the picture.
Dinner and kumbaya