I have much to say but I will try to keep it short.
In late August, my second summer working for Virginia Tech on the Missouri River came to a close. It was a long, hot summer but I think it was productive and memorable nonetheless. We had lots of adorable baby plovers, and that is what counts.
After leaving South Dakota I headed west and began a 2 week road trip. I visited the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. Now that is certainly quite a sight to see, although they were sad to report to me that the drought made them unable to change out this years corn design on the outside of the building. I spent a night camping in the Black Hills and managed to do a drive by of both Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument the next morning. After that I spent an evening back in my old stomping grounds; Pinedale, WY. I spent the evening with my good friend Liz, went for a great hike in the mountains and had some great beers at my favorite brewery, Wind River Brewing.
After Pinedale I cruised through Jackson Hole and then proceeded onto Cameron, Montana where I spent a week relaxing, and learning how to fly fish and row a drift boat with a friend and former North Cove alum. Not too shabby. I made friends with a bad ass one-eyed cat named Mo, after the Mighty Missouri River.
Upon leaving Montana I made a turn southeast through Yellowstone and set off to visit some family and friends in Asheville, NC. It was a great time and I was happy to see my family and go hiking with a good friend. I then spent a night in Blacksburg, VA visiting with some good friends and having a few beers. After my evening in VA I headed to Mom's house in Lancaster, PA. Finally, on September 14, I made it home to CT for a baby shower. I am proud to report that very baby was born today (December 14). Welcome to the world Lincoln Xavier Dean :)
For approximately 6 weeks I stayed at home in CT with Gram. I had a good time, even when I was washing windows with my uncle. I saw all my family and friends, went for some epic fall hikes, and survived Hurricane Sandy. After a week with no power, cooking ramen on the front porch with my camp stove, it was nearly time for me to set off on another epic road trip. Joined this time by my friend Sam, I set out west toward Montana again. We managed to outrun the snow storm in the north east only to be faced with an epic snowstorm in Montana. Luckily we made it to our destination unharmed. It took a little patience and a lot of time but we made it through.
After 2 weeks playing in the snow and eating elk meat (and cooking one seriously awesome Turkey dinner), I set off yet again. First I spent a night in Moab, UT. I was pleased to have a bit of time the next morning to check out Canyonlands National Park. I also made a stop at the 4 Corners of the U.S. Monument. I am proud to say that I stood in 4 states at once. I came to rest that evening at my auntie's house in Rio Rancho, NM. I spent a few days there visiting with the Auntie and the Uncle and some cousins. I learned how to play cribbage. I'd say it was a productive few days.
After New Mexico I met up with Steph in Texas where we split a hotel room en route to our final destination of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. We are just about as far south in Texas as you can get. What, you may ask, am I doing in Texas again? Well I am looking at Piping Plovers. Like you really had to ask. After this week we will be heading north to my beloved Padre Island. I am excited to spend 2 months back in Corpus Christi.
So... now you know where I have been and what I have been doing for the last 3 months.