See also- Part 1
Day 2 – June 10, 2015 [By Riva Madan]
Today our primary objective was to reach Great Basin National Park. Along the drive there, we saw stretch after stretch of flat, brown landscape, with mountains in the distant backdrop. It honestly looked like we were passing Area 51, which was a bit south of our path, or where they could dump radioactive waste from nuclear power plants without anyone knowing (sorry Nevada); at one point Frank thought he saw some kind of large vehicle rolling in the far distance on the flat desert land, but it turned out just to be a dust cloud mirage.
We arrived at Great Basin National Park and were greeted by Gretchen Baker, an ecologist at the park, who gave us a map to get us around the park and told us a bit about the area, some highlights to look for (like the awesome starry nights) access and habitats.
After setting up in the Baker Creek Campground, on his first adventure out to find the toilets, Kip found a Rhadine (a genus of fairly uncommonly collected beetles that includes some well-known species that are cave dwellers) inside the restroom. Perhaps we can think of getting this fine beetle as compensation for the previous night’s poor carabid catch. As the night moved in, we donned our headlamps, fired up our vials, and brandished our tools and headed out collecting on a trail close to our camp. Since it was right after the “Rhadine hype”, we were all anxious to find more; however, we found mainly Pterostichus protractus, which turned out to be one of the most dominant species in the park. While peeling bark to look for beetles, we accidentally opened revealed a group of sleepy hornets hiding under the bark. Luckily, they were all inactive so they didn’t react much, but we got a nice adrenaline rush. We carefully tucked them back under the piece of bark and moved away as quick as possible. We enjoyed seeing bats flying around us until one almost collided with Frank’s headlamp as he looked up to see what was making the fluttering noises. The night was cut short by cold drizzle. We headed back to camp to retire for the night; it was then when Frank and I realized: 1. how bad our tent was, and 2. how much we sucked at erecting tents. Water started to ooze in from the seams and drip from the roof. We could only think about how wet this night might get.
More to come in Blog 3.