Monday, May 30, 2011

Thunderstorms!

Thunderstorm over the La Sal Mountains (my view from the entrance station!)

I love thunderstorms! I don't like being out in them...sometimes at work I'm afraid to get out of the vehicle to walk across the parking lot, so I end up running. People scare me--they like to go up to the Point overlook to watch the storms. Not the best place to be if you don't want to be stuck by lightning! I think there is a actually a USU scholarship in the name of someone who died from a lightning strike at Dead Horse Point.

Out in the park's entrance station it gets a little scary sometimes too. A past seasonal swore he saw the ball on top of the flagpole get struck by lightning--I believe him! I did notice some black smudges up there...haha.

We don't get a lot of precipitation--most of it comes during summer thunderstorms where we get flash floods and waterfalls all over the place. I've only been able to be out during a few of the waterfall-storms but they are pretty cool. If I get lucky enough this summer I'll take some pictures :)

Talking About the Weather....

video

It steals your hat, makes electricity and can tear down buildings. What is it? Wind, of course! ....and we've been getting a lot of it in Utah recently. I was curious about where it comes from so I looked up some information and decided to share it here!

Air molecules are moving constantly and are always bumping into each other. The more air molecules there are in a certain area, the higher the air pressure. Air pressure is just the amount of force (or weight of the air) that is hitting any given area at a certain time. Changes in air pressure over horizontal distances causes air molecules to rush from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure.

In other words, as the sun heats the air, it rises. Cooler air rushes in to fill in the space, making wind.

I was interested in looking up the wind because we've been having a LOT of it here! Yesterday at the park we had 60 mph gusts and steady wind all day of about 30 mph. The sky was brown with all the red/brown dust in the air. The last time I saw it that bad, when it rained everything was covered in mud. I sent my after school club kids home early so they wouldn't be caught in the storm! My roommate was riding her bike home at the time and came home splattered in red mud.

I like wind sometimes--like when I'm working or at home but I don't like hiking in it. Yesterday I had sunscreen on so that meant I was covered in sand by the time I got home. Also it's no fun setting up your tent in the wind...our group site campers left early because the wind destroyed their tents! That brings up another memory (sorry!)....last year I was asked to do some overtime at the park, so I had planned to just camp on top of the mesa at the Long Canyon road--I was supposed to work until midnight and didn't want to drive all the way into town and back. It was really windy when I was setting up my tent but I loaded it with pillow and sleeping bag. I decided it was time to call it off when I had to go get it out of a tree!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Work, work, work

I haven't posted much lately...work got busy fast and I'm been getting out as much as possible on days off--trying to get some exercise and work off my winter weight...Dave bought us an exercise bike so even when it's really cold or really hot we can get our workout without a trip to the gym.

I am finally getting into a Master's program and USU Moab offers a Recreation Resource Management degree.  I am going to a week-long field school from May 16-21 and have to give a presentation.  I picked "The role of environmental interpretation in recreation resource management."  Hopefully it'll go over well.  The minimum talking time for grad students in this class is an hour.  With the outline I came up with, it could last 3-4 hours...but I don't really want to take up the entire afternoon.  It should be a fun class though.  It's got LOTS of reading (even including Edward Abbey), an afternoon in Arches, the River Portal, Mill Creek...and an overnight camping trip down towards the Needles District of Canyonlands.

Another part of the Master's program is a project.  Somehow this just happened and I fell into the middle of it, but Dead Horse Point State Park is now setting up a partnership with the Moab Charter School.  I'm working on the schedule of events right now so I can meet with them on Wednesday.  They want to move from an artistic program to more of an environmental education program.  Anyway I can get credit for working with them.  Now, all I need to do is take the GRE (oops) and officially get accepted to the college so I can continue.  I'm thinking it should be a great program.

...Learning to measure use impacts. water quality sampling, surveying and a ton of other stuff...

Plus it's taking place here, which is a bonus.  I'm taking the week off work and getting 3 graduate credits for it.  I'll take pictures and post after that week is over!