That Plant is Like, a Hundred Years Old.


Look! Friends Grant and Megan! Also, it's worth noting that, even in the height of summer, it's chilly af at the top of the Rocky Mountain National Park. 


There are going to be long stretches of time when it's really just Adam and me, alone in our car, listening to audiobooks and podcasts. Listening to each other breathe. Playing Bananagrams one on one. So, I'm relishing all our time for socializing that I can. We've been using the time in the States nicely to catch up with friends, and Colorado seemed to hold the highest yield.

We had a great time with everyone, but I was especially struck by the profound diversity of work done by our pals. Coming from San Francisco, where everyone I know either works in tech or is an independent bookseller, it was fascinating to get to tour the Rocky Mountain National Park with an ecologist. I don't think I'd ever even met an ecologist before. 

Megan is the wife of one of Adam's best friends from high school, and my new favorite tour guide. She's an ecologist with University of Colorado, who's currently studying alpine plants, and more specifically, an alpine flower Moss Campion


Alpine wildflowers, in July. 


Moss Campion is a cushion plant, with charmingly small pink flowers. They're cute, a point Megan returned to, again and again as she pointed different plants out to me. A tiny succulent. A yellow daisy-like flower called The Old Man of the Mountain. Alpine wildflowers are, almost ubiquitously, adorable and delicate, miniatures of those we have in more hospitable climes. And Megan's affection for them is contagious. 

It is worth noting that if you ever have the chance to take a tour guided by an ecologist you should do that. Secondly, I hope your ecologist is as patient as Megan was, because I basically spent all day pointing to things and asking "how old is that?"


This is Moss Campion, and this plant, Megan guessed, is close to 50 years old. 


Which, as it turns out, is an endlessly fascinating question when it comes to alpine wildflowers. Due to the harsh climate, plants grow a glacially slow pace. Moss Campion, in particular, are shockingly long-lived. Megan pointed out one plant to me, about the size of a silver dollar. It was, she guessed, around thirty. Our age. Larger cushions, she estimated, were more like fifty years old. Or a hundred. 

"It's humbling," Megan said, to work with plants that are so old. "You know? Respect your elders." It's clear that Megan does. 

You can learn more about Megan's work, and its relationship with global warming, here

Time to Panic?


Here's a fun game to play in Arches: it's called "spot the cock" in the formations. I spy two in this picture. How many can you see? Invite all your friends and family to play this totally reverent and mature game!


We've been offline for a few days as we drove through various national parks-- Bryce, Arches, Capitol Reef, and several national forests. Red rock morphed into brown desert, into the Colorado River surrounded by green and grey tree-topped cliffs. It's so trite to say, but America's so beautiful, and so varied, even just across the three states we've been in. 


Adam spies pictograms in Capitol Reef National Park. 


We camped in a couple of different dispersed camping spots. One, by a creek and on top of about ten billion ant hills and gravel. The other, just next to the Colorado River, with warm gusts of wind and a preponderance of bunnies. It's likely evident which I preferred. Adam took some drone footage there, which hopefully he'll have edited soon. It was my favorite place we've stayed so far. 

However, when we woke up in that picturesque spot, Adam realized a few things in quick succession: our sponge was gone in the night, either pitched out with the dishwater or stolen by an animal. Our dish washing station had a leak in it. The CV boot on our front wheel was broken. Our trusty water jug had a leak. And also, when we stopped to refill somewhere in Colorado, the station inexplicably filled our tank up past capacity? We're still not really sure what happened there. Anyway, shit starting going weird. 


This is what our life looks like right now. Please note the Samurai sword in front of the TV. 


So we hightailed it to Boulder, to get settled, to get the car fixed, to run errands, etc. Boulder is cute. We're staying in this Airbnb that I'm pretty sure is someone's dorm room. The bed is super comfortable, though. So. If you ignore the samurai sword, it's basically a palace.