Here is Part 2 from the “notes from the field” series – an account of a recent field research trip to the Yukon. Click here for Part 1.
14 July, 11 PM, Rock River Campground, km 445 (Dempster Highway), Yukon
We have had a busy few days – we finally got some drier weather in Tombstone and Laura and Barb were able to do some collecting, and Crystal set some more traps. We left Tombstone a couple of days ago to drive north, collecting en route. We have seen some of the larger wildlife, including arctic fox, moose, and grizzly bears. However, our sights were really set on the smaller wildlife: Barb was particularly impressed with the diversity of parasitic wasps at a place called “Windy Pass” – this area is known for hosting a lot of rare, Beringian species, and entomologists have collected at this locality for decades. We crossed the Arctic Circle yesterday, and the Rock River campground is nestled in a river valley just north of the Arctic Circle. We are now officially in the Richardson Mountain range – the tundra habitats about 10 km north of this campground is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. I feel very lucky and privileged to be here.
Although we had some more rain and cold weather yesterday, today was a perfect summer day at this latitude (i.e., it got just above 20C) – it was also a very windy day, which was bliss since higher winds mean that the incessant hordes of mosquitoes are kept at bay. Fieldwork in the sub-arctic is quite challenging, in part because of the mosquitoes.
We are now back in camp and it should be time to crawl into the tents. At this latitude it is pretty difficult to think about going to sleep – it is light 24 hours a day, so it is hard to trick the body into thinking it is time for sleep. It’s even harder to get to sleep knowing that Pardosa glacialis is out there…somewhere.
Stay tuned for Part 3, coming Friday…