Western Expeditions is in the Backcountry

By Anne Mead

Western Expeditioners departed yesterday for 8 days in the backcountry. Their plan is to circumnavigate the town of Silverton, while exploring varying elevations of 9,500 to 13,000 feet. Along the way, they will be surveying for Pika, a climate change indicator species that lives in high alpine tundra.

Previously this week, the expeditioners worked with our partner, Mountain Studies Institute, learning about pika and how to conduct surveys. They also were introduced to high alpine wetlands, known as fens, and conducted some fen restoration.

The group gained some acclimatization experience by doing day hikes to areas like the Old Hundred Boarding House on Galena Mountain.

The boarding house rest above 12,000 feet and used to house miners in the early 1900’s. Here is a great website with more details on this incredible place: http://www.sanjuancountyhistoricalsociety.org/old-hundred-boarding-house.html

On Thursday, the day before they left for their epic hiking trip, the group ventured to Ouray, the neighboring town to Silverton. They spent the afternoon playing in the hot springs and seeking the joy.

Steve and I can honestly say we are severely jealous of this group. Silverton is absolutely beautiful in the summer and these young folks are living’ it up in all its beauty.