I’m in the home stretch. The weather is starting to turn, but heat still lingers from the hottest Washington summer that I’ve experienced.
My escapades in fence building and maintenances have slowed considerably, as my partner Morganne and I took down most of the major projects. But don’t worry; barbs are still in my life! Not from fences, but from bullhead catfish. The biology intern, Guy, left the refuge in mid-August, and Morganne and I took over some of his duties. This consists of the setting and retrieval of fyke nets. We set three pairs of these nets Monday through Thursday in the various ditches throughout the refuge. The majority of the invasive species we remove from these nets are the bullhead catfish, and they have barbs on the pectoral fins and dorsal fin, making handling them nasty business. We’ve each gotten a few catfish splinters. Bullheads and bull frogs are the invasive species we remove; trying to get all the bull out of Conboy. Besides nets, we are in the midst of a trail building project, which is also a nice break from fencing.
Outside of work, I’ve gotten into mountain biking! I enjoy hiking, and mountain biking just adds a little adrenalin rush for the way down. There are tons of great trails in the Gifford Pinchot forest, with little crowds, so I don’t have to worry about running anyone ever. I’m also spending a good amount of time studying for the GRE, and the solitude of Conboy is a great place for it. After my term is up here I plan on focusing a month on grad school applications, and then head to Colorado with my sister and friends and live the ski bum lifestyle for a winter, or forever. We’ll see.
I am grateful for the summer I’ve had here in Conboy. I’m not sure I will ever have another time like it. There aren’t many distractions, meaningless cares or worries, but plenty of time to think about what is actually important. Barbed wire and barbed catfish build character.