Fall 2016 Big Bend Trip
By Angela, Oct 29 2016 10:45PM
My research has progressed to be mostly data analysis, figure making, and writing. This really is a good thing, but I've developed a serious itch to get outside and collect some plants. It wasn't too possible over the summer, as I was busy with meetings and presentations. Luckly, earlier this fall semester I came into contact with Dr. Dave Lemke at Texas State University in San Marcos, who had found a population of a rare species, Matelea atrostellata (Rintz) in the Christmas Mountains. This area is private land plopped in the middle of Terlingua Ranch, north of Big Bend National Park. So we met up with Dr. Lemke and his field assistant, a giant golden retriever named Buzzard, at the cabins on the Terlingua Ranch Lodge (which is a GREAT place to stay in West TX!) and spent a few days botanizing.
We visited the Christmas Mountains and saw M. atrostellata in a dry wash area, mostly on the north-facing sides. It was really a privilege to see it, as it is one of the few species of Matelea in TX that I had yet to see in person. Afterwards, we drove to the one of the peaks in the Christmas Mountains and hung out there for a while to take in the vast expanse of Chihuahuan desert. It was pretty spectacular.
The following day we visited a few other sites and ended the day by hiking the Window Trail at the National Park. It was pretty hot for October (~85F), but the stream along the last part of the trail was flowing and it was a really amazing hike. Lots of plants were in full flower, including Matelea reticulata, or the pearl milkvine.
It was a good little 3 day break from the grind and really served as a reminder to me of how lucky I've been to meet and get to know a lot of different places and people while I've been at OSU. I have a lot to be thankful for and so much to look forward to.
Back to work. :)