In the panorama above, we were planning on hiking to the red circle and we started around the corner where the blue arrow is pointing.
We started out the day by going on a hike along the East Fork of the Toklat River. We wanted to hike out into a big, wide, flat glacial valley below Polychrome Pass. From Polychrome, we had seen a big (maybe as big as a house) rock in the middle of the valley. Since there were no other boulders around and this looked distinctly out of place, we decided it was a glacial erratic, meaning a rock that was carried and left by the glacier. We parked off the road, then had to climb down a steep, rocky slope to get to the river.
On the other side of the river was a wolf den, so the Park Service had closed the area around the den. The closed area reached to our side of the river, so we walked over in the bushes to avoid it. After a few minutes, one of the module members, Emily, found a cool rock. Since she already had a sample, she let me have it for my official sample. Here's a picture of it I took back at my lab (aka my bedroom floor).
The rock, as you can see, has been compressed and folded, so the layers look bent. I gave the sample a name, took a GPS point, marked the time and date, weather, etc.
Since it was sort of brushy, we were being careful about bears and yelling "Hey bear" every 30 seconds. A few days earlier, Emily, who knows some Latin, came up with the Latin translation of "Go away bears", which is something like"Abita ursei". The non plural version sounds a bit better (abita ursae), but I guess is grammatically incorrect unless you alter the "abita" part.
Anyway, we were walking through the woods calling "abita ursae" when Jill, one of the instructors, saw a bear. It ran off into the bushes as soon as it saw us. We all bunched together, made a lot of noise, and slowly backed away. We saw moving through the bushes up the hill side, so we continued to back up. We got out into the open and I changed to my zoom lens so I could get a picture. Looking at it on the hill, we realized that it was pretty small, and was actually a young bear cub.
Now, mother bears are very protective and getting between them and their cubs is a easy way to get attacked. This was worrying, so we backed up more. Soon we came to the signs around the closed wolf area. When we told the story later, we said we were stuck between wolves and bears.
The bear cub started running back down the hill. At the bottom it disappeared into the bushes. A second later we saw a bear cub 30 feet away. It appeared that there was another cub, but we weren't sure.
We decided that with two cubs, one of which was directly in the path of our hike, and no mother bear, we decided that it wasn't safe to continue. We turned around and hiked back to the car. We ate lunch there, and I did a segment about our bear encounter.
After lunch, we decided to hike the other way down the river, to a good fossil site. We hiked along the river for a ways, then had to "sidehill" along a few scree slopes (A scree slope is made up of loose rock chunks. Its almost like a sand dune with bigger grains of sand).
As we got to the canyon with fossils it started to rain and I had to put my camera away, so I didn't get many pictures. We continued up the canyon, which had scree slopes and outcrops and each side. We climbed up one to look at some footprints, then climbed another to look at the angle of a dyke
(In the upper right picture, you can see layering at about a 50 degree angle.You can also see a protrusion of rock that seems to crosscut that layering. That is the dyke, or magma intrusion, that we climbed up to look at.)
It stopped raining and I got a few pictures, then we headed back to the car. On the drive back to camp, the sun shined through the clouds and created a almost surrealistic scene. But as we turned the corner, it started down pouring. But the time we got back to camp, it had stopped again.
The paleontology group had left that morning, so we had the camp to ourselves. We had pasta and played a volcanology card game.
The night before, Sarah and Jill, our instructors, saw a lynx walk by their cabin. Our guide had also seen lynx in the area before. We decided to do a timelapse with my camera of the path and see what walked by on the path. I did 15 seconds intervals and it lasted until 4 in the morning, when my battery died. But out of the 600+ pictures, only one had something in it, and that was Jill walking by. Oh well.