Saturday, September 5, 2009

We're here!


On Thursday morning, we drove into Gothic, CO, (Elevation: 9,500 feet, Population: soon to be 4)home of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. With Thayer's parents, we drove 2.5 days and about 1,126 miles from Minneapolis to Gothic in a packed, yet comfortable, van.
When we pulled into the parking lot in Gothic, we were greeted by:
Yellow-bellied marmots (Marmota flaviventris)!!!! This one was hanging out in the parking lot near the office. There is a large population of these guys in Gothic, and as they've been studied since 1962, they're pretty habituated to people. You can get pretty close to them before they waddle off under a building or into tall grasses. Also, they're cute.

Thayer and I will be calling Gates cabin home for the next nine months. It's a lovely two-level, well-insulated cabin with amazing views.
That's Mount Gothic in the background and our wood pile in the foreground. As I said, the views are unbelievable. Our cabin is in a small valley and there are mountains everywhere you look. I still can't believe that this will be home for the next 9 months. It's quite surreal. For instance, here is the view from our kitchen table:
And here is the view from the side porch of our cabin (looking east) at Gothic Mountain.
We've taken several hikes and seen a myriad of small mammals (and larger ones). I'll post some more pics over the next few days, but mule deer, yellow-bellied marmots, least chipmunks, Colorado chipmunks, and golden-mantled ground squirrels are all super common in Gothic.

I think that's all I have for now, but you can look forward to pictures of the interior of our cabin and tales of daily life in Gothic.


I'm writing now that Jessica has had her say, although I don't know what I'm going to add. I have a few photos to contribute, and maybe some stuff off the top of my head. So far we have been finding walking a touch more strenuous as a result of the altitude, but neither of us have been suffering unduly because of it. We are excited to be positively bursting with oxygenation once we go back down to lower altitudes!

Our cabin seems to be very well insulated, since it's currently completely unheated (no need to light the wood stove, yet) but it seems to stay at about 70 degrees around the clock, despite temperatures in the 30's and 40's at night.

We are settling into the cabin very nicely so far. Thankfully we are almost all unpacked now, as it was quite terrifying at first with boxes everywhere. Much to our surprise, a shocking amount of (unbelievably random) stuff was waiting for us in the cabin, which was nice except for that we needed to clear away the unwanted stuff before we could unpack our own stuff. As a result, unpacking has been a slow, multi-tiered process in which we banish useless or disgusting cabin items and replace them with our own useful and not quite so disgusting possessions. Luckily, there is a second bedroom upstairs:
To which we have quickly converted into a storage closet. If I weren't all the way downstairs and already sitting at the computer, I'd take a picture of the stuff we put up there. Don't be too sad however, as really it would just be a picture of some boxes. I believe most of the people reading this have seen boxes before, so I will rely on the reader to use his or her imagination to picture some boxes off to the right of this photo.

We have converted the southwest corner of the house into our lounging area, as you can see in this picture.
You can see me using the very computer I am using to type this blog! Jessica is absent from the picture seeing as how she was the photographer, but visualize her sitting where the laptop is and you will get a good idea of what we look like in the evening.

Speaking of evening, I took pictures outside in the dark! They may not be exciting, but I will put insightful captions on them to delight our readers.

This is Gothic Mountain, complete with cabin in foreground, just shortly after sunset. With mountains on either side, it gets very dark very quickly after the sun goes down, and if there is not a moon out, it becomes pitch black.

The last of the light fading from the sky. As with all of the pictures in this blog, click for larger versions. If you enlarge it, you can appreciate both the subtle coloration of the sky and the fact that I can't manage to hold the camera still for the life of me. In this case, it's really not my fault though, night pictures have a way longer exposure. We really need a tripod or something.

This is the cabin across from us, to the east. The blurring is artistic, not accidental...

Here, I attempt to channel the energy of the night into a single photograph. The trails of light from the cabin windows represent the looping transience of human life, brief incandescent pathways which appear to lead somewhere but ultimately double back, standing out loudly from the terrain but still only inhabiting a very small fraction of the total space. In opposition, the solid black of the earth captures the apparent yet illusory impression that the earth is consistent and unchanging. The smudged trees upon the horizon capture the energy of the forest which is in constant flux, yet always familiar and recognizable throughout all of its infinite permutations.

Or, it's possible that I just wanted to see what happens when you whip the camera around while you take a picture. Wheee, lookit the light trail!

I think we are going to do more thorough picturebloggering of the cabin tomorrow, but here are two teaser pictures to whet your appetite!

This is our cool second floor balcony/hallway. It overlooks a nook on the first floor, and has two story windows and a cool wood banister! It also has a large awkward plant in the corner, and an ugly carpet. Jessica and I plan to do Yoga up here!
This is our bedroom! It's cute. That's my dresser, Jessica's is to the left. There's also a large semi-walk in closet, and a ceiling trapdoor to an attic! Stay tuned for more RMBL updates!!


Trina S. said...

I am excited to hear all about your good times! Look forward to seeing some wonderful pictures of the great outdoors! Love for you to follow my blog :)T

Ryan said...

Awesome scenery! Looking forward to your future updates. Hopefully you won't have to chop an excessive amount of wood before winter!