UF Entomology Field Camp- Bug Camp

We went back to bug camp for the second year. I absolutely love this place. We were happy to see Dr. Baldwin again. Mom volunteered and was dubbed “Camp Mom”.  We had a lot of fun sharing our knowledge and gaining more. I wasn’t really into the bug store this year but then saw that there were baby mantids. Then I was all about the bug store until I had enough to get my mantid. The river is always a highlight. I brought home a ridiculous amount of insects and other arthropods.  I made some new friends! 🙂 Part of what was in the motorhome. I really enjoyed touring the labs the most. I loved to see what other people were working on and just love the urban pest labs. We learned all about fleas! Such knowledge to share! We saw a mini tractor pull! We got to hold the roaches. They were so fun. We ate buggy snacks. Mom even tried everything! The guest speakers were awesome and today we got to dissect grasshoppers. It was super stinky but I think I did a great job.  Night hunting was amazing at the Santa Fe River. The caddis flies were out in mass numbers and quickly coated the collection sheets. Touring the entomology collection was epic. I was amazed at the depth and breadth of the collection that they have. The specimens are remarkable!  Final day awards and good-byes. I won best collection for my age group. I really worked hard on it.

Happy Belated Birthday Gifts

Since I didn’t get gifts on my birthday, we had a little celebration when we got home. I got some Legos, squishamals, a Tamagotchi egg toy and a few other things.  After 3 months of surgeries, stitches and pain Mom is happy to report that the mechanical pencil tip is officially freed from her little toe. Just 3-4 stitches this time. What a giant pain for her. After seeing the sharp piece that was in her foot I really appreciate all the hiking she did with us this trip.
5mm of jagged death as Mom calls it. It may not look like much but in your little toe it was a lot.

Amarillo, Texas

Since we left Page a few days early we were able to break up the drive with a stop in Amarillo, Texas for two nights. We had some seriously frightening weather coming in to town and when we were hooking up at the campsite but it calmed down quickly. We had a nice pizza dinner out and avoiding the famous steak place.

We started out with a very muddy trip to Cadillac Ranch. It is an art installation with 10 Cadillac’s planted nose up in the ground. One night it was secretly moved to a new location because tourists were kind mistreating someones property. We stomped through the mud to get out to see the cars.  We stopped at the “Cadillac Ranch Museum”took a few photos and left. Everything was so expensive, t-shirts were at least $30!  Up next was the RV museum! This was a total hit. We loved seeing how the old RVs looked and all the fun things that they had on display from each time period. The highlight of the stop was the Gornicke bus from the movie RV starring Robin Williams. Checking out a few more before the need to explore nature set in. We stopped at the Amarillo Zoo. FYI mom got stunk by a Tarantula Hawk Wasp after pumping gas on the way in to town. This is now how she feels about them! The zoo was small, the animals didn’t look great and I felt it wasn’t a healthy place for them. We wandered around for 20 minutes and left. We also took a trip out to Palo Duro Canyon State Park. We drove through the parka nd took a few small hikes to see the overlooks. It was really pretty but we are currently jaded after Black Canyon and Grand Canyon on this trip. The rains were coming and we needed to kill more time while Dad worked. We ended up at the Don Harrington Discovery Center for the afternoon. We had a fun time playing in the hands on exhibits and participating in a robotics class. Back to the motorhome, laundry and bed! We all are ready to get home!

Page, Arizona

Obligatory Fry Bread Photo. We ate several! Glen Canyon dam tour. Again another repeat from a few years ago but we had a great time. E was checking out he conglomerate that makes up the dam. This was a core sample for testing. The water level is really low right now they are expecting the snowmelt to raise the water over 30 feet in the next few weeks!! I found this hilarious! Learned MORE about hydro-electroic power. The dam, due to the water level, was running very low capacity. We stopped off at the visitors center that talked about the Grand Staircase Escalante and the Therizinosaurus dinosaur. It had sickle like claws that were a meter long and stood 9 meters high! We then took a 4×4 trail into the recreation area and along Grand Staircase Escalante our to the areas they were unearthed. Mom thinks it was terrifying but I really enjoyed it. The jeep was brave! This was taken from the top of a peak that was barely wider than the Jeep. We read about coal fires and went in search of one. Mom spied some smoke and we headed towards it. We found one coal fire. They happen when lightning strikes the ground igniting coal deposits. You could smell the coal burning and feel the heat pouring out of the ground. Tread softly!  Back on our drive. It was amazing how the landscape changed as we went around each corner. I turned 14 in Page too! Mom booked a kayak trip (another post on that later) and slot canyon tours for my birthday! We did the Lower Antelope tour with Dixie Ellis. It was hot, crowded and smelled terrible. There were far too many people in the canyon at the same time and some hadn’t showered in days! It was really neat to see all the carved Navajo sandstone in the slot canyons.  We learned that up above were boxes with rope ladders in case of a flash storm and flooding. They will toss down the ropes so you can climb out and not die, that was nice! Birthday ice cream pie! The next morning we stopped at the  Powell Museum to learn more about the geology of the area and the explorers that came through. After the museum we headed to Upper Antelope for the canyon tour. We had a great tour guide. She helped us all take some amazing photos. The colors danced in the slot canyons. This canyon was not “underground” like lower was. If a flash flood came you would just be washed out the other end, assuming you survived being smashed into all the sandstone!  We hit up Nemo’s Fish and Chips on the way back to the campground. Mom thought this sign in the bathroom was funny. With a lot of tourists I guess it is needed apparently! On Dad’s birthday (which was two days before mine if you are keeping track), we started out on a drive to go put our feet in the Colorado River. We got sidetracked and realized how close we were to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon so we detoured and made a day of the Grand Canyon. Things weren’t yet on season yet since there was still a lot of snow on the roads in. We had luck at the lodge and then did some small hikes.  Chilling out and enjoying the breeze and carpenter bees. I got in a little studying for my summer SPC class in the lobby. We earned our Jr Ranger badges and called it a day. Mom drove us back to Page. We opted to leave Page a day early to hit the road towards home.