Drunk on Water

Sit down. Drank.
Stand up. Drank.
Pass out. Drank.
Wake up. Drank.

These are all of the times you need to be drinking water in Wyoming. At 7,000 feet in elevation, the body works harder to get oxygen into its system. It breathes more. It loses more water. How to replenish that loss is simple: drank.

But water. Drink water. I’m assuming Kendrick Lamar means something else in “Swimming Pools,” but I’d definitely keep drinking water, especially with the air only having about 14% humidity. It’s great because I sweat less, but it’s not so great in the fact that I’m drinking 20 oz. of water every hour.

I’m not drinking that water. That’s runoff from a recent rain storm and is actually a dirt path.

But hey, I don’t want altitude sickness. I haven’t been affected, but I’ve heard it’s not pleasant. Luckily, there’s not a shortage of water around here.

Off of Trapper’s Point lies a flooded marsh area.

There is plenty of water around here, especially churning through “little” Granite Creek. Currently, it’s high because the snow runoff from the mountains is going right into the stream. There’s still fresh snow falling into it, too.

It snowed on June 12. It didn’t stick, but it was still crazy.

I wouldn’t drink out of it, though. I don’t want to get giardia, a painfully terrible disease. My raft guide had it for three months, and he wouldn’t recommend it.

Plus, the water is cold – very cold. Hence the neoprene waders.

Neoprene waders and the puffy vest were the keys to staying warm on the 45 degree day.

One activity with the participants is stream ecology. It’s a basic study of a stream – rate of flow, width, depth, and bugs – and it can be applied to all ages. An example John Valley used to explain it was that flow is 1 cubic foot/meter, which is about the size of a basketball. A first grader knows what that is and can picture 6 basketballs or 1,000 basketballs rushing down a river.

John Valley explains how to record basic measurements of a stream.

It’s actually the same type of lab that I had in AP Environmental Science during my senior year of high school, and it’s the class that made me realize how cool science can be. It’s more than little parts of a cell – it’s parts of an entire ecosystem, parts of the whole world.

Granite Creek has been swelling recently, especially with 12 hours of rain over the past four days. This chunk of the bank was taken out last year, and the river keeps rising and lowering over the time that I’ve been here. 

And now the educators here know how to conduct this experiment and apply it to math (rate of flow), art (drawing bugs), history (past data about the stream and the care in its area), or writing (turning the stream’s life into a story).

It goes to show how relevant and applicable the outdoors is to all aspects of our lives. The environment was way here before us and our culture, and it’ll be here long after we’re gone. But, for now, I’ll enjoy it and try to care for it as best as I can.

We caught a sculpin with kick nets, and I don’t think I could be smiling any harder.