Week 8: Fulbright Orientation, visiting scholars, training hard for the Vuelta al Cotopaxi

This was an eventful and busy week. I’m still working through some spatial modelling issues with my R code for the Napo hydo classification. I’m also trying to learn a new ArcGis toolbox, STARS in an effort to build an .ssn object to start doing some spatial stream network modeling. I definitely need some time to sit down and work through these problems, but this week I had a lot of other distractions/responsibilities. I spent a lot of the week trying to get the lab’s electrofisher to work since I’ll be using it for field work early next year in the remote parts of the Napo where I’ll try to estimate abundance within the different flow classifications. Fortunately, with the help of a small gas engine mechanic, we were able to get it working. We even tested it in the pond at USFQ and turned over some fish.
I also had the Fulbright Orientation this week-which lasted two full days. Fortunately the speakers were quite interesting and we had a long lunch with Fulbright Ecuador board members and Ecuadorian Fulbrighters who will be studying in the states next year. On Friday we went to Papallacta and took a nice, if short, hike through the surrounding High Andean Montane Forest. Luckily we had an ornothologsit Fulbrighter who could ID the bird species. It was cool to hike through a new ecosystem, as all of my time in Ecuador has either been in the Central Sierra valleys, the páramo, or the coast. After the hike, we hit the thermal baths for which Papallacta is famous. It was good recovery for my sore muscles from all the training as of late. It was nice meeting the other Fulbright students too.

I spent my early mornings lifting weights, doing sprints and riding singletrack at Metro, and sprinting 6000′ in 11km up to the Antennas overlooking Quito in an effort to win the Guambras monthly competition and Nike Fuel Band. I made it up in 1hr 15min which was good enough for 5th place, but I think I’ve been pushed back further since then. Over the weekend we did an awesome ride with a great group of riders including 8 time National Champion Reuben Garrido down the Ciclo-Paseo (Quito closes off 40km of one of it biggest streets that connects the northern and southern parts of the city and makes it available to cyclists only-think if NYC closed Broadway every sunday! They get several thousand cyclists out every weekend-its pretty cool) to the colonial district and from there headed up a steep paved road to the Templo de la Patria. At the Templo, we got on a rough dirt track that climbs 21km up to the Teleferico at 4200m! Luckily its fairly well graded and the ascent was rather pleasant (by Ecuadorian climbing standards that is!). From the top, we had a 1500m descent back down to the city! It was super steep, nothing but switchback after switchback with gnarly waterbars and the occasional staircase. Once back on the ciclopaseo, we found a donut shop that had american style donuts-our favorite. Rodri, Abbey, and I demolished 6 donuts in a matter of seconds. Mmmm, how I had missed donuts! They even had creme filled, my personal fave.

That night, Andrea hosted a party to welcome Bobbi Pecarsky, who was EEB faculty at Cornell for 20 years and is a big name in stream ecology. She was incredibly nice and fun natured. I hope to have the chance to work with her in the future!DSCN8768 DSCN8767 DSCN8766 DSCN8761 DSCN8759 DSCN8747 DSCN8745 DSCN8741 DSCN8734 DSCN8702DSCF6228 DSCF6225 DSCF6223 DSCF6210 DSCF6206


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