TR: Soldier Lake, Miter Basin, Cottonwood Lakes: 07/25 - 07/28 2019

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cgundersen
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Re: TR: Soldier Lake, Miter Basin, Cottonwood Lakes: 07/25 - 07/28

Post by cgundersen » Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:20 am

Grampy,
Add another thumbs up for the gorgeous photos! The existential shot of the approach to New Army pass captured the mood I'm sure most everyone experiences: OK, where is that darn ridge? And, then, once you get there, it's an entirely new set of emotions. But, I guess that's partly what keeps bringing folks back: the ups and downs, literally and figuratively! Cameron








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RiseToADry
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Re: TR: Soldier Lake, Miter Basin, Cottonwood Lakes: 07/25 - 07/28

Post by RiseToADry » Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:31 pm

Great trip report!

On the sleeping front, I've found sleeping with ear plugs helps me tremendously. I'm the type of person that lays there and listens for every little sound wondering what it could possible be. With ear plugs, it's quiet bliss and I end up sleeping better. May not be your problem, but just thought I'd share. :)

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grampy
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Re: TR: Soldier Lake, Miter Basin, Cottonwood Lakes: 07/25 - 07/28

Post by grampy » Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:46 pm

thanks Cameron, and RiseToADry.
I will try earplugs on my next trip; sometimes you don’t know something (noise) is a problem until you eliminate it.

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Re: TR: Soldier Lake, Miter Basin, Cottonwood Lakes: 07/25 - 07/28 2019

Post by zacjust32 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 3:37 pm

Nice trip! I ended up doing the exact same trip at the end of September. Great minds think alike I guess!

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Re: TR: Soldier Lake, Miter Basin, Cottonwood Lakes: 07/25 - 07/28 2019

Post by Harlen » Thu Dec 05, 2019 7:32 pm

Grampy, very nice TR, with great photos, and best of all- my first sight of the "Sooty Grouse" booming away at the female. That was interesting.
Also interesting is the name change from "Blue Grouse" to "Sooty." Here is some background on it from Project Upland Magazine:
How to tell who’s who with the mysterious Blue Grouse.

The blue grouse is a bird shrouded in mystery. The dusky grouse (Dendragapus obscurus) and the sooty grouse (Dendragapus fuliginosus) were first identified separately by Lewis and Clark in the 1800s. They were later combined into one species called the “blue grouse” in the 1900s. It remained that way until 2006, when the American Ornithologist’s Union decided to once again split the species into two separate species (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife 2018).

Why all the back and forth? At a quick glance, it’s easy to see why the blue grouse remained a single species for so long. The males can look essentially the same with only minor physical differences, while the females look nearly identical. They occupy many of the same types of habitat, especially along the transition area between the currently accepted ranges. And they are also suspected to interbreed where their ranges overlap, further complicating identification.

We still call them the Blue Grouse, except when our ornithologist friends are about. As I have italicized above- they interbreed! If I recall correctly, one key definition of a species is "all the members of a population of organisms that can interbreed and produce viable offspring."
So we're going to assume that the breeding is successful, and go on calling these great Sierra birds- "Blue Grouse." :angry:

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Re: TR: Soldier Lake, Miter Basin, Cottonwood Lakes: 07/25 - 07/28 2019

Post by grampy » Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:54 pm

Thanks zacjust32 - I would enjoy reading your take on the area, if you end up posting about it on your blog site.

And thank you Harlen - because I’m not very knowledgeable about wildlife and plants, I try to learn something about what I am seeing. And just to offer a friendly quibble, shouldn’t you (in consideration of mules) amend your “species” definition to read “viable and fertile offspring” ? But yes, calling them Blue Grouse is fine with me.

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Re: TR: Soldier Lake, Miter Basin, Cottonwood Lakes: 07/25 - 07/28 2019

Post by Harlen » Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:27 pm

grampy writes:
to offer a friendly quibble, shouldn’t you (in consideration of mules) amend your “species” definition to read “viable and fertile offspring” ? But yes, calling them Blue Grouse is fine with me.
Your dead right grampy. fertile is the right term. There are yet more conundrums re. the species definition. For example, the coyote (Canis latrans) can interbreed with the wolves (Canis lupus), and on occasion, produce fertile offspring. These are the problematic "Coywolf," aka "Coydog." I believe they are considered "hybrids" at this point, but this does challenge the separation of coyote and wolf.

I appreciate the segue into ecology/ taxonomy that your well-written TR inspires. Thanks for adding in that wonderful piece of footage, and for adding to our continuing education.

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