We’re back!

We’re back in Kluane!  Returning back to the Yukon and getting back out to the field feels a bit like a time warp, it is like the winter was just a dream and we never really left after last summer.

Kluane Plateau
A slightly more snowy Kluane Plateau from the last time that we saw it.

After being here for a few days, the glacial dust and sunshine of Kluane is now starting to turn our once pasty Scottish complexions rather brown.

Glacial dust off of the Slims River flood plain.

Returning to Kluane makes me reflect on people from the TeamShrub past:

Joe, we were chatting on the drive out about how we probably won’t be listening to as much ’80s music this summer without you around to suggest those classic tunes, Jakob was bemoaning the fact that you weren’t there to share with him in his ‘toast feast’ midnight snacks and of course we are missing your witty banter – though we are stoked you are still on Team Shrub as a dissertation student for next year! – P.S. We almost forgot the team shrub handshake, but we studied up from some videos and are back greeting each other in the traditional way now!

Joe Boyle

Clara, passing the sauna pond makes reminds me of our cold spring resort idea and makes me want to start my cold water training now in preparation for the Arctic.  But, then I put my feet in the water and remember that I have definitely softened up and the cold water of early June just seems a bit too cold.  I guess I am just not as hard core as you!  If you were here, you would have been swimming for sure!  Update: I went swimming in the lake no less, it wasn’t that cold afterall, I think I will be back swimming in the Arctic Ocean in no time!

Clara Flintrop

Louise, it seems like a long time since you were in these parts now.  You would be so impressed by how some of those first willows we planted are doing in the common garden.  They are super leafy and vigorous looking, while some of their friends are looking a bit sadder in comparison.  We miss your playful spirit up here in the Yukon!

Louise Beveridge

Meagan, well I guess I just saw you a few days ago down in Vancouver, the day of your UBC MSc graduation, so it hasn’t been that long at all.  But it was nice as always to reflect on the early days of TeamShrub back in 2009 – you, Amber, Tammy, Natalie, the Yorkshire Lads, Helen – what a good year. Congrats on your graduation – a real mile stone!

Meagan Jumping
Meagan Grabowski

It also seems strange to be separated from the other half of TeamShrub – Sandra, Haydn, John and Eleanor. The ‘Kluane Crew’ are headed up to the Yukon just in time for solstice and will be based down in Kluane until the second half of July when they will join us up in the Arctic.

We have spent some quality time out at the common garden and the pump (or emergency lake-side fire station) is working very efficiently – filling our watering bucket in about 10 seconds or so with some serious water flow.  We have pulled out the weeds and tidied up the garden ready for the arrival of the ‘Kluane Crew’ on the 21st of June.

Common Garden
The common garden on the 4th of June with some happy looking willows in the foreground.

We have even made some pretty cool Structure-from-Motion builds of a few of our tundra willows. We will use these photogrammetry techniques with our drone imagery to measure the structure of tundra plant canopies including the shrubs up in the Arctic at our other research site Qikiqtaruk-Herschel Island.

Example from the Common Garden
Testing out using Structure-for-Motion to build a 3D model of a willow from the common garden.

So after a bit of common gardening, some inventorying and logistical planning for our upcoming expedition to the Arctic it is time for a few beers in the Sunshine at the edge of the lake.

On the beach
Beers and shenanigans at Kluane Lake.

by Isla

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