Articles written by: Mountain Khakis

How Do You MK? -Josh Johnson
How Do You MK?

How Do You MK? -Josh Johnson

How Do You MK? Josh Johnson

The small country of The Gambia, in West Africa is the opposite of mountainous yet Mountain Khakis are awesome for the type of development work I do with the Peace Corps.  For the past two years I have worked as an agro-forestry volunteer promoting moringa and cashew trees as alternative crops.  The highpoint of my service was organizing a bike trek through the provinces where our team planted 20,000 moringa trees to combat malnutrition.  We biked through a thunderstorm to reach one remote village and throughout Mountain Khakis held up awesomely.  Tough enough to endure a storm, nice enough to attend a village meeting immediately after.  Thanks for the support!

Josh Johnson, Peace Corps Volunteer 2009-2011.

A Weekend Trip to Capital Reef National Park
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A Weekend Trip to Capital Reef National Park

Got a really late start on summer due to an accelerated physics course I was enrolled in. But I guess the saying “good things come to those who wait,” may have some merit to it. After suffering through a gruesome summer of physics, I planned a weekend trip to Capital Reef National Park in Utah. My grandparents have a place in Torrey, UT (which is the closest town to Capital Reef) where we setup base camp.

Chris Folau | MK Ambassador

We had an amazing weekend filled with hikes, desert swimming holes, awesome food, awesome beer, and intense games of croquet to cap off each day. I can’t think of a better method of decompressing after a stressful semester than enjoying the company of amazing friends and family in the incredible high desert.

I’m relieved to take a couple years off until I begin grad school and hope to fill those two years with memorable experiences…stay tuned.

COPMOBA Trailbuilding Update
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COPMOBA Trailbuilding Update

We had a very sketchy start this weekend with rain, snow, fog, wind and …did I mention SNOW. After an exciting 4×4 shuttle into the work-site, all six of us got to work. The longer we worked the better the weather cooperated. Even though the ground was very wet, the trail building went really well. Something you would not get away with here in the valley. The view from this portion of the trail is usually spectacular but the clouds settled in below us and we could only get glimpses of the nearby reservoirs but nothing further. Still amazing!

COPMOBA Trailbuilding

COPMOBA Trailbuilding

COPMOBA Trailbuilding

Crack Climbing in Vedauwoo
Ambassadors

Crack Climbing in Vedauwoo

A few weeks ago we went to Wyoming for a throw at some offwidth and crack climbing in Vedauwoo. Vedauwoo is an amazing area with pink granite littered with large feldspar crystals. A short week after my first trip to the Rockies, the opportunity came to make another trip back to CO. Weather in the east has been sketchy with rain and wind so timing was perfect for this second trip. It has been warm with a lot more rain than usual for September. The park weather has been hot during the day with temperatures reaching the mid 80’s but cooling off in the evenings so we have been looking for other options to keep us busy. Most of our time is spent hiking and swimming at the reservoir and making trips to other climbing areas near Fort Collins.

Tim Rose | MK Ambassadors

A Little Escape to the Outdoors
Ambassadors

A Little Escape to the Outdoors

Settling into an office job hasn’t been the easiest – especially during summer, a time I am usually accustomed to getting out into the field to follow around wildlife – but I’m managing. However, those rare days I get the chance to get into the field, I jump on.

The Appalachians through West Virginia provide a home for a plethora of species. The biodiversity is higher in this area than anywhere else in the state. It’s why I love it here; I grew up here and just can’t seem to escape [yet]. West Virginia supports almost two dozen Federally-listed species, but only one of those is an amphibian. The Cheat Mountain salamander is endemic to the state. Their home-range is strikingly small in comparison to others, only 935 square miles. Within that range there are over 80 populations that are separated from each other, which is of concern for their conservation.

I set out with my office, members of the WV Division of Natural Resources, a grad student, and her advisor, the leading expert on these salamanders, Dr. Tom Pauley, to collect some data on them for ongoing genetic study. The little guys are hard to catch, tell you what. You think those stumpy little legs wouldn’t get them far fast? As if! They throw their whole body into it and whoosh! It takes deft hands to keep them contained long enough to get them into a collection container they can’t easily escape. We had a good day of collection (no worries they were all put back into their homes safely!) finding about a dozen. I even learned how to tell males from females by looking at their snouts. Very cool, indeed.

As fall settles into the Mountain State I will hopefully find more opportunities to escape the tedious goings-on of office work to get out and do a little more field work. Can you say bats?!