Showing posts from June, 2009

The Oddly Bearable Heat of Hercules Glades Wilderness

A foggy sunrise over the balds and ridges of Hercules Glades Wilderness in southwestern Missouri has been my companion for most mornings the past two weeks.

Temperatures have been starting in the low 70’s at sunrise and accelerating from there to the mid and upper 90’s by noon. The high humidity and lack of anything resembling a breeze has forced me to wake at 4am and have my quadrat buried deep in the dewy glade grasses by first light. By noon, I haul myself, an ever present load of ticks, and my near empty gallon jug of water a good mile to the nearest refugium where I reestablish a safe body temperature and stifle the heat induced randomness of my thoughts; thoughts that make one believe in the hallucinations induced by such spiritual paraphernalia as the Native American sweat lodge.

Such thoughts were in my head yesterday morning when I glanced up from my vegetation sampling to see a 200 pound black bear walking broadside, watching me from no more than 60 feet away. I have always ha…