Written by Cassi Mardis
We left early Wednesday morning and had a solid 14-hour drive. In every state we tried to take a picture of our mascot with the “welcome to” sign. I was up front for Missouri. We crossed the Mississippi River along the way! It was my first time seeing the river in person.
The landscape outside of Indiana is stunning. All open land with hills and dirt pathways. There is cattle everywhere just roaming the ranches at their leisure.
I have also had many firsts with the new animals I have seen. We have been here for 2 nights and I have seen 8 different kinds of animals. When we arrived at the camp I first saw some buffalo. Oh! And on route I saw some armadillo. Both times they were dead on the side of the road, but it counts right? I saw a roadrunner and it was legitimately running across the road. At the bat cave, of course I saw some bats! On our way out it is after midnight so it is very dark and we almost ran over a porcupine. Almost was the key word there. Running across the street were some cute little field mice. Yesterday morning Dr. Kloepper showed Steph and me the colony of prairie dogs and boy are those things adorable. On the way to the cave were a bunch of turkey vultures just running down the road. Last night leaving the cave we saw a jack rabbit! His ears were so big! So many firsts on this trip and it is just the beginning.
Which now leads me to the bat cave. When we were arrived it was amazing to just see the mouth of the cave. Its like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
Now, yesterday Steph got to go in the cave and I could have too, but I got pretty sick from the heat, so for my safety I stayed outside and I will journey into the cave at the end to pick up the equipment. So yesterday was the first day for setting up equipment and it all went fairly well.
Watching our first emergence was phenomenal. They emerge later here so you can’t see the bats very well, but just sitting out there watching the bats and the stars is just great. Nature is a beautiful thing and out here is so different than our nature in Indiana.
Today is our first day of data analysis and we begin at noon. So it is time to head back to the bunkhouse and begin our work day!