A Blog of Firsts

Monday, July 22, 2019 - 9:59pm


Ilinca Popescu

Wow, you never realize how much you accomplish until you really think about and write it down in front of you. These past few weeks held a lot of firsts for me, in so many ways.


Fly Fishing

Most importantly (I think), I finally got out on the river on one of the HFF drift boats and tried my hand at fly fishing, or as Jack McLaren calls it, “line management,” which I quickly learned is more aggravating than not getting a bite. Back home, I am not known amongst my friends as a fisherman by any means—maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll hook some macrophytes—but this trip was really successful thanks to my fellow intern Natalie and Jack’s instruction on how to false cast, strip the line, and lay down the line. Even though my first brown trout was a bit small, it felt like a huge accomplishment.


Driving on the Highway

Last Wednesday, my supervisor Kam Allison and I left the office early in the morning to show me the ropes for my first shift at Big Springs, where we conduct a recreational use survey on the water trail. Before leaving, she threw me the keys and told me I was driving… I paused a little, knowing that I have never had the experience driving on faster roads before, which sounds ridiculous, but I just never needed to until coming here. Kam trusted me anyway, even in the old suburban. Sure enough, it wasn’t that big of a deal and we got where we needed to go in one piece.


Working with Sondes

While I have worked with water quality instruments in the past, the sondes we use at HFF are amazingly intricate and take a lot of work to go out and get data from. With staff that specialize in water quality and Amber, I went out to learn how to load data onto our computers. It was a lot of fun scrambling on the rocks and learning about how to handle the equipment. I’m looking forward to helping with building and installing the hardware to make our system more wireless and accessible for people who are interested in live temperature, dissolved oxygen, and chlorophyll measurements.


Visiting Jackson

One of my favorite things about living in Ashton is that we are relatively close to some awesome destinations. Bella and I used our day off on Friday to take a trip to Jackson to go hiking and check out the town. On our way, we stopped by the Driggs farmers market where I basically fell in love—homemade bread, ceramics, and delicious looking honey, I had to resist from buying from everyone’s tent! In Jackson, we realized that even though it was rather touristy, we could still enjoy the area. We stopped at Persephone, a place Bella’s friend recommended, and walked around town.


Cliff Jumping

Shortly after our day trip, I met with my family the following week when I had time off around the Fourth of July. We stayed at a ranch and had gorgeous views every morning and evening while we sat outside eating meals. More importantly in my opinion though, every day we hiked the iconic trails in the Teton National Park. Even though sometimes it felt like crawling up never-ending mountainside, it felt so good to be outside with my family and take in the fantastic views between breaks. I was even able to convince my parents to jump off the classic rock at Phelps lake, and maybe let out a scream before hitting the frigid water. We don't talk about that.


I can't wait to see what other firsts are in store for the rest of the summer!