• Patrick Stoll

Coronavirus Retreats

Updated: May 7

One day I will hopefully look back on this time and think of it as just a distant memory. In the meantime, as April came around, it was clear I needed to get out of town to take my mind off the whole coronavirus thing. I decided to start with an overnight trip to Arrowrock Reservoir northeast of Boise. I was hoping to take advantage of the full moon on the 8th.


I usually like to be out one or two days before the full moon while there is still a little light from the setting sun. In this case, things didn't working out quite as I had hoped. I didn't leave town until late on the 7th. By the time I arrived at a decent camping location, I realized that the nearby peaks would obscure the moon until well after the official moonrise time. To make matters worse, some high clouds had moved into the area. I decided to give it a try anyway. In the end, it turned out that the clouds added a nice touch of atmosphere.



A couple of days later, my wife and I were talking about our plans for Easter. Traditionally, we have a picnic along the Snake River at Celebration Park (south of Melba). We typically follow up with a hike to nearby Halverson Lake. This year the weather forecast made it clear the Sunday would not be a nice day so we decided to have our picnic and hike two days earlier. As it turned out, we were not the only ones with this idea. Despite the Governor's stay home order, the place was packed. People were fishing all along the river and the shore of Halverson Lake.



As I was making the above photo, I noticed something yellow on the side of the large boulder in the foreground. At first I thought it might be a piece of trash lodged in a crack. I decided to take a closer look.



On closer inspection, I realized it was a dandelion growing from a small pocket in the side of the rock.



One thing I found particularly serendipitous about the rock (and all the other boulders we had passed on our hike to the lake) was the presence of many different lichens. Earlier this year I had enrolled in a program to become a certified Master Naturalist. The program involved 2 3-hour training sessions each week. Each session involved a particular natural history topic. The day before our picnic and hike, the session was on lichens. Serendipitous because I was able to identify the various types of lichens (crustose in this case) we observed that day!

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