A hike with Jack Laws is never boring. I thought I was going to fail my first big test as a major naturalist. After a brief lunch stop, Jack and I continued up the trail on our way to the Dana Plateau. He stopped and picked up a piece of scat on the trail and we examined it for identification. He broke off a piece, considered it, and then popped it into his mouth, exclaiming, “Yes, it tastes like coyote.” He offered me a taste. Although I certainly wanted to appear like a dedicated naturalist, I was not going to eat scat, even in the pursuit of scientific inquiry. After a few moments, he revealed the scat to be, indeed, chocolate.
In spite of the tense moment around feces, we had a delightful day. We watched for an hour a pika scamper around the rocks, fetching stalks of lupine. I also got prime viewing on the formation of a thunderstorm, anvil cloud and all. Once the thunder began, however, I had to give up my prime seat and head down to a safer area.