We quickly started loading pennies on to Grant's beetle and when his was able to go the twelve inches, we started to work on mine, but sadly, mine didn't move an inch! Soon, when mine STILL hadn't moved at all, we replaced it with another beetle, whose results were much more satisfactory. As soon as we put the second beetle down, he started running toward the edge of the paper like it was his job, and soon he was pulling six, then nine, then thirteen pennies! Grant and I were both happy with our data, and it was fun looking at how many times its own weight the beetle could pull. My particular beetle, whom we called Bingdoo II, could pull 16 times his weight! If I had the body of a beetle, myself being 95 pounds, I could pull over 1500 pounds! In addition to doing the bess beetle experiment, we also saw tons of other different insects, including so-called bird-eating spiders, and flesh-eating beetles! So if you ever pass by Missoula, remember to check out the Missoula Insectarium.
We had a really fun time at the Warrens. We arrived from Jackson Hole, and we stayed there for two days, both of which were full of spectacular and awesome activities and delicious dinners. My highlights were learning how to throw knife, use a lariat and ride a galloping horse bare back! Riding a horse was really fun, and while even being able to ride a camel and elephant in Dubai and Sri Lanka, I have to say, riding a horse is my favorite because you have so much control and can totally feel like a part of the horse.
Our hosts were Kevin and Amy who lived 7000 feet above sea level in Daniel, Wyoming. The Dad, Kevin, has four horses and is a horse shoer by profession and a real cowboy, where as Amy is a teacher and an expert dinner maker. They live on a relatively flat landscape but can see the Wind River Mountains in the distance and have a wide array of wildlife near them including wolves, pronghorn and lots of birds. The second day we were where there, we went on a beautiful hike around a sparkling glacial lake in the green lakes region. Guarding the lakes and towering above us were massive mountains that must have been there for millions of years! And then, when we were at the end of the trail, we all took a dip in the freezing water and almost froze to death before jumping on the hottest rocks we could find. Altogether, I was glad we went there. Thanks Kevin and Amy!
The landscape and animals of the West are simply outstanding! Big granite hills,next to rolling prairie hills, not to far from deserts, glaciers, mountains and the stone spires of the Black Hills, the West has it all. Also, it is surprising how unique the National Parks are. Badlands National Park has a lot so eroded rock formations and almost looks like a mini-desert. After the Badlands, we got to go on a cave tour at Wind Cave National Park. The park has 95% of all the box work formations in the world! Now that's pretty cool. Also we learned that this cave breathes. Literally. When the air pressure drops outside the cave, the cave "breathes" out to equalize the pressure, and when the air pressure increases outside, the cave "breathes" in. With the diversity of the landscape, the geography of the West is amazing, but the animals are awesome, too.
We saw a swift fox, an antlered white-tailed deer, a pale milk snake roadkill, and a bunny in the same minute! Also, we've seen bison, heard coyotes, owls and elk, and watched turkey vultures circle around Devil's Tower! An amazing trip so far.