The. Best. Day. Ever.

Matt is off with the water quality girls today to Talkeetna. It’s a long drive and Jana and Sophie need to complete the water quality on at least three lakes while they’re up there. Matt is going because he needs some live fish from Trouble Lake which is, as the name suggests, rather difficult to get into and out of.

Meanwhile, the four of us remaining (Lauren, Anna, Jeff, and me) got up early so that we could begin the Best Day Ever. Anna and Jeff brought me to the lab and taught me how to “make babies.” This involves getting a lot of fish ready to reproduce from the holding tanks in the mosquito-ridden year, bringing them across the street to the into lab where we work, anesthetizing them, then swirling female’s eggs and male’s testes together in Petri dishes full of embryo medium. (The more technical way of saying this is that they taught me how to make “crosses” between stickleback.)

After this, we all piled into Sean Connery, and set off for adventure. I learned the real words to Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” (Hold me closer, Tony Danza…), climbed a really big butt – er, BUTTE, solved an earthquake and watched another hit right next to where Matt and the girls were in Talkeetna, and generally had fun running around the backwoods of Alaska with my friends.

The following might explain better:

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The last story of the best day ever is about the Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer. Lauren saw it on a map and thought we should visit because she lives in Washington state and thought it’d be neat to have one of the tsunami warning stickers that she sees all over the Puget Sound. So we found the building and dropped in for awhile. The people who worked there weren’t giving tours that day, but once they found out we were a bunch of student biologists they gave us an incredible hour-long informal tour that included us getting to use their Early Bird Warning System to “solve” an earthquake! And while we were standing there, a whole bunch of alarms went off and we saw an earthquake happen in Talkeetna where Matt and Sophie and Jana were. (It was only a 2 point something so they didn’t even feel it, but still!) They were also fascinated by what we do and came out to the car with us to see the fish and talk to us some more. It was a pretty extraordinary experience and not one any of us is likely to forget soon.