Teaming up with pepitologists
Updated: Dec 14, 2019
It's always good to have friends. As a scientist you are also used to the fact that some friends are a bit different. Its part of it, somehow.
It's also always a bit unfortunate when you hike alone into the mountains to collect samples, so why not with some new friends who do as strange things in the mountains as you do. Okay, deal! On to Lescun, where a team from Mat Fisher's Lab set up the annual base camp. How to find the accommodation? No biggie, as a big, radiant blue SUV Barbarian is parked in front of it…. with a corrosive sticker on it.....
4 friends found and off we go to today's sampling point (= mountain lake) 3 hiking hours away (no, the cooler did not contain beer, that's a myth).
Tired from a first hike the day before, getting up there was tough, so the reward of the fantastic panorama was welcome.
Arriving at the lake it turned out that these new friends were not herpetologist, but pepitologists! How, what? Pepitologists? Yup, pepitologists. People who wash away small protein molecules from the skin of amphibians and then examine them in the laboratory for their anti-whatever properties. The pepitologist is only happy when it foams in his sample bags. The herpetologist would have been happy just by observing the amphibians found. That is the difference between a herpetologist and a pepitologist....
After 3 days of hiking and sampling, a secret cave tour followed, as gifts enliven and sustain friendships. It was also THE opportunity to get really dirty in the name of science. As it was a somewhat hidden cave and it was already night the finding of the entrance took a little longer.... but then nothing like to go in and crawl on knees and hands through the narrow corridors. A fun for young (the others) and old (me). Until we all looked like kindergarden kids in a mud hole and the rubber boots got stuck! With brute force the boots were freed and ...
... with shining eyes we all went to bed for an early start the next day. It was another hot day and water stress in the Pyrenees was very obvious (see next blog entry).
And the pepitologists, after such excitements had a nap early afternoon (and mind the exquisite hiking shoes of pepitologists).