Little Cottonwood Canyon

This year’s Evolution meeting was held at the Snowbird resort in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. This year, I was fortunate enough to attend this meeting and present a talk on the correlation (or lack thereof) of boldness behaviors and swimming behavior in an open field. Of course, while meetings are great for presenting research from the lab, they’re also great for learning about other research and meeting people and making connections. This was my first trip to the Salt Lake City area, and despite staying at a hotel down in the valley, I really didn’t get a chance to explore the city or any of the surrounding area outside of Little Cottonwood Canyon. Nevertheless, I had a great time and really enjoyed this conference.

Evolution is generally held on the third weekend of June each year. This year, the meeting began on Friday, June 21 and ran through Tuesday, June 25. Barrie, Matthieu, and I drove down Friday morning, leaving here at 6 am and arriving at Snowbird right around 6 pm, just in time to catch the opening reception. Saturday and Sunday were full of talks, including my own talk on Saturday morning. I was so busy that I didn’t really have time to get out and explore. Luckily, they scheduled a half-day on Monday, giving us the afternoon off just for that purpose. I originally planned to hike from Alta over to Catherine Lake, but the road to the trailhead was closed. So instead, a group of us went up the tram and hiked from Hidden Peak over to Mt. Baldy, a short one-mile hike that descends 300 feet and then rises 400, both summits up around 11,000 feet in elevation. Unfortunately, Monday was the only day we had ovecast skies and rain. We managed to make it back to the tram before the storm really hit the mountain, but some others weren’t so lucky. A few hikers from LSU got stranded on the mountain when the tram closed early and had to hike back down in the storm. By Tuesday, I was fully exhausted, and after sitting through a morning of Quantitative Genetics sessions, I decided to take the afternoon off and ride the tram again to see the views in the sunshine. In fact, it was a great way to unwind before the final banquet. 

Conferences like these are exhausting. There were probably 2000 people in attendance and too many sessions to choose from. When picking out talks to see, there were often several I wanted to go to that overlapped at the same time. And it’s also easy to overload your schedule, which keeps you constantly on the move. By the second day, I had cut out all talks at the other building so that I wouldn’t have to keep walking back and forth. I also gave myself some breaks throughout the day. But even with this tactic, it’s still easy to become overwhelmed. In some ways, small meetings are nicer because there is only one talk session at a time and everyone is at it. On the other hand, there are lots of great opportunities to meet people and network. I’m exhausted, but I had a great time, and I’m looking forward to next year in Raleigh, North Carolina.