Wolf OR-7’s Journey in Photos From the Forest Floor

National Geographic Young Explorer Jay Simpson is part of the Wolf OR-7 Expedition, a 1,200-mile adventure in the tracks of a wolf. Using an estimated GPS track of the lone Wolf OR-7, the team will mountain-bike and hike across Oregon and Northern California. Their aim is to raise awareness of local strategies that make on-the-ground strides toward human and wolf coexistence in the region. Follow the full story at or

Items seen along the 1,200-mile dispersal route across Oregon and into Northern California.
Items seen along the 1,200-mile dispersal route across Oregon and into Northern California. (Photos by Jay Simpson)

During the days we spent walking Wolf OR-7’s dispersal route, I found myself endlessly fascinated watching the landscape transform. Some transitions were stark, like exiting a tree line as we rode out of Malheur National Forest into the open expanses of the Harney Basin, a flat and sparse landscape. Other transitions were gradual, only noticeable over the course of a week. I tried paying attention to the changes in our scenery by focusing on all the small things surrounding us.

Here is a chronological selection of photos from those items I picked up along the way:

FeathersYellow Bells (Fritillaria pudica) an edible plant of the Zumwalt Prairie.Dried flowersPine coneWolf Lichen, Letharia vulpinaPine StrobiliYoung Pine Needlesjay-simpson-journal-8Wild Strawberry, Fragaria virginianajay-simpson-journal-11Coyote scat, turned white by bacteriajay-simpson-journal-13LeafWolf Lichen, Letharia vulpinaPine needlesjay-simpson-journal-18Pine needlesWood tickYellowjacketObsidian fragment.22 shellTribulus terrestris, goathead thornjay-simpson-journal-25Dandelion, Taraxacum officinaleSmall Camas, Quamash, Camassia quamashBulbous Buttercup, Ranunculus bulbosusCollection of flowers within 5ftjay-simpson-journal-30jay-simpson-journal-31White Mule's Ears, Wyethia helianthoidesLeaves of Wild Strawberry, Fragaria virginianajay-simpson-journal-34jay-simpson-journal-35jay-simpson-journal-36jay-simpson-journal-37jay-simpson-journal-38jay-simpson-journal-39jay-simpson-journal-40Pine cone debrisjay-simpson-journal-42jay-simpson-journal-43Sugar Pine Cone, Pinus lambertianaOak leafjay-simpson-journal-46JuniperShogun casingMaple leafYellow Goatsbeard, Tragopogon dubiusYellow Goatsbeard, Tragopogon dubiusYellow Goatsbeard, Tragopogon dubiusLewis' Mock OrangeYellow Goatsbeard, Tragopogon dubiusIndian Paintbrush, Castilleja sp.Deer antlerFlowers all within 5 feet of each otherWestern columbine, Aquilegia formosajay-simpson-journal-59Holly leaves

(Photos by Jay Simpson)

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