Saturday, June 4, 2016

I'm still an archaeologist... sometimes

So besides my barista job at the coffee shop, I have another job. I write cultural resource reports for a friend/former co-worker/now boss who got a big-wig job. I get to write these little ditties at 3am if I choose, and clothing is not a requirement either. This all means, I work from home, remotely. Well, I actually got to do a little survey earlier this week for them. I haven't done any field work for well over a year. So when a writer of these reports or agency says a survey should be done before work can commence (hence writing the report in the first place), one of us remote writers gets to go play in the outdoors.

I got to go to Wishon Reservoir. Where's that, you say?
It's like driving to LA, only the destination is much prettier and a hell of a lot less people. Now way back in the day, I did this drive a lot. I think the last time I was in the southern sierra's was over 3 years ago when I got to play at the bottom of Shaver Lake. I've talked about the Sierra's quite a bit here on the blog. See here for one example. Well, I'm impressed I remembered how to get through Madera, and that my little putt putt made it up The Grade on Hwy 168. There are so many dead trees. So, so many. The drought and bark beetles have done a severe number on this forest. If a wildfire happens here this summer, it will be completely devastating. It will char this mountain to the core. So anyway, you drive up to Shaver Lake and then hang a right and head to Dinky Creek. I've been to Dinky Creek before, but have never actually been as far out as Wishon. The farthest I had been was Camp Fresno, and I thought as I drove past it, that from here on out will be new. What an adventure. And I saw little bits of snow still on the ground. Probably not there anymore, since we're in a heat wave. I think my ears actually screamed when they finally popped. Oh, the pressure release was amazeballs!

Well, I made it to the campground where I was going to camp. Pulled into a site I liked, and got the tent out. It took me a minute to remember how to set it up, but I got it. Man, I forgot about the bugs. I finished setting up camp, ate what constituted as my dinner at the picnic table and went straight back into my car because it was the only safe place from the Jurassic sized mosquitoes. I got bored waiting for the sun to set. So I bundled up (to keep the mosquitoes from draining me dry) and walked around a bit, but I mostly played games on the ipad.

my little campsite

if we weren't in a drought, this would all be water
So, I went to get in my tent for the night, and apparently I put it on the lovely home of the FIRE ANTS! My little tent was covered in them. Oh, hell no! So I didn't sleep in my tent. I slept in my car. It was very uncomfortable, and too hot because I couldn't roll the windows down for fear of Jurassic mosquitoes. Miserable night.

Woke up the next morning to sunshine and less mosquitoes. I ate breakfast (a crappy Starbucks frappacino thingy, applesauce, and a granola bar) and got ready to go find my survey location, a random distribution pole. Found it. Surveyed around it. Took lots of pictures of it. Was impressed that I remembered the names of the vegetation around it (trees, shrubs, and even wildflowers). I gave myself a pat on the back for that one. And I filled out my survey notes.
It was all done and over within 30 minutes. Well, shoot, now what? I'm all the way out here and it isn't even 9am. Well, I'll regret not seeing the reservoir. So I went over to the boat launch and stared at the water for a while.
Hello, Wishon
And so my little turn as archaeologist was over. But the adventure wasn't quite done yet. I got everything packed back up into my car, including the tent with FIRE ANTS, and started the drive back down the mountain. I had missed it on the way up, but drove passed this famed spot.
you have bars? no, you?
I do, if I stand on the truck.

I texted a good friend, not at this spot though, even today, my phone did not have any bars, and asked her if she wanted to have lunch. And so I turned little putt putt to Fresno. I rolled into her driveway just before noon. I got a tour of her awesome house. And spent a few hours with her and her awesome little human. Her husband, who was once upon a time, my work-husband, and in a round-about-way now I work for, had to be all responsible and go to some important work meeting thing or whatever and missed out on my presence. To bad for him. I got his wife and daughter all to myself.

I then drove the rest of the way home. Unpacked the car, including the tent with FIRE ANTS. I put the tent back up in the backyard. The hot trunk killed the FIRE ANTS (yea) and only carcasses remained (double yea). But I still needed to air out and dry the tent. I did laundry, showered, picked spinach for my sisters chickens, and uploaded my notes and pictures to the company server.

I sat around and thought, I still got this. I still know how to do this. That was fun. And oh man, did I have the best sleep in my comfy big girl bed that night!!

1 comment:

Evilyn said...

Awesome. I miss fieldwork but not 12 hours at 108 degrees. Can't wait to see you!