We just completed the terrestrial lidar scan of both forks of Crescent Stream today. This was a three day process, thus my three day hiatus from writing. This part of the project took much more time and effort than I had expected. The scanning is the easy part. The engineer just pushes a couple of buttons on his computer and let's the equipment do the work. The set up is the difficult part. There is a huge amount of equipment that has to be moved around from site to site. The hiking is in loose sand, and this stuff is not light. Here is a photo of the scanner. Oh, also I learned today that these things retail at $250,000.
We were out there all day for the past three days in the bad weather that still hasn't left us alone. The engineer that came out to do the TLS is frustrated because he said his trips to the Dry Valleys usually are his favorite in terms of weather when he comes down. This has not been the case for the past week. The past three days have been windy, snowy, and below freezing. The temperatures really aren't anything unbearable, but the wind and the snow make it tough to work outside all day. The weather did however make some great looking clouds over the Commonwealth Glacier.
The weather hasn't just been annoying for outdoor work, it has really jacked up the helicopter schedule. I was supposed to fly into town tomorrow to process some sediment samples at the lab, but I just got an email from the helicopter coordinator telling us that we won't be flying. This isn't a huge deal for me, but I was looking forward to going into town to get a shower, and there is a rockin' party that I unfortunately will have to miss. Oh yeah, and I won't be able to process those samples... shoot.
We have not had any solar energy for about three days now, and are running off of the generator. This should last us a while, but hopefully the sun comes out again soon for the sake of our energy situation, the helicopters, and our sanity. Here is what it has looked like the past couple of days.
One of the groups here was supposed to leave F6 today. This was the group in the big tent out in our front yard. They tore down their big tent to get ready to head out, then of course, there was no flight. They proved a basic Dry Valleys law today, and I am surprised that these veterans made this rookie mistake. If you have a flight scheduled, and you take your tent down more than an hour before your helicopter arrives your flight will be canceled. This means that F6 is extra cozy until we can all get flights.
To be honest all of the extra commotion and stress is pretty exciting. Others may disagree, but you just have to make the best of whatever this place throws at you. Here is a random picture of me pretending to work that the professor from BYU sent me.