Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Back to Work

It has been a slow struggle getting back into the work groove, especially with this tighter beltline.  I don't doubt this is a slow week of work for most of you as well.  The fun of Thanksgiving is officially over, so I am struggling finding anything to write about.  Instead of fun hikes and cool pictures I'll just have to inform you with the day to day activities that constitute our "work" (it is a bit of a stretch to call this experience "work").

This week we have been back at F6 getting things done in the Fryxell Basin.  We have been checking boxes to make sure the electronics are working properly, and to check the nitrogen systems for leaks.  The electronics have been solid with one exception, but the nitrogen systems have been giving us the most trouble.  We are using old tanks that have seen their fair share of seasons and regulators that have some pretty rough threads.  Not to mention there is sand that is blown everywhere that gets into the threads.  This combo makes for plenty of leaks that are nearly impossible to detect.  As a result a couple of our systems were drained of nitrogen over the week, and now need to be replaced.  We ran out of spare tanks so we are waiting to get them from town, along with a new satellite phone, some food, and miscellaneous supplies.

We have also been surveying the elevations of our control structures, and orifice locations.  We have known established benchmark elevations at every stream gauge (bolts in large rocks), and we reference the other elevations to these to ensure the ground isn't shifting and changing the elevation of our instrumentation.  All of this takes quite a bit of time at each gauging station and it involves a lot of standing around.  This is pretty brutal just because you can get cold pretty quick, but the weather has been insanely nice the past couple of days.  It has been in the mid 30s (Fahrenheit) with minor winds.  I don't know how long this weather is going to keep up, but I am not complaining.

I took this before going to bed one night. I thought that we were going to get hit with a pretty good storm, but it cleared up and we woke up to another beautiful day.
The past couple of nights we had some free time around camp, which has been rare this season.  I  took a camp chair and my guitar to the leeward side of the hut and jammed.  I am admittedly pretty rusty right now just because I didn't play all fall with hunting, but I think I am picking it back up alright.  The hardest thing is the callouses on my fingertips that I have had for the past 10 years are gone.  Now I know why new people to guitar complain so much (Luke... haha just kidding bud!).  Anyways, it was a refreshing experience to have some alone time and just play to an empty valley in the warm sun.  I also went on my first run of the season last night.  It was pretty cold to start out, but I soon warmed up.  Running uphill in sand isn't quite as enjoyable as you might imagine, however when I turned around to come downhill it was a blast.  I hope the weather keeps up so I can run more often.

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