Painted Desert

Painted Desert

Sunday, June 27, 2010

From the field!

A bear! We saw this bear crossing the slide yesterday, a little ways downslope from us. It's only the second bear I've seen in the wild. It was just loping, not really running, across the slide but it was still very fast. Of course, I have heard that bears are fast, but it's different seeing it. Nice how the camera got the tree in focus but not the bear, huh?

Yesterday was spent ferrying gear to the top of the mountain on the ATVs. The main thing to bring up was a piece of equipment in a box 9 feet long. To anyone driving by while we were loading the ATV I'm sure it looked like we were getting ready to bury someone (on Forest Service land). It was a difficult thing to figure out how to strap on.

By the time we got up to the top, the giant box had been turned parallel to the trail to allow it to get through the forested sections...

I was not driving this ATV; that was left to my fellow intern, who has way more experience than I do. My ATV was lightly loaded by comparison:

But was still difficult to get up the steep sections. On my second trip up, I took a picture of the guys working on the top... our landslide team as well as some local contractors and a scientist from Italy (who brought that giant box over on the plane):

That sheer cliff below them is the scarp or headwall of the landslide, which formed when the material first dropped away from the rest of the mountain.

Here is an interesting thing. Apparently, tetherballs reflect lasers really well, leading to the use of the below as survey equipment:

It's difficult to see what's going on in the picture below:

so I shall explain it: the ground at the top is sliding downhill into the flat area, where it is being coated with fine sediments when water comes through. It is then sliding *uphill* toward my position before it joins the rest of slide (which is mostly moving downhill, as the laws of physics usually require).

The weather hasn't been that great so far, this trip... rain, hail, lightning... and it's sometimes been quite cold, maybe 50 (and pouring) around noon today, which I didn't really pack for. I have rain gear, just not the usual wool and stuff I'd wear under it in the cold. The weather was more dramatic than sunshine, anyway... weather is always interesting to watch in the mountains. Here, some pictures of the slide taken during a storm:

...and a video taken while walking on the slide, to give you a better sense of what it feels like to be there:

I also have a video of hail falling on us during a storm. In this you will see my coworker, who had forgotten his rain jacket and only had rain pants. Please turn your sound on to fully experience this video.

And that's it, for now. I don't know that I'll have more time in the next week and a half to put up another post, but we'll see.

1 comment:

Mom said...

It sure does look like a coffin!

Love, Mom