Today we ended Phase Two of the project and began Phase Three. It started out bright and sunny, but by mid-morning the thunderheads had built up and by mid-afternoon we had been getting rain for a while. Dirk launched about 2PM from Coldfoot to come get us with his Beaver, now on tundra tires instead of skis, bringing John Sebert with him to deploy some GPS base stations. They showed up at our strip about 5:30PM, and we loaded up to set up another base station further up the valley before heading back to Kaktovik.
The packraft deployed on the Jago River.
Using the paddle as part of the bracket saves having to carry something extra.
Turner: “Well having three laptops going in the back of Beaver kind of spoils my wilderness experience…”
Turner likes being part of the conversation…
At least in between political satire cartoons. (And speaking of politics, in case any lawyers from UAF or NSF have nothing better to do than to try to get me fired for having Turner on the plane, this flight was not paid for by either organization…).
Taking off in the Beaver.
A GPS base station complete with bear fence.
For us, this represented the transition from one phase of the project to the next. Now back in Kaktovik, we were suddenly in civilization again. No more sleeping bags, no more thinking about how much food or fuel we had left, no more heavy packs, no more studying the earth in person. By evening I had told the story of our research to 10 different people and it wasn’t until 10PM that I had the opportunity to get a shower. Jason and Joey are still out there, continuing process studies and helping with lidar ground support. Jason had set up our instrument raft in the morning while I collected GPS ground control points. The mountains that were our home are now just outlines on the horizon, often obscured by clouds, and the tundra is just a memory. Our studies now are airborne – using a laser to measure the shape of the land, so that later we can better understand how the shape of the land has changed. As gadget geek, I’m excited to have gotten this lidar work funded and be a part of it now, but I already miss the simplicity and focus of field work and the beauty of our study area.
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Tuesday, 01 July 2008 04:58
Day 70: Phase Two of the project endsWritten by Matt Nolan
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