Onward & downward!

We made pretty good progress at Walakpa this week.  This, despite a few challenges.

On Tuesday, we had a really small crew, due to a variety of circumstances.  Only Trina, Mary Beth & I made it out.  It was quite a cold day, with  ice on the puddles when we got to Walakpa (or Monument).

Ice on a tundra pond.

Ice on a tundra pond.

We decided to leave the screening for another day and just excavate.  It was cold enough that we actually took advantage of the removable floor in the Arctic Oven tent on site and used the Coleman stove inside, but on the ground.

The Arctic Oven on a cold day

The Arctic Oven on a cold day

The next morning, we had a bigger crew, but there was snow on the ground when we set off.

Snow on the tundra, seen across Middle Salt Lagoon.

Snow on the tundra, seen across Middle Salt Lagoon.

We were not expecting to have a great day, but in fact it was warmer than the day before (no ice), and we started getting down to what seems to be structural wood from the house roof, so that was fairly satisfying.  We got a lot of water screening done, as well.  The beach had really stabilized, so we were able to go the whole way on hard sand, and even most of the lagoons had closed up, with sandbars across the entrances that we could just drive across.  The commute to the site was much quicker.

Thursday did not go well.  We headed  out, only to find that for some reason, the waves were really coming up the beach and running into the lagoons, so that we  were not able to get across the stream by the gravel pit.  We went around and through the gravel pit, but then could not get across the stream by Nunavak.  We did see a polar bear in the water near a dead walrus).  I decided we should try to go around, since it was otherwise a nice day & I hated to lose it, but we didn’t have any extra gas along, and by the time we were half-way around, even cutting across country rather than following the shoreline, it was clear that some of the Polaris’s are sort of gas hogs.  So back we went to the road, with only one minor mishap when the Tubby trailer bounced into a very wet low-centered polygon and dragged the ATV half-way in.  I got my feet wet getting it unstuck, but we still went back down to the beach so that David Pettibone could get a picture of the bear, still in the water, from a safe distance.

Today, despite no major change in wind strength or direction, was very different.  The beach was back to Wednesday’s shape, and we got to the site easily.  It was quite sunny in the morning, and we got right to work.  We had six people, so we started with 4 excavating and 2 screening.

View from the south end of the trench, where I was digging.  L to R:  Mary Beth Timm, JoAnn Akootchook and Michael Berger.

View from the south end of the trench, where I was digging. Pretty well maxed out.      L to R: Mary Beth Timm, JoAnn Akootchook and Michael Berger.

I played around with my iPad mini for taking pictures to supplement field notes & drawings.  I don’t draw all that well, and used to take Polaroids and draw on them, but that technology is gone and wasn’t that stable anyway.  I’ve use a couple of programs to annotate lab photos, but this was the first time I tried it in the field.  I used iAnnotate PDF, which lets you put sound files on the image, associated with notes or drawings.  They open fine in Acrobat.  This will be quite handy.

 

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2 responses to “Onward & downward!

  1. Wish I was there to help, but old age no heart and bad lungs do not make a good helper. Than you for taking me along with you as you work.

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