It's hot out, or so I hear on Facebook. Being in the south has its advantages like required AC in all buildings. You could say that if I didn't wear a bra today, I'd have been nipping out all day because it's so cold in here. You know, if I didn't wear a bra. Which I did.
I was recently asked by Justin to post more pictures of myself pointing at rocks. I'm not pointing in these pictures, but I'm out among the rocks. These are from my second trip out to the Highland Range to collect rock samples for my research. It's public land, so you can go any where on it and not be trespassing. It takes twenty minutes on a dirt path to get from the road to here. I am in southern Nevada, near a small town of Searchlight, home to Harry Reed, Senate Majority Leader. The Tea Partiers, about 6,000, came to protest in Searchlight. Literally, (and I literally mean this in the literal sense of the word), there are 2 gas stations and a diner/casino called the Nugget in Searchlight. That's it. I like it like that. Who needs more stuff when you've got mountains like this?
As for my gear, you will see I have a homemade mapboard. This is a culmination of map board knowledge gained from both CMU and Vanderbilt. CMU taught me to put a strap on the board, I chose braided polar fleece, and Vanderbilt taught me how to make them myself out of plexi glass and duct tape. MAP. Do not ever forget your map. It's the second most important thing I have on me. It is a topomap that I fought tooth and nail to get. It came off of a topomapping cd that was made in 1995. I was forced to run it on my WindowsXP, and it barely worked. Barely. Tucked into my chest strap is my most important tool, the Field Notebook. It's a Write-in-the-Rain, only the best all weather notebook made. If you use pencil, and then drop it in a river while crossing a fallen log and it floats away until it gets stuck on a rock, with the open pages facing upstream, it will still work perfectly fine once you fish it out. The pencil won't smudge at all and all of the water squeezes out pretty quick. Attached to the chest strap is my clicky pencil for notes, my camera in a bag, two different sweet knives, and my Loupe (rock magnefying glass). You don't see it, but tucked into the back strap of my backpack is my rock hammer, and in my backpack is a poncho, two nalgenes of water, lunch, perminant markers, ziplock bags for samples, and rock samples themself.
Now you are ready to go. Grab your favorite professor and start walking. The higher you climb, the better your lunch will be and a greater chance there will be a breeze. The light colored rocks near the bottom of the hill are tuffs and the darker rock above is a rhyolite. I prefer long pants because it keeps the spiders and other small bugs off. Calvin, does not worry about the wild life in the desert. Army pants are also superior due to the large leg pockets. Oh, when you are out there, walk perpendicular (at right angles) to the rock contacts. For example, where the white rock turns dark is a contact. I would want to walk vertically up that hill and take notes and samples, not horizontally. You can assume the rock is the same if you were to go horizontally.
Finally, at the end of the day, climb down the mountain, look around you, and be happy where you are. Plus, you know that Calvin is going to cook you grilled lamb chops, broccoli and sweat potatoes over a fire when you get back. It will be the best food you have ever eaten. No matter what it is, after a day of hiking, it's the best food you've ever eaten. Even if the thought of eating lamb used to make you sick to your stomach. After dinner, you will be so tired you won't put up your tent, but will sleep on a cot under the stars, despite the fact that you saw a spider crawl on your pillow that morning, you can hear coyotes howling, and you are terrified of being abducted by aliens and you are unreasonably close to Area 51.
And that my friends is my virtual field work tour for you.