My time in Nevada is over halfway up as I have officially completed my 4th 10 day work week. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been here for over 2 months now, it feels like I’ve been here forever and that I’ve just gotten here at the same time. The whole field crew knows that the season is coming to a close because we only have 5 more scheduled days of bird surveys and we have moved out of our field house in Moapa. Now our weekends will be spent in hotels in Sparks-Reno. I never really understood why people would go stay at a hotel and not go out and explore the town until now. The hotel room has essentially become my home, poorly equipped as there is no kitchen or fridge so I have to eat out a lot but it’s the only place I have to stay. I’m not complaining considering that I’m constantly camping and sleeping in the back seat of the truck I drive around during the week so having a bed and access to a shower is pretty awesome.
Monthly Archives: June 2014
We’re halfway through this crazy whirlwind here in Nevada and the saying “never a dull moment” has never been more true as we reach this halfway mark.
The week started out with me visiting what feels like a second home, my blackbrush area search down by Pahrump, but after that I was on a 5 hour drive along highway 160, the 95 North and then highway 50 to my brand new sagebrush area search. It’s pretty cool out there, lots of sparrows and thrashers of many sorts. It might take me a while to figure out what’s going on there but I’m sure I’ll figure it all out eventually. After that area search, it was a 3 hour drive to camp at our next transect in the Pine nuts. The second transect in the Pine Nuts is when things started to get really interesting. Our second transect was directly up the side of a steep mountain. It was actually steep enough that our boss assigned us both to the same transect and told us to split it. I took the first 6 points and Katie took the last 4. My first 3 points weren’t bad but after that for every step up I took I slid down two steps purely because the soil was so loose and there were a couple of times where I was just hoping that I wouldn’t fall down the side of the mountain and hurt myself. My bad knee did start to ache but that was the extent of it and I made it back down to the truck alright. Katie however after a 1.2 km hike up the mountain side encountered some bears and had quite the exhausting time finishing up her part of the survey. Once we were done, we collected some rocks that we needed to fill a hole in the road on the way to Katie’s area search and headed to Fallon to meet our boss to get some maps from her.
We met at a place called the Daily Grind, the food isn’t all that great but the drinks, I have never had such a delicious chocolate milkshake in my life. It was absolutely amazing. We got our paperwork and then headed to Katie’s area search to fill in the hole with the rocks. Turns out we went to camp Green Lake instead, well camp Green Lake before the curse the Zeronis put on the Yelnats multiple generations ago was lifted and the boys would dig holes 5 feet deep and 5 feet wide every single day because it builds character. You know like the book Holes? We got the truck stuck in a different hole and we spent a good 5 hours trying to dig it out. Turns out the wheels weren’t even spinning and we had to call our boss to come and rescue us the next day. Turns out if you put the car into 4-low (you shift the gear shift into neutral and then you can shift into that gear which we did not know) the truck would’ve backed right out no problem as shown by our boss. We then discovered that our tire issue that had been ongoing since the beginning of the quest (there was no cap on where you fill the tire with air so it was leaking out, we replaced it but still the tire pressure dropped every now and then) was actually a nail in the tire and we were able to get that patched up. Our boss joined us for dinner at this delicious place called the Owl Post. Massive and delicious burgers, I was stunned that I finished all the food on my plate but the stress of the truck being stuck for the past 24 hours had my appetite all worked up.
The next day was exciting because that afternoon we were joined by our colleague Zoey. We hadn’t seen her much since the weekend and never in the field so it was nice to hang out with her. We went out for pizza at Sloppy Joe’s because we had the local scoop that the good chef was in that night for pizza. The pizza’s took a while but the variety of milkshakes they had was amazing. I as also able to catch the 2nd and 3rd period of the hockey game which was nice to watch. Turns out that when I’m not constantly surrounded by hockey news as I am at home, I seem kind of like a hockey fan as I’m always trying to find out the score, I know when the next game is and what the series is at. We also spent a great deal of the next day there just drinking milkshakes, chatting and making plans for our trip to Flagstaff this coming weekend.
One 5 hour drive later and I was back at my blackbrush area search one last time. Even though I was up super early (I was in the field by 4:45 waiting for these birds) I didn’t get too many but it’s alright because I was excited to get back to the house. So for 9 days I was out in the field, had dug in the dirt, been eaten by mosquitoes and gnats, the one thing that was missing was a shower. For anyone going camping for an extended period of time without a shower, two words for you: baby wipes. Sure they’re not much but it’s nice to have a moist cool cloth remove a layer of dirt off of your skin at the end of the day. You end up feeling a little bit more clean than you otherwise would, but there’s nothing you can do for your hair except put it in a buff and hide it until you can wash it out.
It’s really nice to be back in the house, heading out on my first weekend adventure to Flagstaff, AZ with a couple of the girls until Saturday afternoon!
Until next time,