#113 10 Days of Archaeology: Day 7

This was the last full day of survey and it was challenging.  We started the day with a nearly 1000 foot elevation gain in less than half a mile.  It only got worse from there.  We had to contour around several large hills for most of the day.

The weather kept us on our toes today.  In typical Great Basin fashion it went from the low 60s to the low 90s to the low 50s.  Tomorrow should be about 30-35 degrees F when we start work.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the cold!  I would much rather survey while freezing my ass off rather than be super hot and trudging up hills.

Enough about the weather...My crew is pretty great.  I’ve got one of our project managers on my crew and another kid who’s been doing this for about a year but learns quickly.  We don’t even really need to discuss what to do when we get to a site.  Everyone knows their responsibilities and they just go to work.  The same thing happens when we record a feature.  We all just do our jobs and move on.  I’ve been so impressed with the crew this rotation that I treated them to slushies at the gas station on the way back to the hotel today.  It’s not much but it’s still a small token of appreciation.  We’d have gone out for beers but everyone was pretty wiped out.

Since we are leaving tomorrow to go home, tonight was spent packing.  I usually remove all the little plastic signs, the coffee maker, the phone, and the ice bucket and put them out of the way when I get to a hotel.  I also unplug and move the alarm clock.  The set up has to be to my liking or I won’t feel at “home” as much as that is possible.  I feel that it’s only courteous to the staff that I put all that back when I’m ready to leave.  The only thing I don’t put back is the comforter sitting in the corner of the room.  I touch that as little as possible.

I tried out a new piece of gear this session and now I’m ready to talk about it.  When we are camping we typically don’t get regular showers.  As a consequence, your sleeping bag can get a bit nasty.  Since sleeping bags are difficult to wash properly I searched around for a solution and I think I’ve found it.  The gear I bought at REI was a Cocoon Cool-Max Travel Sheet.  It’s in the sleeping bag liner section and cost about $45.  There are many types and price points for this type of gear and I went with something simple to start.

On the packaging for the “travel sheet” it suggested using it in hotel rooms so you don’t have to break out the black light on your sheets.  I tried it and loved it.  It’s very stretchy, thin, and warm all at the same time.  I didn’t even use the hotel blankets.  I think this is going to work really well in my sleeping bag, too.  I might just use the travel sheet instead of a sleeping bag when it gets really warm.  Of course, nights in the high desert are typically cold no matter what time of year it is.

So, onto the packing.  It’s been a great session.  I’ve had a good time with my awesome crew and we recorded many features and sites.

Come back tomorrow for Day 8, the half day and drive home.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the field.