The Not Quite Adventures of a Professional Archaeologist and Aspiring Curmudgeon

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On Freezing One's Ass Off

So, the end-of-year fieldwork rush is finally concluding with a literal last-minute trip into the Sierra Nevadas.  I was notified this morning that I will be heading up tomorrow morning to lead a crew doing boundary testing at several sites in the Sequoia National Forest.  I may only be gone two days, or I may be going back up again on Monday, depending on weather. 

This is not the best time of year to be doing Sierra Nevada fieldwork.  There is the ever-present chance of snow, closed roads, and associated logistics problems.  There is the fact that many facilities available during the warmer months are closed in December.  And then there's the cold.

The damn cold.

The weather report states that we will have high temperatures below freezing while we are out there.  Below fucking freezing.  Yeah, some smart-ass archaeologist from Wisconsin is reading this and laughing at my wimpiness, but they can go screw themselves.  It's cold in the Sierra Nevada, in December, at 8,000 feet.  Not good fieldwork conditions.

The last time that I worked int he Sierras in the Fall, and this was mid-October, not nearly as cold as it's going to be, it looked like this:

However, our client, for various reasons, needs this project taken care of ASAP, and as cold as it will be, we're not looking at snow in the next couple of days, so the roads should stay open.  We would have done it sooner, but the federal agency with which we are working is constrained by consultation requirements with Native American groups, who are in turn constrained by political realities within those groups, all of which led to us being delayed by a couple of months.  So, it's off to the frozen highlands with us.  Yipee!

I'm not sure how much writing I am going to be able to get done over the next week, so it may be fallow here for a bit.

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