Back in September, I wrote about the tendency for projects to get rushed through in the fall, before either winter snow blocks off access to project areas, or winter rain makes it impractical to slog through the mud to get to locations or dig in them.
Then, last month, I wrote about how one of these fall rush projects had become a "freezing-your-ass-off-during-the-winter project" in which we broke shovels while trying to dig through frozen ground in an attempt to ward off frostbite. At that time, I had believed that once we had completed what work we could, we would be done until spring thawed the ground and melted the ice off of the roads, and then we would return along with the warmer weather to finish the job.
Oh, was I naive.
See, our client really needs this project done ASAP, though I am at this point not exactly clear on why anymore. So, Tuesday afternoon - what was supposed to be a day off - I was contacted by the client and my boss and asked to put together a crew to head out Wednesday morning. I busted ass, calling everyone I could think of, finally managing to pull a crew together, arrange for a vehicle, and get lodging for the crew by Tuesday night.
So, on Wednesday morning, we all met at the office, headed to the storage unit to get our field equipment, and headed out. We arrived in the field late morning, and were a bit surprised. We had, based on both weather reports and on previous experience in this location, expected to be very cold, and expected to encounter frozen soil that we would have to chunk out with breaker bars and chisels. Much to our surprise and delight, we found that the weather was actually warm. We quickly discarded our heavy coats and wool hats, and within 45 minutes were down to our t-shirts. Moreover, the ground had thawed a bit, and digging and screening were both absurdly easy. We completed a site in a few hours, giving us time to scout some of the roads that had been blocked by ice and snow a few weeks earlier. We found that all but one of these roads, while still frozen over in parts, were passable.
So, I am looking forward to getting this project our of the way. We have two more sites that we can get to. Both of them are in areas which are likely to still be frozen, so I don't think that the next couple of days will be as easy as today...but they will be easier than they were.
And then, we finished up our project, and came to our hotel. None of us had stayed in this hotel before. It appears to have been an old hunting lodge converted to a hotel. There are motor homes parked all about it, every one of them apparently having been here for quite some time. The lower room of the hotel, a true common room, is open 24 hours for whoever wishes to use it. It has a piano, numerous couches, several shelves of ratty paperbacks, a moose head mounted to the wall, a nude photo of Marylin Monroe on another wall, and a mannequin dressed in a short sundress sitting atop the piano. Wandering about the hotel grounds is the pet sheep - yes, you read that correctly - which, despite being a sheep, behaves as if it were a dog (replacing the barking with "baa"-ing).
The hotel rooms, however, are rather nice, and this is a pleasant enough hotel...if a bit odd.
Anyway, the rush to get this done this week has again disrupted my attempt to write entries on a regular schedule. However, I will try to load some photos of this place by early next week...it really does need ot be seen to be believed.