Thursday, May 31, 2007

Seismic Refraction at the Wave Center

Again.. another really interesting read... not really.  Yesterday our Field Geophysics class went to the field behind the Wave Center again to try some seismic refractionSeismic
field techniques.  This involved laying down a line of around 60 geophones dug several inches into the earth with a pick ax over a line several hundred meters long.  We then dug holes at intervals over the line, put a metal plate on the ground and smashed it as hard as we could with a sledgehammer to produce seismic waves which were then recorded (or not recorded by Anne because I had to come back today with her husband to help her re-do all the shots).  In any case it was exhausting work digging the holes and it was 95 degrees out which made it super hot without any shade.  Oh... and I got poison oak all over my leg... yeah...


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Soap Creek Backbone Magnetotelluric Station Installation

What... you don't know what Magnetotellurics is?  ;).  It's basically the study of the deep earth using earth's natural electromagnetic field that is created through the earth's interactions with solar energy in the ionosphere.  These electric "tides" can be Auger
measured in the earth to look at the structures deep beneath the ground.  I have been hired on as an outside consultant to work with Adam Schultz this summer installing these stations around the country with my Indian counterpart Prasanta who is a post-doc from India visiting the school.  Today we went to Soap Creek to re-install the backbone magnetometers that Jan Baur had installed but had been pushed out of the ground by the rising water table over the winter.  To this extent we rented an auger which Adam seemed pretty pleased to drive.  We had to go through the OSU animal study center (cows) to get to the site.  It took the afternoon and everything went pretty well.  Prasanta knows much more than I about the discipline but I can tell I'm going to be the muscles behind the installations this summer.... yippie.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Tahkenitch Dunes & Three Mile Lake

Today after we left Shilo's Eleanor, Chris, and Toshi and I headed down 126 to south of Florence on the coast to the Tahkenitch dunes for a 7 mile hike.  Eleanor was in a little under the weather from last night but she decided to go along which I thought was great.  The hike took us over some dunes to the ocean where we walked down the beach for a few miles and took naps under the sun.  On the beach we Hodakfish
encountered the carcass of a huge fish that Hodak decided to lie down next to for a size comparison photo.  I also found tons of mole crabs (sand crab) on the beach.  I had not noticed them518614877_e52fbe79ef_b before but on this beach there seemed to be hundreds of them
scurrying about when water washed over them then quickly digging themselves back into the soft, wet sand when the wave passed.  A simple scoop of the hand of the sand would bring them out of hiding and if you're quick enough to grab one and wash it off it was cool to look at.  Check the photo. 
    After napping for a littel while and watching jeeps and 4x4's rally up and down the Hodaktoshi
beach (It's open to vehicles) we headed back inland to the freshwater Three-Mile Lake.  We walked around it a little, lost the trail and had to climb a steep slope up a dune to get back on the trail again.  There were numerous places to set up camp on the dunes which may be a possibility later this summer if we come down to the dunes for "Guys Weekend" which I'll be setting up soon.  The trail then winded through a large forest back to Toshi's car. 
    We then spent the rest of the afternoon driving up the coast back to Corvallis.  We stopped at Waldport for some seafood after the hike for dinner.  I ordered the Clam Chowder for 8$!!!, 6 oysters for 10$!, and a milkshake.  After realizing that everything was wayyyy over priced I was thankful that they completely forgot my oysters.  Even the "bowl" of chowder I got for 8 bucks was in a little styrofoam cup... not to pleased with the meal there or the prices... oh well.  Hopefully when my mom comes in a month we'll be able to stop at some cool seafood places on the coast for fresh oysters on the half shell!


Friday, May 25, 2007

Party in Rock Creek

This Memorial Day weekend our good friend Shilo decided it was time to throw a party at his parents farm in Deadwood, OR where he grew up.  It was called something like "party in Rock Creek".  The town of Deadwood is pretty much in the middle of nowhere in Oregon.  Even the guidebooks I have for hiking and backpacking list no hikes or anything spectacular in that area, yet I thought it was beautiful. 
    It took Eleanor, Toshi, Chris and I an hour to drive to his farm.  I was extremely hung over from a party at Eleanor and Anna's Friday night after kickball.  I don't know why I drank so much that night.  I guess it was just because I was destressing from the past few weeks.  I didn't even wake up until 1pm on Saturday and barely dragged myself together to hit the road with those guys.  On the way we stopped at a couple yard sales to buy some really eclectic stuff (didn't see anything that interested me though).  Right before we got to Toshi's I spotted a huge bald eagle out the window on a branch overlooking a river.  We all jumped out to go look at it but spooked it before we could get a great photo.
    When we got to Shilo's farm I was a bit freaked out at first because it appears like the kinda place people get murdered in movies in when they break down with their cars.  AarongoatEvery vehicle in the area had either an animal skull or doll head screwed into the hood or bumper.  There was a wierd Native American sweathouse in a field (which later I thought was really cool because Shilo's family has a strong connection with the Native American community there), a car graveyard down by the river with about 5 wrecks slowly sinking down into the earth, and a crazy amount of animals
running amuck.  There was a big sexually frustrated bull in a coral that kept bellowing his disgust at a younger bull put in there with him and there were two beautiful horses that shilo's family are trying to breed in the other coral.  There were also sheep running around the yard, goats up in the hills, and a cute baby goat that we passed around the party a bit who was only 2 months old so everyone could hold it and pet its soft fur.  Apparently the baby goat has a nervouse defect or something and has trouble finding it's balance.  I even heard shilo trying to pawn the goat off on Dennis to take it back to Corvallis as a pet!!
    At first I was a little wierded out by the amount of local older people showing up in ti-dye'd shirts but then I just got used to it.  It was definitely a local hippy party forCrawfish
sure.  Everyone brought dishes for the potluck and the food was consummed almost instantaneously.  There was a court for basketball and Eleanor also set up croquet.  I spent some time wandering around the farm checking out all the cool eclectic stuff in the yard and hunting for crawdads in the stream that circles it.  I guess that's the one cool thing about having a farm at the end of a road in the middle of nowhere... you can do anything you want with the place and who's gonna care??   I went around Rock Creek and gathered up a cupfull of huge crawdads to cook up and eat but decided not to when I couldn't find a proper way to steam them over the fire so I threw them back.
    After the food was devoured they opened up the barn doors, wheeled out some Band
huge speakers and a DJ with a laptop and a bunch of the locals with guitars, drums, and even a saxaphone (which Eleanor even played later in the night) held a jam sessions for several hours.  RobinSax
even joined in with her violin for a bit.  The jam session later turned into a dance party to electronica from the laptop while Shilo's best friend Jessie and I hung out by the big bonfire and cooked up some of his own farmed beef, and Elk that he had shot the year before.  I now believe that elk is my favorite type of meet.  It was sooo delicious, as was the fresh beef that he had raised on grains and hay. 
    At around 2am I decided I was pretty burnt out from everything and headed to the Shotgun
tent to watch a movie on my ipod and hit the sack.  I wasn't really drinking because of the night before at Eleanor's.  At about 4am Eleanor joined me in the tent and quickly passed out hammered next to me!  :).  In the morning we all woke up and departed for various places on the coast.  I lost my Reef Fanning sandles somewhere in the cleanup.  I assume somebody probably took them home by accident.  Oh well... guess I'll have to buy a new pair for the summer.  That pair was getting pretty worn anyway.   

Great party at Rock Creek!!!!


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Electromagnetic (EM) Geophysics

Doesn't that title just grab your attention...  haha.  Today my Field Geophysics class did some EM field work in the field behind the Wave Center where my roomate works. This involved simply walking a line with coils of wire that have an electric current passed through them.  This current would essentially reflect signals at a frequency out of phase with the transmitted signal from layers of earth of different resistivity (inverse of conductivity).   Doesn't that sound grand... Anyway, here's a picture. :)


Saturday, May 19, 2007

On the Coast with Brendan

Today Brendan and I drove south down the coast to Sunset Bay and Cape Arago to 506367335_e39e57c70b_b
hike along the shore in the state parks there.  It was a beautiful506369951_34a1609acd_b
day in the sun and I think Brendan really enjoyed getting out of CorVegas for the weekend.  We stopped at A&W for a burger before starting our hike because we were on empty stomaches.  The ocean was blasting the cliffs all day which made for some unbelievable pictures.  We also saw hundreds of Sea Lions 506370863_460b02bdfd_b
lying on the beaches and out on Simpson's Reef getting trashed by the surf.  We came upon really neat terraces of sedimentary rock506373141_4f597acd81_b
that were eroding around more resistant clusters of rock  in them leaving the land looking like something you'd see on another planet.  Check out the picture.  We ended up hiking a strange trail inland out to Cape Arago and then followed the Oregon Coast Trail along the shore back to the truck at Sunset Bay. 
    After Sunset Bay we drove to the Umpqua Sand dunes.  I can't wait to come back here in a month or two with my buddies from Corvallis for a weekend of ATV rentals and bbq's.   There are also shops for sandboarding, a new sport that is blowing up on 506345478_a0e23b1c6f_b
the coast and on sand dunes around the U.S.  There are actually boards made specifically for the sport with special slick coatings on the base to help them rocket down sand dunes faster.   We stopped at one store and heard about some local guy named Josh that throws 50' backflips in the dunes.  Crazy!  Anyway, Brendan and I506375957_8808d356fc_b
found a cool trail that took us over some of the largest sand dunes in the park.  We climbed up the first one and were amazed at the site from the top.  It really did look like we were suddenly in the middle of a vast desert.  We took off our shoes and started hiking over the dunes towards the sea but it was 8:15 already so we decided to head back so that we could leave before the gate was locked and we were stuck in the parking lot.   Before we left the dunes we got some funny videos of me cartwheeling down them and then climbing up the steep slopes.  We had a long 2 hour drive back to Corvallis from the coast and I don't plan on doing anything tonight besides writing this blog... :)


Kickball & Meribeth's Birthday

Last night 506404641_e13da5be0c_bwe played our usual kickball game that lasted way longer than we all thought.  Afterwards we headed over to Kristen Splinter's for her roomate Meribeth's 27th birthday bbq party.  A lot of people showed up and it was a great time.  We were even graced with the image of Mac Barr wearing the birthday girls' kitchen smock.  I had eaten an entire Summer Sausage at Kickball earlier in the evening and after a 6-pack of beer at Kristen's and a lot of heartburn I saw it again at 2am.... haha.  Looking forward to starting the Carnivore Club here on campus with Dave. 

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mt. Hood

Today I summited Mt. Hood, the highest point in Oregon at 11,240 feet.  My climbing partners were Matt, Jason, and Drew from CMRU and Justin Broderson from OSU.  It was a first summit for Drew, Justin, and I while Matt has been up several times before. 

We drove up late Saturday night to camp overnight in our vehicles in the Timberline Ski Area Parking lot.  We arrived to find ourselves nestled among news vans and search and rescue buses.  Apparently a team of 5 guys got themselves lost in a whiteout up on the mountain and called for help.  This news of course went across the country and caused all of our poor mothers to go into panic mode on Mothers Day of all times because we were also a party of 5 climbers!  At about midnight all of our pagers started to go off letting us know about a possible rescue mission on Mt. Hood which we conveniently were sitting directly under.  Luckily the Portland Search and Rescue Unit found the lost climbers and were able to pull them off the mountain in the middle of the night. 

We woke up at 2am to check the weather and see if we could start climbing.  It was 499256349_a0a89d7168_b
still a complete white out and we could barely see 20 feet outside499207500_bbdce9fdb5_b
the truck due to the strong winds and blowing snow so we decided to stay in the vehicles another 2 hours and get up at 4am and at least hike to the top of the Palmer Chair lift to check the weather.  When we got up the weather had not changed but as we got dressed and signed the climbing book a miracle happened.... the clouds disappeared in a 15 minute flash to open up blue skies and the morning sun rising behind the mountain in the East.  We quickly got started up the mountain leaving the parking lot around 5am. 

The parking lost was at about 5,500 feet in elevation and by the time we reached the 499256625_046c902cd2_b
top of the Palmer Chair lift we had gained 3,000 feet (about the499207776_342626ab75_b
elevation gain of a peak in the Northeast).  Jason wasn't feeling top of his game so he decided to hike around that level and then return down the mountain while Drew, Matt, Justin and I charged on upward.  We followed a clear "highway" of tracks up the Palmer Glacier towards Crater Rock where we stopped for a break and some food right next to Devils Kitchen and Steel Cliff where 499209648_932c0d10fb_b
large "puffs" of sulphurous gas were spewing out of the rocks.  499259249_25d2755c6c_bThe air stunk of sulphur so bad that I think it was actually starting to hurt my throat!  Matt, who had been carrying skis, decided to ditch the skis at this point so he wouldn't have to carry them up the Hogsback, a steep and narrow ridge at 10,600 feet leading up the "Pearly Gates" entrance to the summit ridge. 

When we got to the Hogsback we could all tell that Justin was having an extremely
painful time with his knees but he kept pushing himself onward and upward499260133_f0246aa16f_b

overcoming 499260313_e83b659f7b_bthe pain that told him to go down with every
step.  The Hogsback has moved north this year and without sufficient snow fall the entrance to the Pearly Gates was deemed unsafe so the route shifted north to a narrow, steep ice chute leading to the gradual summit ridge.  We climbed up chute without ropes utilizing our ice axes and happy to be wearing our helmets with the icefall danger. 

Once through the chute we reached the summit and celebrated499211156_3bf22345f2_b
there for about 20 minutes before we all got cold and decided to head back down.  The views from the summit were amazing.  We were easily 5,000 feet above 500529704_d8dc99d602_bthe clouds and the only land we could see north and south were the massive Cascade Volcanoes.  Visible to the South were Jefferson and the Sisters while to the North we could clearly make out Adams, Rainier and St. Helens.  I got some great hi-def footage with my camera from the summit and the zoom was able to capture some great photos of all the volcanoes.  Check the photos and use some google skills to try to figure out which ones are which.. :) 

We headed down from the summit at around 2pm.  I descended down through the icy chute unroped because I felt confident with my ice axe skills and balance.  The altitude gave me a slight headache but nothing too serious. Justin, Drew and Matt roped up and met me at the top of the Hogsback where I was "boiling" in the sun.  After descending the Hogsback and down the Palmer Glacier and ski trails we made it back to the parking lot at around 5:30, a good 12 hours from when we had started.  After just 3 hours of off-and-on again sleep, little breakfast, little water, and a day of hot sun that led some of us to viscious sun burns and partial snow-blindness we were happy to be down after a very successful summit. 

Mad crazy props go out to Justin who finally accomplished a life-long goal of summiting a big climb and for doing it under extreme pain.  I haven't seen that kind of determination and will power in a very long time.  No words can describe how impressive it was.  Because Drew, Matt, and Jason were on the climb it also counted as the Unit climb for me that I needed.  It also meant I had knocked off another state summit - the first "class 4" summit that I have done yet.  The ice chute that we500577507_2da15e5eac_b climbed at the top was pretty technical and it reminded me of the 500530122_55f2070a52_b
Hillary Step I've read about on Everest where climbers have to wait in line to pass through it.  We passed over large glaciers with open cravasses, steaming fumeroles on the active volcano dealt with the sun that made us dehydrated, burned, delirious and exhausted.  It was an epic day with a great group of climbers in beautiful weather on a fantastic peak. I can't wait to go back and climb it again on a different route for something new! 


Friday, May 11, 2007

Wilderness First Responder

Today I finished my 80 hour intensive Wilderness First Responder Course.  The course was taught by the Wilderness Medical Institute (WMI) and was over a 10 day period starting last Wednesday through the weekend until today.  There was a 250 page499241184_bf0649c1df_b
book to read, many practice wilderness medical scenarios throughout the week and today we had our 100 question written exam and practical test.  The exam was pretty difficult and499243640_95537344f5_b
required several days of studying to pass.  The practical was also difficult and it took several people two tries to get it down.   With this certification I am legally able and actually required by law to give medical assistance to injuries in the outdoors over an hour from "definitive" care.  I learned such skills as closing a punctured lung, applying traction to a broken femur, how to treat shock, admnister epinephrine, close 499290187_9715566818_bwounds, CPR, etc.  I'm happy and I feel empowered with the knowledge that I now know how to treat most wilderness trauma and medical emergencies.  :)  Oh... 
I also through a BBQ for the whole gang at my place on Sunday night before our day off.  Check out the awesome traction splint I put on my HuckDoll :).  haha.  ooohhh yeahhh.


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Mapping the Continental Divide National Historic Trail

Today I found out I was chosen out of 3,500 applicants to officially map the historic Continental Divide Trail this August..  Only about 200 applicants were selected and I 223044
was chosen to lead a group of 5 people through a 60 mile section of the trial on the Idaho, Montana Boarder.  The area I'm hiking through looks amazing (check the pic) and the entire length looks as if it is above at least 7,000 feet with multiple high peaks and mountain lakes through bear and elk country.  It's amazing to think that thousands of people will be following my footsteps when I am done marking the trail with my GPS.  I will be working with Backpacker Magazine and the Federal Government to accomplish this.  I'll make sure to get lots of pictures to post also.