Where in the hell am I?

October 10, 2010

Wyoming wrapup

All in all, I had a great time. The project was interesting, the weather was beautiful, my co-workers were nice, and I quite enjoyed the change of scenery.
I came home with a quart-sized bag full of sagebrush (plus one for a friend) and around 100 rocks (many of which are also for friends). It’s actually kind of weird that my house in Austin smells like sagebrush, but I like it.
I have no idea how many sites we recorded, since there were often three different teams working in far-flung areas. I do know that the majority of the cairns we found are likely historic-age, based on the style and integrity. I’m not sure if this proves or disproves the model that was the basis for the survey. Since the idea was to locate possible Traditional Cultural Properties for tribal consultation, and most of what we found most likely dates to pioneers and ranchers, I guess it somewhat disproves it. At the same time, I suppose judgment should be held until the survey of the actual turbine sites and roads. If that survey identifies a lot of prehistoric cairns and stone circles outside of the model area, then the model would definitely be disproven.
I saw a lot of animals: a herd of elk, scores of pronghorn, rabbits, prairie dogs, chipmunks, a field mouse, a kangaroo rat, a badger, a mountain lion, a rattlesnake, and a horned frog. The only things I didn’t see were mule deer (despite finding several antlers) and an eagle.
One of the cool things in the area was the Transcontinental Railroad. It was just north of the project area, running along I-80 (which is cool in itself), and passed near enough to the hotel that I could hear the trains when my window was open. It was a pretty amazing feat of engineering (and hugely important), and made me think of John Henry. Wonder if I’ll die with a shovel in my hand?

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