Well, I was anyway, in Minco. I was here for a few days last summer, helping out the biologists. We got to ride around on four-wheelers. Amazingly, that wind farm is now completely built and operational!
We’re finishing up a ten-day survey, a day early even. This is even more remarkable because we also had a snow day on Wednesday the 9th. The client was adamant that we drive up to do the survey, even knowing the weather would be bad. So the first day of survey it was 15 degrees, with a wind chill around 5, and snow on the ground ranging from a dusting to 2-3 foot drifts. Today, the last day, it was 73 degrees and the only snow left was in isolated shady pockets and drainages.
There are two main reasons the job went so quickly. First, a lot of this area has shallow basal clay. This is partly due to the hydrology and topography and geology, and partly due to the Dust Bowl. Of course, it seemed like an awful lot of my shovel tests dug through a meter of red sandy loam. The second reason is because there is very little archaeological potential in the project area. There are some historic farmsteads and trash scatters, to be sure. However, the project area is completely bereft of lithic raw material. Any prehistoric peoples traveling through the area would likely have stuck to the main drainages and left very little debris behind, primarily from resharpening the stone tools they carried with them. Thus, the archaeological footprint would be very small, and more likely situated along the Canadian River a few miles north.
There were a couple of semi-interesting historic farmstead sites, notable for some of the weird objects we found at them. Other than that, the only real highlights were surveying in the snow and doing some hardcore four-wheel drive on the muddy clay roads.
An album with photos from this project can be found by clicking here, or going to this link: