Keeping our Heads Cool in the desert!


Wheew! So it’s been awhile since I last slowed down to document the many adventures of a Fire Effects Monitoring Intern. But now I’m coming at you full speed with a new one, Central Oregon and the John Day Fossil Beds!

After an eleven hour drive from good old Marblemout, WA, we pull up to our campsite with plenty of day light to spare. For the five days we working there in Oregon we could hardly complain about the weather, although it was very different than the previous places we had been to, the warm temps and afternoon showers were welcomed.

So! Work this time around required us to wear hats; the uniqueness was optional as you can see with Robbie Andrus and his rice patty hat and Cedar Drake opting for the cowboy fedora. I played it safe with a simple baseball cap. But in all seriousness the desert like environment we were working in had a lack of trees therefore a lack of shade, so keeping our heads cool in the desert was #1.

After our tail gate safety session advising one another of the possible slip, trips, falls, lightning strikes and rattlesnakes in out plots, we began hiking!

Using our GPS units, once we arrive to our plot coordinates we setup the plot by running the 50 meter by 20 meter tapes. This requires some basic compass skills!

Within these 50X20 meter plots, we conduct a serious of samples that later have to be entered into the computer….. Whew I just got chills lol.

The Herb line sample is a 50 meter tape where every 1/3 of a meter we measure and record the height and species of whatever touched the pole. Tedious!

Another sample we take is tree height; this requires THE LASER…

The few that are there at least!

But at the end of the day, and after all the data has been collected, just as sure as the sun shines, the afternoon thunderheads roll in.

This is what happened everyday for every plot we hiked to! We went home everyday content with the fact that we escaped death and lived to fight another day! You may ask, “Escaped death?” HA! Well rattle snakes are pretty scary and hiking out through thunder clouds with rebar rods sticking out of our packs is exciting haha.

John Day was an awesome trip! And to top it all off you can’t visit the Fossil Beds without seeing the Painted Hills!!