Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Long delay- travel summary

So it's been awhile... a month or so and a million memories in between and a couple thousand of air miles too... So I would like to mention that in my Buffalo WY adventures I did manage (with a guide and 4WD) to find some petrified trees. The first attempt did not go so well (as I alluded to in my way earlier post).

So here's a true Wyoming experience... I headed out after class to see if I could find the petrified trees (the first time) in my rented not quite 4WD little crossover. The first turn off (following the little sign to public land) ended up being state land and not the BLM land I was looking for. But as a bonus I got to see a dead deer in the parking lot mostly deconstructed but just a few remnants left. Ah- respect for public land is always lovely. Then I headed down the road a bit more to the correct turnoff. So I turned off the "highway" taking a left and heading down the gravel road with snow (and tire tracks in the snow). Note to self... just because there are tire tracks doesn't mean your vehicle will be happy. So I was heading in the tracks when I realized the vehicle was sinking in the snow a bit... and it was deeper than anticipated. So... being that I was by myself, an hour from anywhere, and and so I decided a retreat was in order. As I backed down the road attempting to stick to my tracks apparently a moment of hesitation or blinking or something and suddenly oops- I'm off the road and in the snow... um yeah like a couple feet of snow instead of the few inches it looked like. So I check- jacket, hat, gloves, food, water, cell phone- yup all the essentials.

So I looked- could I drive out- nope. Stuck. Anyone know I'm here- well I told the outdoor rec planner but she won't notice till tomorrow. Could I call a tow truck- yeah but how long will it take? The next best thing... walk to the farm and act like a girl. Yes, I have trained in Southern California on how to be a total girl when you do not want to do heavy work like change a tire (I can... I just don't always want to). So I went to the farm, met the dog, met the guy who lives there and did my best SoCal girl... I am sooooo sorry to put you out is there anyway you can help me get my car out of the snow? I'm from SoCal and messed up driving in the snow . And like most macho men who meet a silly girl- he was happy to help.

So we rode over to the rental in his (of course) diesel 4wd american truck. It ended up requiring digging a bit of snow out from the rear of the rig, wrapping a chain from truck to rental axle, and him driving the truck forward while I drove the rental in reverse onto the road. Then I drove the american manual truck down to the road while he backed the rental down to the road and out of all the snow. By the way I can totally still drive a manual truck in 4wd down a road forward. I think the thing that put it over the top for me was the shotgun (for hunting) sitting in the middle of the truck bench seat during this whole escapade. So less than 30 minutes from stuck to heading back down the road to get dinner. Needless to say this was not a story mentioned to the students the next day.

But I did mention later to the rec planner that the road was a bit impassible and she expressed disbelief. Sooooo Friday morning- take 2! We took a gov rig (she wanted to check on the restrooms and facilities) so it was an american 4WD truck and we headed out to the site again. Apparently I was only a half a mile away and could have just parked the car and walked up to the petrified trees. So off again we went and as we approached the snowy area she noted- jeepers I've never seen the road like this before and let's just say the truck didn't make it quite as far as I did and when we were backing out of the snow I felt redeemed. Now with a 4wd truck you can make it out with just a bit of sliding back and forth. So we hiked up seeing as it was a lovely morning and we'd driven all the way out to the site.

So it was a lovely hike- a fascinating natural spectacle to see trees that were turned into rock. I had my camera and got to take some pictures as the sun rose into the sky with wide open hills, snow sparkling, and sun glinting on the grasslands. So the mission was met and the trees were found and all in all the adventure ended well so I hurried my little self off and went back to Sheridan to hop on the little prop plane and head home to Denver to unpack to pack to unpack to pack.

After Buffalo I ventured home to SoCal with a new tag-along who got to meet some family and friends in a short vacation trip. It was good to take the person who I've gotten to know his life here and show him where I came from. It was good to be back in the land of palm trees, navy ships, beaches, and farmer's markets for 4 days. Hey did you know there are red walnuts- they really do taste the same but man the color is amazing. Oh and no one else can replace the wonders of a California dried apricot and no one else does it quite as well.

After San Diego it was a brief work day and then up to Copper Mountain for a detached weekend with a bit of snow shoeing, a bit of cupcake celebration with a good friend (who turned 7), puzzles lazing through the afternoon, and chilling in the jacuzzi.

A brief time in the office and then off to Summerlin (a suburb of Las Vegas). A week of work, some hiking, some moments just trying to be and all in all spending a couple of weeks ducking, covering, and disengaging with the greater internet and focusing on the minimal of facebook. This past weekend was a day trip to Echo Lake and lots and lots of resting means I'm now re-engaging :-) It's a cyclical thing and I'm happy to be back. Not much work travel scheduled right now but I'll learn more tomorrow.

Take care all and watch out for the depth of the snow :-)