Space Boots

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The giant egg!

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The giant sausage!

I was out surveying a ‘linear development’ – this is the term applied to pipelines, waterlines, transmission lines, etc. basically anything that covers a long distance. This meant that I had the pleasure of touring several small towns throughout Alberta instead of just one or two. We made the most of it and visited as many over-sized monuments as possible:

Some of the jobs were along the edges of cultivated fields, and we were given a stern lecture about the dangerous evils of ‘club root’ and the transfer of it from field to field by unwary travelers. My mind automatically associated club root with a club foot and from there jumped to Tiny Tim. Thus I had the permanent image of a little plant dressed in Victorian England-style rags dragging a deranged club foot/root behind him… Turns out it is a type of bacteria in the soil that makes the roots all fat, but it is transferred through the soil so if we walked through one field it would stick to our boots and then we would introduce it to the next field we were in, much to the devastation of the crops. The brilliant solution to preventing unwanted contamination? Space boots.   DSCN1057

Ok they didn’t really give us space boots, those would have been far cooler than the thin, over-sized, hospital-operating room style shoe covers we were given. These delightful beauties are designed to fit over your regular boots and tie up. They are miles too long though so they catch on everything, rip instantly and are generally a worse hazard to my health than simply walking. I’m also pretty sure that they trapped the dirt inside of them, ensuring that my boots were fully covered with any sort of bacteria that might have been living within that field.

I still feel that the hideous boots were magical though. They seemed to transport us out of the mundane canola field and into a magical forest filled with overgrown, mossy logs and brightly chirping birds. I felt a little like Alice in Wonderland, it was such a stark contradiction from what we had been walking in for the past hour. As soon as you crossed the trees you could no longer even see the field, the terrain was completely different, even the air felt different. But, alas, it was like all other forests in that it was full of pokey things and tiny bugs trying to stick to my eyeballs – such an abrupt way to shatter a tranquil forest moment.

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Small Town Quirkiness

This gallery contains 19 photos.

I try to keep my posts to archaeology but this was far to awesome to keep to myself, and it is one of the unexpected joys of staying in tiny towns in the middle of nowhere – they all have their own little claim to fame. After this morning’s very dull safety orientations that took […]

A Series of Unfortunate Mishaps

Who knew a week of surveying forestry cutblocks would be fraught with so many mishaps. Normally you expect one or two things to go awry on each outing, but with the number we had this time I feel like I am good for the rest of the season.

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Our ghetto prop to raise the trailer so we could get on it without ramps

– the electrical plug on the truck was damaged – couldn’t pick up the trailer without replacing it, nice to find that out at the rental place

-got a replacement plug, old one was welded into place so we couldn’t swap it out properly for the new one – used zip ties to create a ghetto plug attachment

-got soaked to the bone in the field, all of our clothing bags in the back of the truck also got soaked – awesome

-took the wrong road (frequently) – got the truck, trailer and argo horribly stuck on the wrong road – had to off-load the argo in order to get free

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Up to the hitch in mud!

-stuck in every single well pad we visited, and we visited a lot of them

-had our trailer ramps stolen from the hotel parking lot – Lesson: lock down everything, trust no one!

-broke one of the tow straps for keeping the argo on the trailer, wow they slide around on gravel roads

-gave up our hotel rooms because we thought we were leaving town, had to stay an extra night – everything was booked up except a room with 3 queen beds. What is that kind of room meant for?

-popped one of the front tires on the argo off of its rim 20km from the truck, with a thunderstorm quickly moving inDSCN1017

-unable to separate the truck and trailer plugs in order to return the trailer

And to top of off, we didn’t even find anything that awesome on this trip. Tempers ran a bit high but most of the time we were too busy trying to McGyver a solution to the latest problem to really notice, plus the forest was full of dense blow-down so we were exhausted most of the time as well. Overall though, not a bad trip. DSCN1019