Sunday, May 30, 2010

2nd week of field camp complete: Road Trippin through CO

Just had an AWESOME day.

This past week we mapped Twin Mountain, which is an awesome folded Mountain further deformed by a big thrust fault. I did well on my map and cross section and I’m feeling pretty good about it. Next week everything changes because we move from Mike Taylor as our Professor to Doug Walker and we start using GIS and toughbooks (outdoor laptops) to map. It will be a new monster to deal with since I’ve never done it before but I’m sure it’ll be just fine. At least I have more practice with what I’m looking at.

This past week on Monday night our TA’s Joe and Richard and my cabinmate Samantha and I all went on a small adventure after work. We drove up a windy road through Cripple Creek (an old mining town) and up the back side of Pikes Peak. We were cut off by a road closure so we made the best of it. It was beautiful.

We actually have a whole two days off for our weekend this week. Today we went to Waffel Wagon and got a delicious sauce-smothered breakfast. Then we drove about two hours through Salida and Buena Vista and checked out some beautiful creeks and mountains and forests. It was so incredible to be in real forest again. Where we are for field camp is high desert with few trees. The smell of pines and real rushing mountain streams felt like medicine.

It totally helps realize my priorities and what I enjoy in life. It reminds me of the other ways to live and other things in life, other than school and constantly rushing forward in one direction. I need to get out here.
I’m really thinking UC Boulder for grad school, or Arizona if I could get in. It depends on the programs and the research being done. Regardless I think I need to live in CO for a while in life.

I really just feel hiking and high elevation forest withdrawal. It’s like missing something when it’s right in front of you because you know one day it will be gone.

Being here makes me want to be a park ranger again. Being here makes me want to visit Sequoia and Kings Canyon again with more time.

Also, brunches here are all smothered in some sauce whether it is gravy or chili relleno. That’s a difference from the East Coast.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

First week of field camp!

The first week of field camp is now complete. Within one week I have done a 66m of stratigraphic section and about a square mile of mapping, probably more. Then I turned in the final product of my map and two cross sections, projecting what we saw on the surface to the subsurface. There were only a couple of faults and one small/obvious fold, otherwise a bunch of stacked layers, generally dipping in the same direction. I know that doesn’t mean much of anything to anyone.

Basically the strat. section made us walk through three different formations (Manitou Limestone, Harding Sandstone and Fremont Limestone), look at them closely and recognize their diagnostic characteristics, like fossils, colors, unconformities, etc. Then in the field when you see an outcrop you should be able to determine what it is, even though you are just seeing a portion.

So basically we have a topo map and a transparent paper on top, we hike around and look for contacts between formations, bushwacking across mountains and trying to not get lost or confused. Definetly got lost and confused MOST of the time. It was kinda painful. I love the hiking around, hands down I love running around for 10 hours a day, but understanding the geology is way hard and not the most rewarding yet.

Otherwise, I’ve surprisingly not had coffee or alcohol since being here. I’m thinking that I will try to abstain and drink tea and party sober for the summer (until San Antonio). But I’m not going to be crazy about it, I’ll be open to changing my mind for sure if I’m out, but for now I’m holding strong and I feel so healthy. I’ve been running twice this week after work, which is also awesome. I feel like I’m getting super healthy and that is definitely worth it. Especially after being sick for a week (since last Friday), where I couldn’t function well without a sinus headache and a cough. (Thanks B).

Everyone is really nice. The atmosphere is very different from Columbia/Columbia students. Everyone is just as smart it seems, and is on top of their knowledge, but it’s still different. Lots of partying and booze, but that’s normal for field stuff/geology.

Now we’re in CaƱon City, spending our day off. It’s our only day off this week and I was originally hoping to get out to a swimming hole, but I haven’t even been downtown yet so it’s good to be here.

Right now I’m not totally in love with field geology. I know it’s the beginning and I will come a long way and maybe begin enjoying it more, but I don’t see what I’d want to research in the future with these methods. I’m not as stoked on the prospects in earth science as I was a couple of months ago. I don’t think it’s bad, I think that I’m in a more open place, less sure about what I want to do, but I think things will become clear as time passes, there is so much out there to do.

I think I just had such a rough semester, I don’t feel like I’m as good at this as I’d like to be if I were to do it forever. I want to find something that I’m really good at and feel fulfilled with, I’m just too much in the dark right now. It’s a hard lesson to learn.

Also I love being in magical places during my summers. Colorado is gorgeous. Brazil was absolute magic last summer. They have similar exiting feelings, especially while running.

Sunday, May 16, 2010



This is inspired by my "out and about" summer plans, which I realized today is going to take me through: New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming and Texas (at least!). That's so exciting to realize.

As of now the plan is to attend geology field camp (through CO, UT and NV) through the University of Kansas, before flying to Montana and doing an REU in Yellowstone. That will take me to the end of July, when I will fly to San Antonio to hang out with the madre and that grandma (Prudezilla).

After finishing the best 6 months EVER I chopped off my hair and hopped a plain in Westchester, changed flights in Chicago and now I'm sitting in a Best Western in Lawrence, Kansas. Looks like a fun college town, today was their graduation and so campus looks empty but the bars look full.

Unfortunately I am feeling pretty sick, my throat has been totally killing me all day so I'm taking it easy.