Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The sun is always in my eyes

About halfway through a week-long fieldwork excursion. I have been taking a little recovery time after Ironman, but I'm starting to get the itch to train again. So, it's another week of mixing business with "pleasure". The idea is to work like crazy during the day, and get a little "training", which this time of year means carrying a camera and taking pictures whenever I get the urge. For me, at the river, that means a lot of stopping and picture taking...

Sunday afternoon, packed up the rental truck and drove to Blythe. I got there in the dark, which is a good thing (Blythe looks better in the dark!). Fieldwork this week consists of installing and instrumenting a bunch of monitoring piezometers (wells with no pump just used to monitor groundwater elevations and quality). Over the next several years, we'll be keeping track of groundwater and use that information along with irrigation budgets and soil salinity data to try to figure out if they're managing their irrigation effectively. Spent most of Monday siting well locations, and watching them work... Log samples every couple feet, and give them instructions on installation details. Things went smoothly overall, and we got one well finished on Monday. Some progress photos:

10 minutes till sunrise...what do do? Change and start running!! The drillers and my co-worker went back to town, and I took off on the levee road along the river for a 4-miler. Some of the sights along the way:

And, finally, a sandhill crane fly by to say goodnight.

Tuesday, I went to a different site to try to install well instrumentation. I hit several frustrating complications during the day, and spent a good deal of my time kicking and throwing whatever was in my way. Some days are like that I suppose. I did see a ton of wildlife (I was on a wildlife refuge after all) which provided some good distractions:

I debated just going back to town and drinking a beer. Decided instead to go for a run. If I get in a good run, at least part of my day was good, right? Then I can go back to town and drink a beer :) Another levee run along the river. Planned on four miles again, but I got in the groove and enjoyed the scenery.

Spent Wednesday morning at Cibola again (south of Blythe), leading some saltcedar removal crews and taking pictures of experimental restoration plots (planted for my dissertation research, hence my interest in cottonwoods...well actually that's a lie. I've always been interested in them, and I just happen to get to work with these trees. I'm good with that!).

Just a few trees...

Then, drove to Havasu to get ready to work at the Needles field site (on Havasu National Wildlife Refuge). If you're me, you see this sign on the side of the road:

And read "park it and put on your running shoes!" Too bad there's no good scenery...

Bill Williams River near Lake Havasu has the largest remnant native riparian gallery forest anywhere in the lower Colorado River area. To me, that means it's a place to visit. Especially during the winter--if you want to see fall colors in the Arizona desert, find yourself a river with a good stand of cottonwood and willow. I ended up running a little over 7 miles (from highway 95 to the end of the road and back). It was a beautiful day for a long-ish run--overcast, but not cold, hardly a breeze. Just awesome. The run is actually pretty challenging, with hills steep enough to make you consider walking. But nevertheless it's a highly-recommended route. Do it if you're in the area (like after the Havasu Triathlon). It'll knock you on your butt...but the good thing is you'll sweat off your hangover :)

This is when the run gets interesting

A nice view near the turnaround.

View of Lake Havasu when just about back to the car.

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